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re: Promoting Ballroom Dancing - any ideas?
Posted by KevinL
9/9/2003  6:18:00 AM
Originally posted by Dancingatlast:
One other thought I'd like to add as to how to promote ballroom dancing and get more young people involved. Many people in our area of the US (younger and older alike) are under the impression that you have to have a partner in order to enjoy ballroom dancing. If you dance in a forum where you do, indeed, need a partner in order to attend a dance, then you will probably limit the scope of people you will attract. My husband and I dance and take lessons where the instructors DO NOT insist that you come with a partner, and they encourage people of all ages, couples and singles alike, to attend. So perhaps you could emphasize (if it's possible) that you do not need a partner to come dancing. Obviously you will need a partner IN ORDER to dance, but you can meet one once you get to the dance.

This is an excellent point, I think it is vitally important for social dancers to trade partners in dance class. It's way more fun, you meet more people, and (so I've read) you learn faster. There are a couple of local instructors who do not encourage people to trade partners, which has the effect of actively discouraging new (especially single) people from dancing.

Another way you can get exposure is to approach the people who organize dances where you dance now and ask them if they would be open to putting on an exhibition of some sort. If you live where there is a municipal hall with a good floor, or a school or college that will allow you to use the gym, then you could circulate fliers and post ads in the local paper of this exhibition and invite anyone and everyone who is interested to come and find out how much fun ballroom dancing is. There must be people where you are dancing now who absolutely love to dance and would be happy to have another opportunity to dance (at the exhibition), especially if it will help promote ballroom dancing.

Or, if there is no-one else doing dances, start putting one on yourself. www.USABDA.org would probably help.

And don't forget to videotape at least some parts of what you are doing so that you can produce a cable-access show.

And as long as you are looking to promote what you are doing, check out www.yudkin.com. Marcia Yudkin is an author/ speaker on topics related to public relations, and there is a lot of good (free!!) information and advice on her website. Some is dated, some is not applicable to dance, but most is very useful.

Don't limit yourself to just where you are currently dancing; you could make it a crusade of sorts by approaching other dance instructors in your area and having their dancers also participate. Be sure to invite a reporter from your local newspaper to come and cover the function. You may not attract as large a crowd as you'd like this first time out, but if your local paper writes a story about what you're doing, you'll get that much more exposure for another possible exhibition.

Again, a good press release would work well to attract attention. Of course you would be even better off if you actually already knew a reporter, but that connection will come.

Be sure, also, that if you have more than one dance "club" participating in this exhibition, all the teachers should be encouraged to bring fliers or posters advertising their own dance forums. Then interested people watching the exhibition can contact the instructors they enjoyed the most --- or their dancers. Like if someone particularly enjoyed watching you dance, seeing your enthusiasm, etc., they can approach you, see where you go dancing, who you take lessons from, etc. ....Just a couple of thoughts (I know, I said it would be only one --- oh well...)

This is very important. Try to be as inclusive as possible. Nothing hurts a dance scene more than groups (ie teachers/ studios) who compete against one another. The idea is not to fight over the biggest piece of pie, but to work together to make a bigger pie...
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