Great outreach - free workshop and dance party

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Great outreach - free workshop and dance party

Post  Sonia on Tue Sep 30, 2008 7:42 pm

I witnessed great outreach from a dance group I attend very infrequently. They're Scandinavian, not Balkan, but I think their methods can be applied by any group.

They held a free afternoon workshop teaching two dances that are fundamental to their repertoire, but almost impossible to pick up on the fly (Hambo and Snoa). There was a party with live music that evening where there was a lot of opportunity to practice the new dances.

They did a lot of cross-over publicity to other dance groups - I heard about it at an International group from someone who attends both groups regularly. I saw a couple of other Balkan dancers, as well as contra dancers and ballroom dancers at the workshop. The organizers asked people to register even though the workshop was free, and sent a welcome email, a reminder, and then a followup email inviting people to their weekly dancing for review and practice. They also had "free admission" cards for the weekly dancing at the registration table.

The workshop itself covered the basics thoroughly, and at the same time kept moving forward and offering hints for more advanced dancers. It was fairly long - 3 1/2 hours - and some beginners did leave early. There were many experienced group members there to help out, and they patiently moved through the exercises and partnered with beginners all afternoon.

At the party, once again experienced dancers asked beginners to dance. Attending partner dancing without a partner can be a trial, but this group makes a clear and successful effort to break the ice and help new people have a good time. Several of them specifically invited me to attend their weekly dances, and even though I already dance Balkan and International 3 days a week, I'm considering it! It's a joy to be welcomed by such a friendly group of dancers.

Sonia


Last edited by Sonia on Thu Oct 02, 2008 2:00 pm; edited 2 times in total

Sonia

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Scandi welcoming methods

Post  denismurf on Thu Oct 02, 2008 11:18 am

Great stuff here to file away for future use.

We hope others will keep an eye out for what other dance groups do to get people to try them and come back. Any idea how they publicized their welcoming event so people actually showed up?

denismurf
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Re: Great outreach - free workshop and dance party

Post  Sonia on Thu Oct 02, 2008 2:27 pm

Aside from word of mouth to other dance groups, a pretty flyer, and posting the event on their website, I don't know how they publicized it. For the dance party, they brought in an excellent band from Eugene, about two hours drive away, so that helped publicize the event in other cities. I saw at least one person from Salem (half-way between Portland and Eugene) at the workshop.

Also, they put upcoming workshop dates (every couple of months) on the flyer, which means I'll keep it around instead of recycling it. I wonder if one of these people has a degree in marketing!

I think it helps that they have a sizable community of regular dancers, with an existing reputation for being friendly. I'm realizing from this conversation that outreach has both short-term and long-term components, and they both affect attendance at events.

Sonia

Sonia

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