Hi Folks,

Here in Ottawa, we're brainstorming new ideas for attracting brand new
people AND keeping more of those folks. We get about 15 new people each
dance and we think we're already doing lots to support them (2nd dance free
cards, smiley stickers to ID so regular dancers even more supportive than
usual, etc)... ... still we don't retain as many of those folks as we'd
like.  AND since we still haven't fully bounced back from a surprise drop
in attendance September 2016, we're trying to get creative.

One idea we'd like to try next year is a mini beginners course.

Has anyone done this before?  Any stories of successes?  Tips of things to
avoid? Course content? Advertising? etc????

Here's are a few initial thoughts that have been rolling around our heads:

   - Partner with the city - have it as part of their course offerings. (Or
   as part of a rec association)
   - Approx 4-6 weeks long.
   - Not only about moves but knowing where to be when, transitions,
   timing, culture, etc.

Pros/Cons of doing something like this...??? There are many but here are a
few thoughts:

   - Pro: Despite our community being super welcome (at least we think so),
   some people are just TOOOOO scared to try something so new/different in a
   big social setting.  This could address those people who have been too
   scared to come out.
   - Pro: Some brand new people are ok with the steep learning curve.
   Others find the intensity of learning so much so fast 'too much'.  We could
   let brand new people know that this is an alternative to learning the ropes.
   - Pro: Many adults look for new activities through things like
   mini-courses (e.g., learn how to dance!).  We'd be finding a new pocket of
   - Con: Don't want potential beginners OR regulars feel that beginners
   need to take a course before they are welcome. (e.g., like MW where have to
   take a course before welcome at certain dances.. .... this might encourage
   some experienced dancers who are focused on skill-level to push beginners
   to 'dance better')
   - Con: Having a room full of beginners would remove all the supportive
   help that experienced dancers can provide. (Solution -- have a few
   volunteer experienced folks come to the course)

Another thing we're working on is having our monthly community talent
dances be more beginner focused so that should be neat... ... but a little
different than a condensed weekly course.

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