|Although the dance floors at ASDC are undoubtedly the best available in the area, the ASDC suffers from both location and its sterile atmosphere. Generally, a venue that is close to clubs and restaurants is likely to be more attractive, in that it encourages the gay community to attend. In addition, the use of a gay club or bar venue would expose Wilde Bunch events to the wider gay community. The atmosphere would be more likely to encourage socializing both within the club itself, and with others using the facility.
The Wilde Bunch also suffers adversely from the location of the state. Whereas on the East and West coasts there are opportunities for frequent access to other clubs for dances and events, we are essentially isolated. The lack of other clubs means that the social activities of the Wilde Bunch tend to be limited to a small group. (If for example there was a gay square dance club in Santa Fe, there would be more opportunity for mixed/exchange events).
Addressing The Issues
Advertising, demonstrations, and recruitment through friends are failing to generate much interest in our classes. What can be done to improve the situation?
Taking us back to an earlier time social dances combining simple square dance and perhaps other dance forms (two-step/line/contra?) could be organized ahead of our classes. Callers/cuers could be encouraged to use more modern music at these events that would appeal to a younger audience, and dispel some of the sterotypes associated with square dance. The venue for these dances should be in town, not at the ASDC, to encourage the involvement of the local gay community. These dances will still require significant advertising, but the event can be billed more as a social dance than an intro to square dance.
Engaging new dancers will require contacting various groups in and around Albuquerque. The key is to get them to attend a social dance, rather than simply using demo squares to tempt people into attending our intro nights. For example, the UNM have at least two gay clubs/organizations. There are many others listed in local publications.
Following social dance events, intro nights concentrating on square dance and leading into our classes should be organized at a central location, not the ASDC. The intent would be to first engage interest in general at the social dances, then encourage potential dancers to join the full class after an intro night. Keeping these events in a city venue would hopefully reduce attrition at this point.