Starting a Club
Basics of Starting A Ballroom Dance Club At Your College/University
This document covers some of the points that are common to most dance clubs. Every college and university has different rules, and every club will have slightly different needs. You will have concerns and problems that aren’t addressed in this document, but that’s okay, that’s what we’re here for! Feel free to ask questions – contact the Director of the College Network
Part I. The Bare Bones
There are 3 things which no club can do without: space, music, and a coach.
1. Finding an Instructor
Picking the right instructor can make a big difference in the direction your club takes. Remember, good dance teachers are not always easy to find, and there are a lot of bad ones out there. Research your options first. Ask your local USA Dance chapter for help. They should be able to assist you in selecting a good teacher. If there is another club in the area, find out whom they use. Most amateur (or social dance) instructors (volunteer teachers from the community) are probably not knowledgeable enough to teach beyond the beginner level. It’s important to try to hire a professional coach as early as feasible.
2. Finding space
This can be a difficult problem. The ideal room for dancing will have:
- Availability at the same time every week
- Enough space for the traveling dances (waltz, quickstep, etc)
- A wood floor
In that order of importance. It will be much easier for you to develop a larger group of dancers if you have a set place and time, so that people can plan their schedules. Wood floors are preferable to tile or concrete, but a small room is a greater hindrance to lessons.
It also helps if the room is free. Make sure that school regulations allow you to have a paid instructor in whatever room you find.
If your school has dance rooms for their dance department, or aerobics rooms in perhaps a student union, they could be great. If they’re too small, they could be good practice rooms or rooms for private lessons or small groups
Remember that the heels of women’s dance shoes can damage wood floors. If you get a room with a nice wood floor, make sure that women use heel guards.
Buy a sound system, or borrow a club member’s.
A portable boom box can be totally satisfactory, IF it can be used at high volume with little distortion or “scratchiness”. Try it at high volumes before you buy it. There is a huge difference between various boom boxes in the amount of distortion at high volume, so if you’re not selective you will end up with a boom box that will sound horribly when turned up for the large groups.
Build a CD collection.
Try to avoid the strict-tempo “elevator music” CDs. Go for recognizable songs that you wouldn’t mind just sitting and listening to, such as songs by Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Doris Day, etc. for waltzes, foxtrots, and quicksteps, and popular Latin music or jazz for your Latin dances (except, of course, that it makes you want to dance).
Part II. University Issues
It is important that you register your organization with the university as soon as possible!!!!
Part III. The Details – How To Start A Club
Check out these guidelines to get you started. Email the USA Dance Central Office for information about USA Dance membership or a sample issue of our bimonthly magazine, American Dancer.
Get connected with the USA Dance College Network – send an email to the Director of the College Network register your new dance club – it’s free, takes only a minute! Please provide
- Name of College
- Name of Club
- Name of President or other club contact
- Contact phone number
- Confirm preferred email address