Congratulations on your decision to start a new club! This page provides links and information that can help you get started. There are only three things you really need to start a new club:
- A venue
- Some dancers (experienced, or students wanting to learn)
But of course, there are other things you have to consider. Here are a few notes to get you started:
Finding a Caller
If you can find someone who can call for your club, that's great! But it isn't essential. Many clubs have started learning or dancing to pre-recorded material. There are several sources for CD's and MP3's to get you started. There are also many callers nationally who would be willing to help you run initial events to build your potential audience. Find callers through the Gay Callers Association (GCA). You can search for GCA callers from the Caller menu at the top of this page.
There are also websites providing detailed instructions for each call that new dancers need to learn. See a list of some of those on the Other Resources page. The official call lists are maintained by CALLERLAB. You might also want to invest in sound equipment and other items that you can generally cover with your club fees.
Many clubs dance in church halls or other community meeting places. You'll need a space that will accommodate a number of squares - preferably at least 40 x 40 feet. A stage is helpful if you have a caller, but isn't essential. You do need power for sound equipment.
Your venue might have equipment that you can use, at least initially; and used sound equipment can be found on the Internet. If you have a local square dance organization, you can also contact them to see if any local clubs have equipment for sale or donation.
You should make sure you have liability insurance (in case someone trips or falls for example) and you will need BMI/ASCAP licensing if you are providing music for your classes. (If you hire a caller to teach your classes, make sure they have appropriate BMI/ASCAP licenses). More information about insurance and licensing are listed here.
You probably have some people in mind as your core group to start the club. But you still need to grow your group in order to maintain the excitement. Local gay venues are great places to contact prospects; and your local Pride celebration is one of your primary recruiting tools. Consider joining the parade (if they have one) and running a booth at the celebration.
A major source of funding for new clubs is the All Join Hands foundation.
Help from IAGSDC
One of the aims of the IAGSDC is to grow and support GLBT square dance clubs. For more help, advice and support, contact the Club Liaison Officer through the IAGSDC contact page.
The IAGSDC is happy to support new clubs, even though they may not yet meet the requirements for full membership. Details on how to become a member club, and information about the advantages of membership, are listed here.