So - you want to start a handicapable group? Here are some helpful hints to help you launch a fun, successful group. Check out the Helpful Hints on our resources page for "in the trenches" information.
- Locate dancers - The best way to do this is to contact your local ARC, UCP, MDA, Special Olympics or other local association dealing with individuals with disabilities.
- Find a building - If you are able to work with an Arc or other association, you will sometimes be able to use their hall. Check with the Elks in your area as they do work for individuals with disabilities.
- Find a caller - Check out our USH-friendly caller list!! Feel free to have your caller contact one of us so we can share our experiences with them!
- Find angels - Parents, local square dancers, volunteers
- How often do you have the dances? This may be determined by how often you can have your hall. For the sake of learning and repetition, it would be recommended that they dance once a week.
- Insurance - If you have CALLERLAB membership, you are covered with Liability Insurance. Check with the association you are with as you may be covered under their insurance for liability, but you will still need CALLERLAB/BMI Insurance for performing/calling.
- Funding - Fund raising helps the dancers have other opportunities.
- Clothing - Put the word out to local square dance clubs. Square dancers are very generous people!
- What type of program do you do? Some groups do just squares, some do a couple of lines, and others see how the night is going and take it from there!
- Line dances usage? Here are some suggestions to get you started:
Birdie Song (Chicken Dance)- ESP 001
Electric Slide- COL 2607
Virginia Reel- MGR-7345 (May need to be modified version)
Amos Moses- Jerry Reed
Boot Scootin Boogie- Brooks and Dunn
Wild, Wild West- The Escape Club
- How long is the dance? If you have one group, you may want to see how long everyone’s attention span last. Anywhere from 1 to 2 hours will work. See how your group does!
- Do you split the group? Once your group has been dancing for a while, you will be able to see dancers who may be able to handle more square dance vocabulary. Many clubs create different times for each group, some just have a “Group B” tip at the end of the night, and you may find other ways to do this.
- How many breaks? Many groups run like other clubs and take breaks during tips. You will need to be structured and keep your schedule consistent. Advance warning before starting your next tip is recommended.
- What is your goal?
For the dancers
*A night of fun!
*Keep everyone dancing
*What do you do when it is one of those nights?
*Don't get upset if you repeat a lot from week to week.
*Go to a Handicapable Convention-
*Have reasonable expectations - Don't underestimate their abilities. Don't overestimate their capabilities. The dancers are eager to please! Give them a healthy challenge.
*You are giving of yourself- Don't blame yourself if it one of those nights.
*The rewards are more than you could dream of!