That’s the first step in building a true community.
It’s a demand of our workplace to welcome everyone who steps through our door. More than that, I encourage my staff to introduce students to one another so they start to meet people and feel like they are part of the community.
We do not exclude anyone.
Everybody plays well together at our dance studio. But that doesn’t happen easily. You have to make it happen. We have to make an effort to do that.
Oftentimes, when people first come to us, they’re hesitant, nervous, perhaps even embarrassed or afraid.
It’s not enough to shake hands, offer a winning grin and then walk away. No, we must pull them in and engage them right away – with our staff and with our students.
We can’t leave people to fend for themselves until they are ready to do so. With that in mind, it doesn’t take long before we see new students at parties, talking and having fun.
Part of it is because they’re dancing, so they get a chance to talk while making a safe physical connection moving around on the floor, having fun moving to the music and talking.
I also know that the sooner someone feels comfortable, the more likely they will relax and start to learn to dance. When we are uptight or nervous, our brains are not open to learning the steps.
Every week, we welcome new students for introductory lesson. And at every staff meeting, I tell my teachers how important it is to introduce new students to whomever else is on the dance floor at that moment.
In our recent TV segment on CW50 about a group of widows who have found camaraderie and companionship here at our dance studio, one of our students, Barb Stawick, said the sense of welcome and community is what kept her coming back. We’re proud to hear that.
That’s exactly what we intended.