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The Generation phenomenon has occurred again and again. People take lessons together, hang out together, meet people they like, and form friendships. With dancing as the glue that connects them together, over time Communities form.

As another example, many of the veteran SSQQ instructors were the members of the next generation. Sharon Crawford, Susie Allen Merrill, Ben Liles, and Maureen Brunetti, plus Linda Rooks Decker and Donna Ruth (both of whom retired this year) all took classes at roughly the same time (mid to late 80s) and became leaders of their particular generation.  

Today there are groups of people at the studio who are well on their way to forming let another network or generation of friends.

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In 1999 Ruth Ann Manison and Shane Kidwell were two leaders who help to organize many events in addition to dancing. Using email as a technique to to contact huge numbers of people quickly, both Ruth Ann and Shane were very successful at organizing one event after another. I give them much of the credit for carrying the flame last year.

Historically, over the years there have been many people before Shane and Ruth Ann who did the same work.  Jann Fonteno, V-Ann Noblitt, Jim Smith, Tom Easley, Aimee Atkinson, and Burt Eschenfelder are some pre-90s names that quickly come to mind.

Jann Fonteno was in charge of the SSQQ Hotline back in 1981. Everyone in her group would call her answering machine to the see where the Group was headed that evening. This was of course back in the ancient days before email. My, how primitive.

In more modern times, I know Donna Ruth, Ben Liles, Chris O’Rourke, and Daryl Armstrong were instrumental in rounding up the group in the days before Ruth Ann came along. Ben in particular deserves a lot of credit for organizing our popular Tuesday Western dancing event at the Longhorn around 1996-1997. 

However, SSQQ is not a Singles Club.  For all the historical success we have had in bringing people together,  SSQQ pretty much stays in the background. Like any good playground social director, we basically tell everyone what time the pick-up basketball game starts, sweep the court clean, make sure the ball has air in it, then step back and watch.   The players do the rest.

For one thing, SSQQ welcomes married couples and single people with equal energy. SSQQ is simply a dance studio. We promote dancing for the fun of it since we think it is part of our job. We are thrilled that so many people make friends at our studio, but have no intention of "charging" for it.

Nevertheless our success at getting people together has been noted many times. For example, in 1998 the Houston Press cited SSQQ as being one of the ten easiest places to meet women in the city. Obviously it is good for business to be so popular, but deep down our motives are pure: we get a lot of satisfaction from organizing a good dance party.  

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Dancing turns out to be a simple, graceful way to get to know people with their guard down in a relaxed setting. For a variety of reasons, SSQQ has always seemed to be most attractive to intelligent, educated, down-to-earth people. With such a large group of talented people, it is easy to find any number of people who have a lot of things in common with you besides dancing. If you were to meet the same person in a club, it would be much more difficult to start a conversation.

At SSQQ, you can take a class with someone, dance with them at practice night, or strike up a conversation with them at break or after class. Talking to strangers is always difficult, but it is much easier when you have a common reference point like dancing to start with.

Actually it's easy to do a good job when you've got the right ingredients. For example, although we don't match the dance clubs for their elaborate decorations and have no desire to fool with alcohol, we have things that clubs can't touch-   we've got room to dance, we have a smoke-free atmosphere, we've got music that has the right sound and the right speed, and we have a comfortable, attractive place where people feel at ease.

Plus we have a safe place- even though it may be your first practice night, you will sense almost immediately an amazing absence of creeps and, as a result, you will find it easy to relax and enjoy yourself. Granted you may not be able to dance worth flip, but at least there won't be a plethora of obnoxious characters to make things worse.

The only thing SSQQ cannot do for you to get you to participate...that's up to you !

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