National Square Dance ConventionĀ®

Home of the World's Largest Square Dance Event

What is a National Square Dance Convention®?
  • The National Square Dance Convention® is a convening or gathering of a large number of dedicated square dancers, round dancers, Contra dancers, cloggers, folk dancers, country western dancers, callers, callers, cuers, leaders, organizational officers, and suppliers, at a convenient location for the purpose of discussing common objectives, exchanging ideas, trying out new techniques and dancing together. All aspects of the total square dance movement are normally present at the National Square Dance Convention®.
Why should an organization Bid for a Convention?
  • A National Square Dance Convention® is not a festival. The organization will have an opportunity to invite square dancers from around the world to share their city, dancing, community, and hospitality. Without a doubt, it is a lot of hard work, but the camaraderie that you will develop with your dancers will strengthen into life-long friendships. You may even be able to recruit former dancers to rejoin our dancing.
How often does the National Square Dance Convention® come to our part of the county?
  • A National Square Dance Convention® is the largest Square Dance Convention and the opportunity to attend one is co0nsidered to be the apex, peak, or top event of a square dancers career. It is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many square dancers, since it is an event that takes places close to home only once in roughly 10 to 13 years.
How successful are the National Square Dance Conventions®?
  • Without question, the National Square Dance Convention® is one of the largest, most successful gatherings anywhere in the world. The most awesome and unbelievable fact to sophisticated, professional convention planners is – the 4-day convention is planned and conducted by amateurs and volunteers who devote thousands of hours just for the love of their recreation.
How are costs of the putting on the convention related to the number of volunteers?
  • Estimates of labor cost, if dancers were paid for the convention work, would run from $1.5 to $2 million dollars with the rent of the convention center and all other expenses connected to the convention adding several hundred thousand of additional dollars. Simply put, without volunteer dancers, the cost of the convention would have to substantially increase.
Have all conventions been financial success?
  • Yes, all recent conventions have been financial successes.
If all conventions have been financial successes, what happens to any profit from a specific convention?
  • Each convention is a separate financial entity, organized under the corporate laws of the state where the convention is held. Depending on the IRS status of a corporation, any excess funds are available to support future local square dance activities.
 Does the NEC receive any funds from a square dance convention?
  • The NEC receives a franchise fee from each convention registration which is used for NEC operating expenses.
What are the goals of a National Square Dance Convention®?
  • The National Square Dance Convention® is planned to:
    • Promote the square dance activity.
    • Promote good, sound leadership training.
    • Include well-planned, quality panels and discussions.
    • Present square dancing to the general public as a wholesome, enjoyable, relaxing family recreation.
Do NEC members get free National Square Dance Convention® registrations?
  • No, each NEC member must pay their own way to the National Square Dance Convention® and their own registration fees, program books and special event fees, just like all other dancers, callers, cuers, instructors and leaders.
How is the National Square Dance Convention® organized as a corporation?
  • The National Square Dance Convention is a nonprofit, tax exempt corporation, incorporated in the State of Missouri. Each member of the National Executive Committee® of the National Square Dance Convention® serves as a Director of the Corporation. The NEC assures that a convention is conducted each year.
Who is a member of the NEC?
  • The National Executive Committee® is composed of past convention General Chairman who are still active and have not missed two or more consecutive conventions.
How often does the NEC meet?
  • The NEC meets at least twice a year – once at Pre-Convention Meetings (March/April) and immediately prior to the National Square Dance Convention® in June. Meetings may be held at other times – if required.
Are there other duties for the NEC members?
  • Yes, each National Square Dance Convention is usually assigned 4 NEC members who act as Advisors to that convention. NEC members are also assigned specific areas of the convention and act as Phase Advisors to the specific part of the Convention. Finally, each NEC member or couple is assigned a geographic area (state) to represent if any organization wishes to place a bid to host a future convention. Thus, with 4 conventions in the planning stage, there are at least 16 NEC members traveling, writing, telephoning and counseling at all times, plus all NEC members acting as Phase Advisors.
How are General Chairman for conventions selected?
  • General Chairman of National Square Dance Conventions® are elected by the square dance organization, usually a state level group, sponsoring the specific National Square Dance Convention®.
When does the General Chairman of a National Square Dance Convention® become a member of the NEC?
  • A General Chairman (couple) becomes an official NEC member approximately three months prior to their convention.
Who can be a General Chairman?
  • The General Chairman must be an active square dance married couple and can not be an active caller or round dance cuer. They must be receptive to seeking advice and considering suggestions. They must be able to devote the time for the four-year planning of their convention and willing to work after their convention is over, as a member of the National Executive Committee. They cannot be replaced without prior written approval of the National Executive Committee.
What other jobs of a National Square Dance Convention® are restricted to callers or cuers?
  • Chairman of the Program Committee and Education Committee must be active dancers and shall not be callers or cuers.
Are there other Committee Chairman jobs that can be callers or cuers?
  • Yes, callers and cuers can be Business, Publicity, Registration and Housing, Services, Social and Special Events, Legal, Computer Coordinator or Ceremonies Coordinator. All of these jobs are very time- demanding and callers and cuers may find they have time conflicts when attempting to hold these positions.

If we want to consider placing a bid for a future National Square Dance Convention®, what should we do?
  • Deciding on a Future National Square Dance Convention® is a very thorough and comprehensive process. National Square Dance Conventions® are awarded only to square dance organizations, not to Convention Bureaus, Chambers of Commerce, or other civic or commercial enterprises. The square dance organization (usually a state level organization) should decide (approve a motion) that they want to consider bidding for a convention.
Who may bid for a National Square Dance Convention®?
  • Any organized association or federation of square and round dance clubs may bid for the opportunity to host a National Square Dance Convention®. Those organizations with experience in putting on conventions, or large festivals in their area, would have a better chance for consideration.
We have decided to bid, what’s next?
  • When interest is first shown by a square dance organization, the NEC will visit the location to meet with square dance leaders and inspect the proposed facilities. If these are judged to be sufficient, the NEC Advisors will assist local authorities and square dance leaders (bid team) in the preparation of a comprehensive bid package. The bid package provides full details of both leadership and facilities, and includes pledges of support from the state square dance organizations, hotel associations, convention facilities managers, governing city officials and many others.
We are interested, but our state organization hasn’t yet decided to support a bid. What can we do?
  • You are invited to attend the next Pre-Convention, usually held in March. The Facilities Tour and Break-Out Meetings are especially instructive for potential bidding cities. Contact your NEC Area Advisor for more information.
What is the minimum facility we should have for a convention?
  • 100,000 to 200,000 square feet of floor space capable of being divided into 10 to 15 dance halls, space for 15 to 20 meeting rooms, seating for several thousand persons (Special Ceremonies, Fashion Show, Exhibitions, Bid Session, Showcase of Rounds, etc) and approximately 12 to 15 small rooms (for Security, First Aid, Hospitality, Check-In, Dressing Rooms, etc.). Ask your NEC Area Advisor for a current Bid Package.

How many hotel rooms will be used by a convention?
  • The number of rooms used will be equal to about 25 per cent of the total attendance. For example, a 7,000 Convention attendance will use about 1,750 rooms for a total of 7,000 room nights. Meetings of other square and round dance activities and caller or cuer schools could increase the room use and room nights.
What Recreational Vehicle facilities are needed?
  • Facilities for recreational vehicles (RV) and tent campers will be needed. The number of RV spaces will depend on the geographical location of the hosting city. Approximately 200 – 300 spaces should be considered.
What organizations may be expected to meet during the National Square Dance Convention®?
  • United Square Dancers of America (USDA), Alliance of Round, Traditional and Square Dance (ARTS), National Association of Square and Round Dance Suppliers (NASARDS), CONTRALAB and ROUNDALAB are just a few of the organizations that may hold meeting just before or during a National Square Dance Convention®.
What is the “National Squares” magazine?
  • The “National Squares” magazine with circulation in every state, all provinces of Canada and many foreign counties is the NEC magazine promoting the upcoming National Square Dance Convention®. The magazine is published 4 times a year – August, November, February and May, averaging 42 pages. Subscription costs only $7 per year.
Why should I buy a convention Program Book?
  • The Program Book is a tremendous source of information about the current convention. However, most dancers wait until they get home to look at the book. The most useful part of the Program Book is the small pamphlet called “Dailies” which are designed to fit in hip pockets or purses. This enables the dancer to easily carry an index of the day’s program without carrying the large Program Book.
 What is a Trail Thru Dance?
  • Dances held “on-the-trail” to the National Square Dance Convention ®. These dances may be sponsored by any group and are not official convention dances. They celebrate the visitation of dancers passing through the area “on-the-way” to the National Square Dance Convention®.
 What is a Trail End Dance?
  • Trail End dances are held the night before the official start of the Convention (Wednesday) and signifies that the travelers have reached the “end-of-the-trail” to the convention. There may be several Trail End dances conducted at the convention facility or local hotels, motels, or other dance facilities.
How many After Parties are at a National Square Dance Convention®?
  • Normally five to ten After Parties are held each evening after the regular programmed dancing ends.
Who may sponsor After Parties?
  • After Parties are conducted by future convention states and organizations in the convention facilities and local hotel/motel ballrooms.
What is a Pre-Convention?
  • Approximately 15 months prior to a Convention, a meeting is conducted with the National Executive Committee observing and advising on the overall preparation and planning being done by the Convention committees.
If we are the successful Bidder for a National Square Dance Convention®, what support can we expect?
  • The National Executive Committee will provide copies of the Giudelines for the convention. The Guidelines contain extensive information for conducting the National Square Dance Convention®. Additional materials are generally shared by all future conventions. Your Area Advisors can provide more information about NEC support to future conventions.