SSQQ At A Glance
Written by Rick Archer
is Houston's largest Social Dance Studio. SSQQ
traces its start back to the Disco Days of 1978.
Back then, Rick Archer was a one-man show.
Today SSQQ now has 50 instructors, 12 Administrative Personnel, and
close to 60 Volunteer Instructors. We have grown.
Rick Archer is the person who writes each article on the SSQQ web site and
the one who answers any email sent to
Our business is teaching
adults how to social dance. Our teaching curriculum is divided into
six departments: Western,
Swing, and Miscellaneous (Zydeco, Freestyle, Tap, etc)
SSQQ averages 1,200 students a month. The students vary in age from
high school to senior citizen and the average age is
If you are new to
SSQQ, then welcome to the most complicated dance studio in the History
of Civilization. We have so much going on that even our own staff
can't keep track of it all.
Let's start with the dance classes since that is how we stay in
business. We always have two schedules published:
This Month and
Our courses run on a monthly cycle. Sometime around the start of
each month we begin a new set of classes that meet 4 times (once a
week) for 2 hours each visit. An 8-hour class cost $50 for men and $40
for ladies. This is a one-time charge and there are no hidden costs.
We charge men more because we spend a great deal of extra time
teaching them to lead while the ladies more or less bide their time.
We have an Information Page that covers
all the details about how to register, what to wear, money issues such
as credits and refunds, and millions of other details.
SSQQ has a
well-deserved reputation as a place to meet singles. In fact we can
make a strong case that SSQQ is the Romance Capital of Houston, Texas.
Did you know the studio averages 25 couples a year that get engaged
and/or married? That is quite a statistic if you stop and think
about it. In case you need convincing, please read our articles on
SSQQ Slow Dance and Romance.
An SSQQ tradition that plays a strong role in mixing the birds and
the bees is SSQQ
Practice Night. SSQQ has 6 rooms. At the end of each night
of classes, students from all 6 rooms meet in our largest room for an
hour and fifteen minutes of non-stop dancing. Not only does
Practice Night help you improve as a dancer quickly, it is a nice
opportunity to meet other members of the studio for a fun evening of
dancing together. SSQQ has an ultra safe atmosphere and a huge
dance floor. It is a marvelous playground for people who like to
About half the
studio customers register by walking in the night of their first class
and paying at the door. This process takes about ten minutes. If you
hate to wait, another popular feature at SSQQ is our
Registration system. This feature allows our students to register
from the comfort of their desk plus it allows you to skip the line and
walk straight to class.
Created in 2001, as of 2005 we have
never had an instance of credit card theft. Thought you might like to
know that. Like with any other technology, there is always the
possibility of "user error". For example, we get one or two cases a
month where someone is "double charged" for a class. Sometimes people
get impatient for the Internet to respond and accidentally hit the
"Back" button on the computer. This can result in being charged twice,
but it is a fairly easy problem to correct. That is about the extent
of the danger of using our system.
The On-Line system allows you to review your entire history of
classes taken at SSQQ over the years. All you have to do is click the
"History" button at the On-Line Page and take a look. Your History
will allow you to take classes over again for half-price down the
In addition to
Practice Night, we have two
dance parties a month. They usually occur on the 2nd and 4th
Saturday of the month, but these dates do vary occasionally. The
first party of the month is usually Swing, Ballroom, and
Salsa-related. The second party concentrates on Western dancing
and West Coast Swing. We always have six to seven Crash
Courses right before the parties start from 7-9 pm. These
are popular one-night only dance classes that have no follow-ups.
Each party has a theme and some are quite popular. Our
favorite parties include the Sleazy Bar Whip Party in April, the
amazing Sock Hop in June, the fun Beach Ball in August, plus the
Christmas and New Years Eve Party in December.
However without a doubt the single biggest event of the year at
SSQQ is the Halloween Party in October. Over the past 25
years, the popularity of this party has grown to the point where
we now average 300 people. One thing that makes the party
special is that everyone goes all out to wear great costumes. We
in turn reward our guests by posting their pictures year-round on
our web site. No matter what month it is, you will be amazed by
the quality of the costumes! Read the history of the
SSQQ Halloween Party
and take a look at the marvelous costumes!
SSQQ is also known for its Cruise Trips.
We have taken 5 trips so far. Our first trip to Jamaica and the
Cayman Islands in 1988 had 30 aboard. Our second trip was to Vera
Cruz (not a misprint, just a misadventure). On this adventure our numbers jumped to
101 in 2001. The more expensive trip in 2002 caused the
numbers to drop slightly down to 86. However our summer trip
over July 4th to Cozumel in 2003 saw the numbers increase to an amazing 147.
Counting the people we had to leave behind for lack of space, we
practically could have doubled the number from the year before.
Cruise Trips are is of course growing in popularity every year as
one of America's favorite forms of recreation. The SSQQ trips are
popular because it is fun to travel with a large group and we have
the element of dancing during the day and night to add to our fun.
It is of course a wonderful ego trip each year during the
Captain's Reception to get dressed up and dance the night away to
the marvelous Big Band music of the ship's orchestra. The crowd in
the auditorium watching us claps enthusiastically as they assume
our dancers are actually part of the paid entertainment!
You might be surprised to learn the SSQQ Dance Studio Web
Site (www.ssqq.com) is
one of the most-visited "Dance Studio" web sites in the country.
Our vast array of articles on dancing have for years attracted
visitors from many places in addition to Houston.
Did you know that in February 2006, Google
placed "SSQQ.com" as the 5th most popular dance studio web site on
the Internet out of a Million Listings. We have achieved this
lofty listing despite the fact that we have never paid a dime to
improve our spot.
You don't believe it? Go to Google and look for
Type "dance studio" & click. Look for SSQQ on Page One.
There is no
quicker way to instantly get in touch with the pulse of SSQQ than
by reading the infamous
on the SSQQ web site.
You will be immediately stunned to find our Newsletters are as long as Time
Many of the features are
contributed by SSQQ students who enjoy passing on their discoveries
and anecdotes to their friends at the studio. The topics can
pretty juicy at times.
The SSQQ Newsletter contains everything from stories about dancing
to the latest engagements to jokes to logic puzzles to Venus and
Mars. And be sure NEVER to miss the most popular section of
each Newsletter, the infamous "Complaint" section.
Another big part of the SSQQ Web Site is our
Stories and Write-Ups section. You will be surprised when you
discover there are enough stories and articles to equal the length of a
good-sized book. If you wonder how long it would take to
read all those stories, first take a guess how long it took me to write
The articles include Advice to Men, Secrets of Following,
of Whip, Swing, and Western, Speed of Music,
Where the Creatures
Meet, and Slow Dance and Romance. The largest section is
Adventures of a Dance Teacher with over 50 stories which
cover various adventures and misadventures from Rick Archer's career as a dance
The SSQQ Web Site also contains an excellent
Joke Page. Our Joke Page
has 5 sections. In our Joke Hall of Fame we publish the
jokes sent in by our Newsletter readers over the past 8 years.
We now have somewhere around 900 jokes!!
A very popular area is known as the
Page. If you believe a picture is worth a thousand words, then
you are bound to laugh at these absurd photographs and cartoon.
A spin-off of our Joke Picture Page is Fun Stuff - a
series of pictures or cartoons that tell a story. Rounding out
our list is our Favorite Puns and the Best New Jokes
of the Month. Our Joke Page is so well done, it is one of
the most visited areas on our entire web site.
Last but not
least is the "Archives"
section of the SSQQ Website. Here you will find all sorts of
interesting stories that have little relationship to the studio,
but are curious enough that we added them to the Web Site anyway.
Out of the 30 or so articles, my favorites include
Larry the Moron,
Saga (too stupid to believe),
Houston Traffic, a satirical look at Houston's traffic woes
that was written nearly ten years ago yet seems as current as
ever, and an article on
While you are checking out the different stories, you might notice
a section on Logic
Puzzles. Once a month we publish a puzzle for our Newsletter
readers to exercise their mind a little. This area also
Einstein Puzzle and the
Christmas Carol Picture Puzzle.
As you have undoubtedly gathered simply from reading this "SSQQ
At a Glance" article, SSQQ is indeed a very complex dance studio.
We have all sorts of
weird ways, mishaps, traditions and folklore that most people are just
barely aware of. We also have lots of rules and ways of doing
things (such as switching partners) that take getting used to.
In order to catch you up on our first 25 years
of business, there are three more articles (SSQQ History,
Philosophy, Group Classes) that should go a long way
towards clearing up some of the mysteries and legends about this
intriguing place. These articles should give you a firm idea
of what our studio is all about.
covers the events that led to the
development of Houston's largest dance studio.
explains why don't we use Contracts, the advantages of Group
Lessons, and why Practice Night is so important
to our dance program.
covers the events that explain
how we developed our Group Class Dance program.
This section is actually something of a meditation on the nature
of the Rights of an Individual Versus the rights of the Group. It
covers in great detail the incidents that led to our policies and
the reasoning behind the policies.
Why do we insist everyone switch partners?
Why can't people watch classes?
Why are children banned from the studio?