I am really concerned about the future of dance in the U.S. Although dance is now more popular than ever thanks to shows like So You Think You Can Dance, Dancing With The Stars, America’s Best Dance Crew, A Chance To Dance, All The Right Moves, and many more, there is still an epidemic of poverty and financial instability for most dancers, choreographers, dance teachers, and dance companies. The statistics have shown it, we’ve read articles about the quality of life for dancers, and we live it everyday.
Even with the influx of dance tv shows, dance films, and dance competitions/conventions, it seems that the people who are profiting the most, are not the dancers and choreographers themselves, but corporate executives and tv producers. Finally, there is this little trickle down affect that happens, and the dancers end up with the final drops that are left over, after all of the “important people” get paid.
I don’t say this to down play the positive impact that these shows have had in bringing dance to mainstream media and broadening our audience. My point is that, if you’re not smart, and don’t know how to market and brand yourself or your company, in a way that leads to increased and steady revenue, then the dance community as a whole won’t significantly benefit from the popularity of dance in today’s world. As dancers, we must aggressively educate ourselves on marketing and branding in order to translate the success of these dance tv shows, into success for ourselves, in our own communities. This is the only way that we will begin to see a positive shift in the quality of life for dancers, nationwide.
I think that because innovation in technology happened so quickly, and many of us failed to adapt as quickly as we should have, we are suffering. We’re missing out on opportunities because we don’t know how to thrive and grow in today’s tough economy and a world driven by technology, social media, and mobile living. Not knowing something is not a crime. Not actively and aggressively seeking out knowledge and education on the very topics and areas where you aren’t knowledgeable, in my opinion, is wrong.
We spend way too much time talking about what’s wrong in the dance community, and way too little time discussing and brainstorming about solutions. Information is free, and it is available and accessible to you, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, via the internet or your mobile phone, or tablet. So what’s your excuse? Time? We make time for the things that are important to us. Money? We find the money for the things that are important to us. Don’t believe me? Just look around your apartment or your home, and see all of the things that you didn’t have the money to buy.
It’s all about your mindset. You need to be adaptable, flexible, resourceful, and ready and willing to change and grow. No one is going to hand you anything; you’re going to have to work extremely hard to create the life and career that you want for yourself, and the promising future that you want for your children and your students.
It’s really painful for me to see talented and passionate dancers and choreographers, struggling to grow their companies, because they have no clear marketing and branding strategy. They can’t understand why their company can’t get more funding and grow their audience, but they don’t realize that they’re just disappearing into a sea of other dance companies, because their brand has no clear value proposition or distinction.
Trust me, after a while, all Jazz, Contemporary, Modern, Hip-Hop, etc. starts to look the same. You have to work hard and smart to clearly establish what makes you unique and different from other dance companies, dance studios, and brands. This is the first step in creating your marketing and branding strategy.
This is where your artist creativity needs to kick in!
Artist Creativity + Business & Marketing Knowledge = SUCCESS!
Your best bet is to have a year-round marketing and branding strategy in place that allows people to see, feel, and experience the value you are offering to our community and our world. Have a marketing and branding plan that gives them the opportunity to begin to know, like, and trust your brand. This is the foundation of building your own audience/fan base, and turning your passion into profit.
What do you think? Do you think that the dance community as a whole benefits from the influx of dance media, or that it only benefits a small percentage of our community? Post your comment below, and share this post on Facebook and Twitter, and let’s get a discussion started.
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