Sunday, September 16, 2012

Starting A Swing Dance: Getting Started

Before we can get to the nitty-gritty business details of starting a swing dance there are a few considerations to think about before starting a dance.

Get a group together!

Starting and running a dance is hard work.  Unless your new dance is going to be your only occupation, you probably want to work with a group of dancers to put it together.  Your best bet is to have a mix of leads and follows.

There are several advantages:

  1. You are guaranteed to have at least those dancers at your dance.  There will always be someone to dance with you and with the beginning dancers.
  2. You have teachers for your drop-in lesson if you are having one. (Highly recommended!)
  3. You can split the work load of teaching, DJing, working the door and cash register, set-up and clean up.
  4. Splitting the start-up costs makes it easier to get started.

Can your scene support a new dance?  

This is an important question!  You don't want to shell out the money to start a dance and not have enough dancers come to keep it running.  You need to look at whether or not there is already dancing on that night.  This doesn't have to be a deal-breaker but it is something to consider.  Is the available dancing all ages or over 21 dancing in bars?   Which part of town is the dancing?  Your new dance should fill a niche.

Example:  In Portland, the weekly all-ages swing dances were on Thursday and Sunday.  There was often other opportunities to dance on most nights of the week but all of those opportunities were to live bands in local bars. Fun, but it left a gap for younger dancers who wanted to do more dancing.  There was also the problem that both of those dances were before work days. When I got a group together to start a new dance, we chose Saturday night to offer dancing to the school-age crowd and adults who work Monday mornings.

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