Following on from ‘Poland’s Big Bang Zouk Theory’, I am sure there are many ways to grow a healthy dance scene. but here are some of my thoughts and general thinking based on observations who are the main contributors that make a thriving and healthy dance scene.
Some contributors may play several roles, some may choose to play one role. Nonetheless, they each are important and can’t be disregarded as lesser importance when it comes to growing a healthy and thriving dance scene.
A dance scene & community may have other important roles not mentioned below in order to function and operate, so my list may not be fully exhaustive.
Every scene needs a visionary or two, someone with a goal, a plan or idea how to make things happen. They influence and coordinate people to take action and make things happen.
Community leaders should be working together with the common interest of sharing and building the dance community for their region and not just their personal interest, group or school.
Building and maintaining international relationships are also very important to exchange knowledge and resources.
This is an obvious one. Someone to pass on the dance knowledge, etiquette and technical know-how to the new generations.
Teachers should always continue self-development if they want to be able to offer up to date dance materials to their students.
They don’t need to know everything but NEED to have a strong dance foundation and knowledge to understand what they are teaching and should act in the best interest of their students’ development.
Dance Mentors / Coaches / Guides
They are usually highly skilled dancers who chose not to teach but have a vast amount of dance learning experience and have tried nearly everything and been everywhere. Some teachers can be an overlap of these skillsets too, however, not always. Mentors / Coaches / Guides are slightly different skillset whereby they are not teaching you, you learn from others and discover with their guidance. They can suggest or point you to directions to find your answers when you are lost or struggling to find the answers.
These people glow with passion and like to influence and guide through both on floor action and conversations by offering tips and ideas on where to find or discover the answers new dancers are looking for in dance.
These amazing guys/gals not only offer us the best and latest music we like to dance to all night long but they also highly influence and drive the evolution of the dance.
If more of a particular type of music is played and becomes popular with dancers, then the way we dance also starts to change and evolve.
They spend countless hours listening to music and finding gems we may enjoy dancing to. Top DJ’s will even create their own remixes in order to adapt it for dancing Zouk!
The talented and hardworking dancers who attract the crowds and inspire existing and new people into the scene.
Most of us are a bit of a dance performer in some way, but some can wow more than others.
Dance performance does require training different set of dance skills vs social dancing skills.
“One day I will be able to dance like that.”
Bloggers who provide dance information for existing and new generations of dancers.
They spend a lot of time educating and molding the mindset of dancers and help dancers stay up to date with the latest events, news, gossips, etc.
Bloggers can drive important debates and discussions that help improve the dance scene.
We love interacting with people, digging for information & formatting them, and knowing everything that is happening Zouk-related!
Dance Photographers / Videographers
If not for these people, there will be no one to help capture our dance moments and time with people.
Your photos and videos get shared and watched not just by dancers but also your non-dancing friends and family which helps promote the existence of Zouk.
Heavily invested in pieces of camera equipment and having to spend hours going through hundreds to thousands of pictures each time, just to select & process the most beautiful ones for you and others to enjoy.
Dance Marketers / Ambassadors
Everyone is a bit of a dance marketer when they drag their friends to try out Zouk!
We can all help by spreading the love and nothing is stronger than recommendations & suggestions through word of mouth from their trusted friends.
I would say we are all dance ambassadors as we represent dance as a whole but also ambassadors for each type of dances we do. For example, I am a Zouk ambassador, building relationships and influencing dancers from other dance types and non-dancers.
These people bring everyone together. A huge amount of planning and effort goes into coordinating everything with the aim to give us exhilarating experience so we keep dancing and dancing.
It’s these people who help give us many purposes to keep traveling and dancing until we’re old! To meet old friends, make new friends, have amazing dance connections, have fun, keep learning etc. 🙂
The Social Dancers
All of us! Without dancers, there would be no dance scene, no reason for us to travel and to share moments on the dance floor with.
Having a positive, approachable and friendly type of personalities helps leave long-lasting human bonds and makes it welcoming for the new generations. In turn, this helps sustain and grow the dance scene.
On the financial aspect of a dance scene, the Dancers are where the primary funding source comes from for growing a dance community. If dancers are unwilling to invest in themselves and their community, they would starve, bleed and stunt the growth of their own dance scene.
There are times when I feel that some people value a particular role more than the others, or give credit, ownership or entitlement to any single role. Personally, I think that’s a very narrow-minded way of thinking and anyone who feels this way should just put their ego aside.
You will most likely hear many of us (bloggers) talk about egos because it’s probably the #1 cause of problems in any dance scene. The damage this one ‘thing’ can cause to any healthy growing dance scene is detrimental. Ego is like cancer which will slowly kill a dance scene or cause deformities and dysfunctions. I could continue elaborating about ego, but it’s not the main topic of this blog.
Most dance contributors voluntarily give up their precious time & energy to build the dance community, not for riches or fame, but because they love to share the connection and joy that comes through dance.
Most of the roles mentioned above shouldn’t really be done for free (except ‘The Social Dancers’), even though it may initially start off as a passion for sharing and caring. It’s extremely energy draining and time consuming which is why the majority chooses to just dance. There are far many better financially rewarding careers and dance is probably near the bottom of this list, but yet we still chose to invest in you and dance.
‘The Social Dancers’ are ultimately the ones who would need to provide the long-term investment into a Zouk scene via paying for classes, privates, event tickets, etc. Even charity organisations have costs they must meet otherwise they cease to function and exist. Do you want this to happen to Zouk? Nooo! Of course not 😛
Why is it IMPORTANT to continuously invest in your dance community and your personal dance development?
Ultimately, it’s because we all want to have many good dances!
If you really want your dance community to thrive and offer you more and more in return, then funding is needed to build the dance infrastructure (schools, party venue & better dance floors, DJs & music, staff, licenses, etc). By investing in your dance scene, is, in fact, investing in yourself.
I know many photographers, videographers, DJs, teachers and smaller event organisers that makes very little or no money (it doesn’t even cover the cost of equipment investments or time spent), and barely cover the running costs such as food, travel, and accommodation so you could all enjoy lower-cost dancing events. Most of these contributors have another professional career that pays their monthly bills.
However, in my personal opinion, I seriously think it’s unsustainable in the long run and deeply impacts future development. My reason is that the business is now modeled on goodwill and set the expectations of Social Dancers to expect amazing festivals at the expense of others’ sacrifice and contribution to keep prices low. This also meant anyone who hopes, wish or want to make a decent living out of doing any of these roles to build a dance community becomes very difficult.
Some of these issues are self-inflicted because Contributors try their hardest to make it affordable and please everyone, but at the same time, it’s like shooting yourself in the foot because there would be insufficient capital for steady expansion.
There are alternatives options, which some social dancers had complained about;
- Packing more people into venues with inadequate space to dance or oversubscribed workshops.
- Charge more for extras.
Question for The Social Dancers
This isn’t directed at anyone in particular, but if The Social Dancers want to have great dances, but they aren’t willing to help grow the scene and they aren’t willing to invest in paying for classes and aren’t willing to invest in their scene. Then who should?
What are your thoughts on the current charges for:
- Your local classes and special workshops.
- Festivals / Congresses / Marathons.
Do you think they are charging not enough, just right or too much?
Would you consider helping to grow your Zouk scene?
Are there any of the roles mentioned above which you could offer and help make your dance scene and community better?
Just remember when deciding to take up any one of the roles… communication and collaboration is key, after all, we are one dance family 🙂
Question for Dance Contributors (All other roles mentioned above)
How do you feel about my thoughts?
Are my observations and intel accurate?
When you are hired for an event, are you earning enough to cover all your running costs such as food, travel, accommodation, equipment and time?
Is there anything you feel needs changing?
Special Thank You
A special shout-out to all dance contributors around the world. You guys and gals are my CHAMPIONS, my SUPERSTARS! Thank you for all your hard work and you have my deepest deepest respect. Keep it up! 😀
Again, many thanks for reading another blog by DiscoverZOUK.
Please share and comment because I always like to hear you!