Your Scene Needs You! (Part Three)

Part Three: Be Excellent to Each Other

Part two of this blog explored what dancers in a local scene can do to help promoters with the events they’re organising.

In the final part of this three part blog, we look at how scene members can proactively and positively support promoters with direct assistance. It’s always a good idea to check with a promoter to make sure that your assistance is required, but anything you can do to support your scene should always be welcome!

1: Help to cross-promote events

Reaching the audience is possibly the hardest part of promoting and running events, but you can certainly help to let people know what’s going on in your local scene. Have a chat with your local promoter to ask how you can help get the word out.

The swing dance community is diverse, and not everyone’s on Facebook (cue Mark Zuckerberg frown). To reach the widest audience, cross-promotion should be across as many communication channels as possible including social media, flyering, word of mouth, flash mobs etc.

2: Volunteer to help

Promoters will always be glad for help setting up, working the door or packing away. Volunteer to help them out and they’ll probably offer you free tickets or other perks. Plus, you’ll get a warm fuzzy feeling inside knowing that you’ve done a good deed – though that might be from the whisky the promoter bought you to say thanks.

3: Wax lyrical about the things you’ve enjoyed

Shout it from the rooftops, post on social media, spread the news by word of mouth. Be the hype-person for your scene. Tell people when you had a great time, invite friends and colleagues to attend the next event with you and share the details of upcoming beginners’ classes.

4: Give constructive feedback about things that aren't working

If there’s something that you think isn’t going well in your scene, speak directly to your local promoters and let them know. There’s little point in complaining about something and doing nothing to try and change it. Promoters are not omniscient, nor are they mind-readers. If you think there are improvements to be made, a promoter would love to know, but make sure it’s not simply critical and that suggestions are given constructively or provide solutions. For example, you might be tempted to say, “The music sucked”, instead try providing a solution such as, “At the next event, I’d love to hear more big band swing – that really gets my toes tapping”.

5: Think positive

There’s nothing more toxic in a scene than sniping and sneering at your fellow dancers. Support one another as much as possible. Cheer loudly at competitions and jam circles, big up people who are doing well and winning competitions, make everything you do in your scene fun.

The Balboa and Swing competition at California Balboa Classic 2016

Of course, genuine criticism, constructively given, should be welcome, but discuss things direct with your local promoters and don’t snipe behind their back.

Ditch the dirty politics. Reject Slytherin, embody Huffepuff. One for all and all for one. Use the Force. Etc.

6: If you want to organise something, where possible* work with an existing promoter

If you have a great idea for an event, try working with a local promoter to put it on. Try not to fragment your scene. Local promoters will have a vast amount of experience about what will and won’t work. They’ll know about venues, bands and DJs and may have some financial capital to help with the overheads. A good promoter will also appreciate the chance to inject some new ideas into the scene.

This can help consolidate a scene. I’ve spoken to a number of people about fragmentation within an area where there is a large number of promoters all pitching to a relatively small audience. Competition can be good, but it can sometimes have a negative effect as the audience gets overwhelmed and fatigued by a plethora of similar events and Facebook or email spamming.

*Of course, it’s not always possible to work with a local promoter and you may want to start your own thing specifically because you don’t enjoy a local promoter’s events, or find them hard to work with for a variety of reasons (unmatched ideology or motives, overbearing management style, venue choice etc.) but where possible, it’s good to at least try!

And finally…

Have fun…OR ELSE!!

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