Dance scenes/clubs, little pockets of people who want to learn a certain genre of dance, pop up fairly frequently. Unfortunately, they also expire just as frequently.
In my fourteen years of experience as a dancer in Madison Wisconsin’s many dance scenes I have witnessed what works, what doesn’t and what is essential. The short list, in no particular order:
- Strong leadership/organizers
- Regular lessons/instruction
- Frequent practice opportunities
- Social connections within the community
Dance scenes need at least one if not multiple people willing to step up and organize/run events. These people are the keepers of the info. They make calls, reserve spaces and help wrangle details that other dancers will want to know. Members like to have a point person for questions and feedback.
If there are no regular instruction opportunities, there is no way for new people to join the group or outlets for current members to grow and expand their knowledge base. Members lose interest and momentum if there aren’t regular opportunites to continue learning and a clear progression to improve their skills.
Frequent practice opportunities
Classes and workshops are great but if there are no regular venues to put new knowledge to the test then students feel that they are taking lessons in vain. These opportunities can be an organized practice, monthly dances or simply a group of members going out to a live music venue to dance. Students want to be able to use what they learn on a regular basis.
Social Connections within the community
People are more apt to have fun and return if there is a social connection beyond instruction and regularly organized events and outings. If their friends are there or if they make friends through the organization, then it’s more fun to be a part of whatever event is going on. Learning is fun but when you’re doing it with friends, it’s even better. In an ideal scene the level of dancers feed off each other: advanced dancers take care of beginners and beginners bring a certain level of excitement that comes with learning something new and fun!
In short, dance scenes or clubs don’t simply run themselves. At bare minimum these four key elements are needed to make your scene thrive and grow. With these in place you’ve got your bases covered from brand-new dancer to seasoned member.