Part 2: Community and Network: Every Host’s Lifeline
by Jonatan Gomes
posted July 11, 2018
part 1 here
Community Involvement and Event Turnout:
Oh but this is a tricky one! Actually, it may not be as difficult as you may think.
First rule of thumb, never assume that because and artist has a a big name that they will guarantee a sold out event.
I have performed in cities where though I faired decently, other artists with much bigger names than myself suffered poor attendance. Promotion and networking is EVERYTHING! Virtually every traveling artist should have substantial promotional materials, such as: photos, videos, published works and materials for sale. These things should be plastered all over everything you touch every day from the moment you book them up until 5 minutes to show time. NO EXCEPTIONS and NO EXCUSES. If you own a dance studio, there is no excuse for your main majority of students to not only attend the event and workshops, but to also help considerably with the distribution of promotional materials.
Graces to social media, the spectrum of free and/or cost efficient promotion is abundant. Wear it out! You cannot over promote!
Networking means attending your dance community friends events and shows, show them you are willing to help them with things, this way, when it’s time for you to do your event, you can count on them for assistance. Reach out to anyone and everyone within your genre of dance, including communities of neighboring cities. If you do not know anyone in neighboring cities that do what you do, then you’re doing Facebook wrong. Find out who they are and where they are, make friends, invite them to your events. It doesn’t hurt to reach out to them from time to time with a personal private message.
Also, don’t be bashful about reaching out to other, seemingly unrelated artist communities, you may be surprised to find how many people have an interest and / or curiosity to learn about the type of art you’re into. Communities grow this way. Reach out to everyone you meet, find out where the other dancers hang out, perform and study, including Ballet, Hip Hop, Salsa, African and World Dance communities, etc.
Also, know dance related artist communities as well…basically anyone who looks cool, you never know how many people they know.
Your down time in between hosting and or performing events should include networking.
Stay on top of your local dance community colleagues!
Remember, people forget. It’s human nature. It doesn’t mean your event is not important to them, but everyone has deal with life. We can’t all be expected to remember everything we’re supposed to remember all the time, and that’s not including the event you’re hosting. So keep everyone in the loop. Stay on top of people who say they are either interested or are going to attend but have yet to sign up. Send private messages from time to time. Make it known to everyone that this is going to be an amazing event that they really do not want to miss because it’s true! Let it be known in your advertisements, social media comments and private messages to your friends that you wouldn’t be making such an effort if you did not believe in the artist you’re hosting.
Make it beneficial to your neighboring dance community friends to help you promote the event. People love to be a part of something big and cool.
Find ways to include your friends in your adventure any way you can. Don’t forget, hosting out of town artists is a way the attendees can get their network on as well. I have met so many cool artists through my travels this way, some of which I have even come to work with later on.
Take extra good care of your out of town workshop attendees!
Generally, if someone from another city contacts you about the event you’re hosting, it is a sign that this person is serious about the art. Serious enough to make an effort to invest in travel, lodging and classes all on their own dime. Chances are, they just might have some talent. Talk to them, ask them questions about themselves and if they have any videos or materials they can show you. If they are good, you may want to give them a spot in the show (provided it does not conflict with the contract of your featured artist)…and at the very least, invite them to your after party / dinner with your featured artist. (You are taking you’re featured artist out for dinner / drinks after the show right? You better!) Make it known that you appreciate their efforts to take part in your event. Also, those dedicated and motivated enough to make such efforts…well, you never know where they may end up one day. Those are generally the sort of people worth maintaining contacts. You may end up hosting them one day, or they may end up hosting you one day. That sort of thing happens all the time in this business.
Frustration is not a unique quality to have because it happens to everyone, therefore it obscures the things about you that make you special. Keep it off the stage!
Coming Up: Part 3: Promotion and money – Finding Success
Ready for more?
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