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blog dance espresso

Why perfect is not the point in art

Dance Espresso episode 3 is out: this time it is about not showing your work, because it is not yet perfect. But being perfect is not the point.

  • Art is subjective: it will never be perfect for everyone. On the other hand, it will probably always be perfect for someone.
  • Not showing your work slows down your creative process
  • It also breaks the cycle of getting work done: create, publish, receive feedback, repeat.
Categories
dance espresso documentation

Make it easy for fans to support you online

In episode #2 of Dance Espresso, I talk about the necessity to make it easy for fans to support our work online. People are eager to support, but they are used to easy means to an end.

How to make it easy for people to support you online?

  • Have your art and services available online to purchase?
  • If you teach, have some of your classes online. It’s Covid-safe and you can reach people that live abroad who would not be able to join regular classes.
  • If you want to accept donations, have Paypal, Ko-Fi, Patreon or something similar (if you prefer, let it be onlyfans.com) set up to receive them.
Categories
dance espresso documentation

Dance Espresso episode 1

How to support artists and culture in times of a Lockdown?

I launched a new Instagram series called Dance Espresso. It is an ultra-short video format where I present ideas, concepts or methods that should inspire growth in your personal dance, dance business or another artistic journey.

The official Dance Espresso logo

I try to keep every episode as short as possible as it forces me to get straight to the point and practise my skills in communicating clearly. The idea is to give it the vibe of a short chat while grabbing an Espresso at the cafe of your choice.

For now, check out episode 1 below:

Sieh dir diesen Beitrag auf Instagram an

Read the caption for more details! Many countries are either sliding directly into Covid-19 lockdown #2 or are already locked down. This hits artists and people working in culture extra hard. While there are some government support and public funding, most people are on their own. Here are 3 possibilities to support your fellow artists during the lockdown, when shows are canceled and culture venues closed. I wrote a longer post about the topic on my blog, which you can find via my bio link. As one integral part of helping artists make it through the lockdown is sharing their work to have more eyeballs on it and potentially show it to new fans >> tag your artist friends in the comments and add a hashtag for their main discipline. I will do this as well, but can only tag 20 people. If I miss someone, please add them to your comment. Peace #sharingiscaring #danceespresso #artistssupportartists

Ein Beitrag geteilt von FraGue Moser-Kindler (@thefrague) am

Categories
business

About clear communication and its importance

Clear communication is one of the essential pillars of running your business. It optimises workflows and saves you and your customers a lot of headaches. If neglected, it is a guaranteed set up for misunderstandings, that can damage your relationship with the customer or partner (fellow performers, booking agencies, etc).

The goal of clear communication

We aim to answer all necessary questions and make requirements as well as the outcome clear for everyone. One issue that arises regularly is that details remain unclear because one side thinks they are apparent while the other side is unaware of the point at all.

Let’s take a show booking as an example: the following points require clarification:

  • Location
  • Date
  • Time of the show
  • The arrival time of the dancers
  • Is there a soundcheck/tech rehearsal? If yes, when?
  • How do you deliver the music?
  • Space requirements/availability for the show
  • Which floor is in the venue? It there the need to bring PVC or something else?
  • How many dancers are part of the show (is not needed in every case, especial when the group is big)
  • Do you need additional rehearsal-time on the stage due to insufficient space?
  • Is there a dressing room for the dancers? Do you share it with another group? Can you lock it?
  • Who is the contact person for the dancers on-site? How can we reach them?
  • Who is the main contact person on your team for the customer? Make sure they have the phone number.
  • How much does the show cost? Include travel expenses or at least negotiate that they are covered.
  • Invoice Adress
  • Is catering provided for the team (not necessary in every case but you should clarify it)
  • If the show is late or the travel is long: who takes care of accommodation?

Depending on the type of shows you do, there might be more or less points to discuss, but it is more than the regular customer thinks about when he is not used to booking a show.

The principle is the same for every business communication.

The rules of clear communication

  1. Don’t assume. If something is unclear, ask.
  2. Try to speak/write in a language that avoids technical terms or explain them. Your counterpart might not know those.
  3. Have it in written form so that everybody can revisit it, in case of uncertainty.
  4. Don’t be afraid of being the one who points out that some parts are still unclear or missing. While some people might perceive it as counterproductive or even rude in the beginning, everyone will thank you in the long run.

Make it a habit to make things clear

Making things 100% clear for everyone gives you and everyone involved the security of knowing what’s up. There are neither loose ends nor room for interpretation. 

That is precisely what we want in our business. Applying clear communication standards to all of our business talks/mails lets you work and sleep better.

Categories
blog sharing is caring

How to support art and culture in the Corona lockdown?

Many countries are sliding into Corona lockdown nr 2, which hurts a lot of businesses but especially people working in culture and arts. Some get funding and support from governments, but the majority is on their own and needs help. These are seven ways you can use to support and help that our artists don’t suffer, without relying on governments and stimulus bills.

1. Buy something directly from the artists

Musicians, filmmakers, painters and a lot of other artists sell their work. In today’s internet age, buying from them is often only a mouse click away – and not affected by Covid-19 regulations at all.

2. Take online classes

Especially in our dance world, teaching is one of the most reliable forms of income, which is off the table for many in a lockdown. Tech-savvy dancers take their classes to the internet. Join online dance-classes to get your regular dose of dancing and support your favourite teachers, while doing so.

3. Spread the word

This point does not involve any financial commitment. Still, it goes a long way by exposing artists to a bigger audience. Simply share the work of your artist friends on social media. Does someone offer a dance class? Give them a shoutout and let people know why the course is great.

Someone released new music? Share their Spotify or Bandcamp. Sharing art is golden, no matter if we deal with Corona or not.

4. Engage in social media

Another point that goes without spending any money: drop some likes and comments on social media. All these platforms are data-driven, and the algorithms that decide about the importance of the posts use comments, likes and other interactions to measure. Follow the artists on all platforms you use, this rates them higher as well.

5. Become a patron

Some artists have set up ways to send them money via Patreon, Ko-Fi or similar services. If you have some change, there is your chance.

6. Be a voice

When there are public events, petitions or similar ways that can be used to get in touch with government institutions to raise awareness for the topic. Be there.

7. Validate their work

Let people know, what you think about the artist’s work. There are a lot of rating systems and platforms out there, that play a central role in the perception of art, especially when people want to find out about artists they did not know before. Some are built-in into your favourite social media platforms but most of them are not.

When the artists have stuff available on Amazon or other online shopping platforms, rate their products. You don’t have to give it 5 stars if you don’t think the work deserves it, but 4 and even 3 stars are better for discovery than no review. Same goes for artist pages on Facebook, ratings on Google Maps, Tripadvisor (if we talk about venues or stores) and every other rating system you can think of. The more reviews, the better. In the Corona lockdown, people are more likely to shop online, so help them to make it easy, to buy from artists.

While none of us alone will save artists or people who work in culture from bankruptcy, the combined help might secure people’s ability to do the work that matters to them, instead of going back to a job that pays better but does nothing to relieve people from stress, inspire thought or entertain. Imagine a lockdown without music, movies, books or clips from fellow dancers on youtube. Doesn’t sound so funny to me.

Categories
blog business

Dance Job Aquisition for Introverts

For many aspiring dancers, the most significant topic that seems to hinder career progress is the acquisition of jobs. Without an appropriate network, it becomes even harder to create momentum and establish yourself, more so if you even lack a crew. Let’s add being an introvert, which isn’t as outgoing and has a hard time connecting.

A lot of companies are not casting at all. The reason for that, in my opinion, is that a lot of choreographers and directors know who they want for a specific role, while creating the piece – long before the rehearsals start. Organising a casting and checking other dancers, is a waste of time and money, if you already have your preferences. It’s not happening to exclude anyone, but makes much more sense from a production point of view as you can invest your time and money better.

To make things even worse: not all countries have a big developed scene. Depending on your location, there might be only one or two companies that are doing the kind of pieces you want to dance in. If there are only two companies and none of them is casting, you are out of luck – or so it seems.

So, what to do to get more jobs?

1. Get out of your comfort zone and invest in your network

I know, this is is not the answer that satisfies the real introvert dancer, but it is the best advice, to get ahead when you consider only the business side of things. 

There is a saying that goes “your network is your net worth.” In most cases, this is true. The more people you know that are creating pieces, manage dance companies, or book shows, the better your chances to be considered for either the work itself or at least being invited to castings.

This means you can’t spend the whole night in the cypher. There are times to dance, and there are times to talk.

Of course, there are other things you can do, to get more dance jobs, but be warned that this advice #1 is the one that gives you the best results.

2. Do your own research

No matter what kind of production you want to dance in, you need to know when there is an opportunity to join. Those opportunities are not always obvious or easy to find. 

Google and social media are your best friends. Research all the companies and crews that do the work you want to do, within the area that you are eager to travel. Bookmark their websites, follow their social media accounts and get on their email list if they have one. Some companies have a list for notifications on upcoming castings only.

Find and join groups on facebook, telegram, reddit or whichever social media platform you prefer. If you really want it, get on all of them.

There are print magazines out there that have calendars with upcoming shows and auditions. Additional potential sources of opportunities are dance universities, private education facilities or the culture departments of administration. Depending on your countries policies, some companies might be required to publish their auditions there.

3. Consider other genres

Many dancers only want to be part of productions within their scene. Means a hip hop dancer only wants to be in shows from hip hop dancers. There are many opportunities outside your scene. As a hip hop dancer consider auditions for contemporary pieces. Choreographers from there often appreciate the additional movement vocabulary and open to cooperations. Contemporary dance is much more established and therefore usually has more active companies.

4. Nourish your existing relationship with companies

If you booked and with a company or choreographer and enjoyed the work, stay in touch. Find out when something new comes up and let them know you are interested. Show up at shows and interact on social media from time to time. You might be invited to audition again or go directly to the show, if you fit the role. 

5. Get to know the others

When you are in a production, take the time to get to know your fellow dancers. More often than not, people dance in one production but run their own projects as well. 

6. Be versatile

The broader your repetoire, the easier it is for others to fit them into their production. If you can only do one dance style, your are limited to roles that require precisely this one dancestyle. If you have a solid foundation in many styles or are a real jack-of-all-trades, you can fulfil multiple roles.

7. Be more than a dancer

When you can do more than dance, your value to smaller companies, who don’t have everything covered, increases a lot. In small productions it often happens that the choreographer dances in the piece. Can you provide music, do dramaturgy, create costumes, stage design, shoot videos or photos? Whatever you can offer might be your ticket in.

8. Run the show yourself

This one is counter-intuitive at first but has proven correct many times. When there are no jobs, start creating them yourself. Make a piece, create jobs and people start showing up. If you are valuable to others on the same path, they will consider you for their projects as well.

I wrote about this topic earlier: Work together in flexible structures as a strategy in niche-markets.

9. Let your skills be known

Make it easy for people to see that you can do the job. Have videos online, that show what you are good at. If you are a fantastic storyteller, create some narrative dance clips. Good at choreography? Choreograph the shit out of that super complex or emotional track.

10. Bring your fans

First, I suck at this one – because my following on social media is super small, but it is still a thing. If you have a lot of fans or even just followers on social media, that make a significant difference for the group you want to work with, play that card.

When you are based in the town where the production of company X premieres and your local fans are enough to sell out the theatre, only the most established companies will be able to resist. That’s leverage.

Not every point will work for everyone. I consider #1 the best advice in general, as being able to do what needs to be done to create your network is a skill that will benefit you in your business forever.

#2 is also an essential skill in today’s information society and will give you many more opportunities. It is just essential to dig deep in your research.

#5, #6, #7 and #8 are the points that I used myself. I was never the best dancer in any production, but I always had way more to offer than my dance skills and I produced my own pieces as well. That helped we grow my network and build a reputation as someone who makes stuff happen.

You don’t have to work all the suggestions above. Check out which feel right for you and focus on those. If you can apply #1 and #2, go for it and add some of the others for extra spice.

Categories
blog

The Fragrance of Memories is out

For the past few months I supported my wife for the release of her debut album “The Fragrance of Memories.” Finally, it is available to stream and purchase.

If you want to support follow Szintra on Spotify or grab a copy on Bandcamp.

Categories
blog

Temporary Layout Change

Due to a bug in my regular blog theme, I am temporarily switching to this one. I hope the bug will be fixed soon. Until then, we will have this sleek, plain look.

Categories
blog business

When and how to avoid or utilize tunnel-vision

The filter bubble is a term that describes the phenomenon of search engines, social media platforms, and online advertising systems showing you only the content that you are supposedly interested in while withholding the rest.

While the internet coined that term, the phenomenon itself is not new. The same happens to a lesser degree when you are primarily moving in only one social circle or one cultural scene. The topics that people talk about, as well as trends and political opinions, are (most of the time) consistent as long as you move within the same crowd.

This bubble leads to unintended tunnel-vision as information that is not part of our bubble goes unnoticed. Depending on your current situation, this can be good or bad.

Utilize a single bubble if you want to learn a craft that is specific to it.

If you want to learn a new skill or craft from one specific culture or subculture, immersing yourself into it is the best thing to do. Unwavering focus without any distractions will let you progress faster on your quest to learn a specific skill. That is the case if you want to learn hip hop dance or breaking. Dive into the scene, find friends, teachers, or mentors there, and become the greatest dancer you can be.

Avoid tunnel-vision by participating in multiple bubbles if you want to create or come up with a plan.

If you want to create something or come up with original or creative ideas, it is better to avoid bubbleism (I know that is not a word). You want to be on the edges of multiple bubbles. You have more influences and also access to more information. This is the case if you’re going to turn your dance passion into a sustainable dance business, beyond hip hop dance moves. You will be better off having access to the body of thought from the hip hop scene, entrepreneurs and community builders.

Know where you are on your journey and which bubbles you need to reach your destination.

Categories
business

A strategy to set up a sustainable dance business

The dream of making a living or even thriving in the dance business is dreamt of many. I know it is doable because I did it in the past, and I will do it again after taking a time-out after our daughter’s birth.  A not so obvious point: making a living as a dancer is not that much harder than finding regular employment that pays well and is good for your soul

I outline a simple four-step strategy that will take you there. Strategy means we talk about “what are we going to do?” The needed steps are universal and timeless. Executing the strategy is an individual thing and might differ from dancer to dancer because our situations are different. But the strategy stays the same.

Four Steps to a sustainable dance career

  1. Create Value
  2. Monetize It
  3. Scale
  4. Invest

That does not sound like a strategy for dancers. It isn’t. It is one basic strategy for running a sustainable business. Too many people who try their luck in the dance world fall into tunnel vision and only focus on their dance skills. This makes the more significant part of being successful a gamble, which is stupid. If you only work on the dance, you will eventually become an excellent dancer. But without understanding how to turn your dance skills into money, you will not turn pro.

Creating Value, Monetizing it, Scaling, and investing everything extra back into your business will pay your bills, even if you are not the best dancer. I never won a major competition, but dance and dance-related work feed me since 2008, and now it does the same for my family. If I can do it, so can you.

Creating value as a dancer

Creating value means nothing else, but “you need to have something that other people want.” These can be extraordinary dance skills that every choreographer wants to have in the show. It could also be the ability to teach people to dance, or to win battles, to entertain, or everything else you can come up with. As long as there are people who want it.

The more specific your offer is, the better your chances that there is little or no competition. Reinforce your strengths, try to work with the things that nobody else in your area has, and dare cover topics that others avoid.

For some inspiration on how to create value with your dance, check out the article about possibilities to build your dance business around.

The base of any reliable business is to create something that people want or need.
The key to success in business is to have something that people want or need.
photo: Dusana Baltic

Turn your value into money

When you have something to offer, it will not be hard to earn money from it. If every choreographer wants your skills in the production, there will be more than enough productions that pay you. If you are a good teacher, students will happily pay a fee for your class. If you can entertain people, you can create your own piece for the stage, go for videos, host dance events, and much more. And suppose you are really a battle winner. In that case, there is price money (but I don’t consider that a viable option to build a business upon).

The point here is that you have to commit to turning your value into money. Because the other option is to do it for your enjoyment only, which means you have to find different ways to pay the bills. That is perfectly fine if you want to have it that way. But you are reading an article for those who don’t want to do something else to earn a living.

I also wrote about pricing your dance classes, if you want to check that one out.

Scale your dance business

Here comes the thing that every entrepreneur thinks about when building a business. Dancers usually don’t, which is a grave mistake. Scaling means to multiply your income. Simple as that. Scaling would be to dance more shows or teach more classes. That version of scaling is for beginners because you will run out of hours to scale your business or burn-out.

Smart scaling would be to find opportunities that pay you better for the same work or create products that you can sell. Teaching that one class at a camp for 50 people should pay you better than teaching 10. Think digital age. Can you create an online course, where you can teach 50 people per week? If you can, you win.

I opted-in for writing. That way, I can reach many more people than in regular classes or talks, even besides trying to be a good father. Choose a way you are comfortable with. The most popular method right now is video. Create a Youtube channel, stream on Twitch or Instagram, become the next big thing on Tik Tok.

The point is: find something that allows you to reach more people in the same time or less time. If you are doing primarily shows, this might be a good moment to think about getting an agent.

Look for opportunities so scale your business by looking at tech options
Keep your eyes open for opportunities to scale your business.
photo: still from Elsewhere

Invest in your dance business

As soon as you have money left invest it, instead of spending it needless:

  1. Learn something new that makes you better at what you do
  2. Learn something new that helps you to reach more people
  3. Create a new product that you can sell
  4. Advertise what you have

This is a strategy that works. If you really want to make it in dance, you can. If you are already working in dance, check your business against the four steps above. Where are you doing good, and where are you lacking?

Be brave and let us know.