Posts Tagged ‘promotion’
Mindy Hazeltine is like a drug pusher of swing dancing. She seems to be in the business of turning ordinary people into swing dance addicts.
As the owner of Stumptown Dance, Mindy runs the biggest weekly swing dance in Portland, Oregon. On an average to slow night she gets 140-150 people. Recently I asked her why she thinks so many people show up at her events.
“I get a lot of school groups and church groups,” she said modestly. “They’re looking for something to do, and the time and location are good. They can leave in time to get up for their Monday morning schedule.”
That’s just so Mindy. Come on, now. They’re not all coming out of the woodwork just because they’re bored on a Sunday night. What gives?
“There are a lot of different reasons why individual people might show up,” she explained. “Maybe their friends invited them, or they always wanted to learn to dance, or something like that. But usually it’s social. They want to meet new people, either people in general or people to date. Although the ones who are just looking for a dating scene don’t usually stick around very long!”
Oh, no! Is that bad?
“No, it’s good!” she said. “People like it that way. In general, partner dancing is a pretty intimidating thing to get started at. It makes people feel safer if they know it isn’t some kind of meat market.”
So what stops it from being a “meat market”? She had to think about that one. “A lot of it has to do with the people who are in leadership,” she said finally. “I don’t mean just me, but in the whole swing community. We’ve set that kind of example, and it has been contagious. People who come out dancing and enjoy it tend to bring their friends. Promotion is by word of mouth, and the people who are interested keep coming back.”
Okay, so people decide to try dancing for a variety of reasons. But what turns them into addicts? ”They fall in love with some deeper aspect of it,” she said. “They make new friends at the dances. Then they’re not just showing up with the friends they started out with; they’re developing deeper relationships in the dance community. They get involved, take some classes, start seeking out live music, start dressing the part. It isn’t just social for them anymore.”
Yes, it’s that familiar out-of-control spiral. How well I remember that slippery slope!
Mindy had a lot more interesting stuff to say, but I don’t want to challenge any blog-reader’s short attention span, so I’ll save it for a couple of upcoming posts. See you tomorrow!