- Love the dance
- Learn the dance
- Talk as many people as you can: People who have started communities, teachers, promoters, other dancers, local businesses.
- Envision what you would like to see in your community and your place in it.
- Don't forget to create your own support
- What's your Goal?
This one is obvious but really important because its about falling in love: which isn't dipping your toe in the waters or waiting to see what happens. Its "Truly, Madly, Deeply" falling in love.
Sure, you can start something even if you're not TOTALLY in love with the dance but you'll find that if you want to do anything sustainable, then you gotta just fall into it (or at least find someone who is who can work with you).
For myself, I dance a lot of different partner dances and when I encountered Kizomba, the music and the connection in the dance just took me. Every dance that I love has a connection that I enjoy but this dance just felt so natural and comforting. The quote that I posted on the top of this blog really does express how I feel about the dance.
Love also implies commitment, patience and a leap of faith because things do take some time to unfold.
LEARN THE DANCE
I have to stress this one because I've seen people try to start something before they really know about what it is they are trying to share. In some cases this is easy, in some cases this can be a challenge. What I know about starting something and getting other people to follow you is that these two factors are really key to getting other people to join you:
1) Love it SOOOO much that its contagious, and
DO find the right teacher and find people that you can share the learning with if possible. I was very lucky to have access to someone locally who grew up with the dance and wanted to share her knowledge and had very similar dreams of spreading kizomba. I was also tied in to other dance communities and had good friends in those communities who I knew would also fall in love with the dance. In my case, I found a group of 8 people and for about a year, we met every week for 2+ hours to dance and share what we knew about the dance from youtube and other instructors we met on our travels. It was my Kizomba incubator and while all of these people are not as active as they used to be, they all became staunch supporters and advocates for the dance when I started to create a community around it.
TALK TO PEOPLE
Dance is not something to keep to yourself because its something that you find joy in with someone else or by sharing it. It will come as no surprise that people who are active or have stature in their communities will be happy to share their stories with you. If not, no big deal, move on and talk to someone else. Don't limit yourself to the dance you specifically want to spread, talk to members of other dance communities and get their perspective on how their dance has grown.
Why talk to people? Well, unless you already have experience starting a dance community, then you need to build that experience somehow, or at least get more data on experiences of others and get fuel for your own ideas.
In this mode you are like an investigative reporter or a researcher. Start anywhere: talk to the dancers, talk to the teachers, talk to the DJ's, talk to the promoters, talk to the club and studio owners. As you start to talk to people, you'll hear their side of how things unfolded and you'll find out who the reliable sources are and who the ego-driven sources are and you'll be able to get what you need which is a sense for how other folks got things started and what to expect.
What's the goal for talking to people?
- To get information and help you figure out what it is you want to do.
- Understand the scene you're in because each scene is different.
- Understand some of the challenges you might face in getting your dance adopted by others
- I want to have more people to dance with.
- I want to get better at the dance.
- I want to teach other people about the dance as a way to hook the into dancing.
- Bring world class instructors in Seattle
- Run a Seattle Kizomba Semba Camp
- Start a Kizomba Seattle Exchange
- Monthly Kizomba Dance to eventually have a Weekly Dance
- Practica for students to practice, socialize and for new students to get to know each other and run by members of the community
- Teacher Conference
If you are starting a community, then your way of operating and your personal values will inevitably bleed into the community that you create and how you operate. Don't try to set too many rules and let you actions set an example instead. A friend and mentor once told me to remember to remain true to who I am and what I want to represent and not get dragged into other people's realities and baggage. Another mentor also said to make sure to understand the value that I bring and the role that I play in the interactions I have with the different people I come in contact with. This is helps you to focus on your role and goals as you move forward and it will also attract to you, people who have similar values.
My point here is not to forget to take care of yourself. In any endeavor, you will need to have some help and a way to energize yourself that is not so tightly entwined with what you are trying to accomplish. So, don't forget to invest time to find keep close to you:
- Like minded people
- Mentors who are willing to work with you
- Something that will help you to reset and balance yourself