Event Marketing – the Basics

I’m teaching my husband the basics of event marketing so I thought I’d also share my methodology as a blog post.

Part I – Set Up

1. Shared Drive

Before setting up anything else, I strongly recommend setting up a shared Drive to store all of your digital assets and administrative documents. My preference is Google Drive. Even if you’re working alone, this can act as a good back up rather than keeping it all on your computer. Put everything in there for easy access.

2. Core Event Pitch & Creatives

First, prepare your core event “elevator pitch” along with a more detailed explanation of the event. Of course, you’ll need a great name.

Consider the core FAQ information related to the event to head off any questions or confusion. Who, what, where, when, why, how.

Along with your core pitch, create your key graphical elements, aka. creatives. You’ll want to size the key graphics for your website, the Facebook event, and an Instagram square version (which also looks good on Facebook). We also needed a specific size for our event ticket system.

The horizontal Facebook event size of the image will often work as your website banner and the horizontal format can be a good option for Twitter and LinkedIn (if those are important for your marketing) without having to fuss with too many resizes.

I would also recommend having an event hashtag (“proprietary hashtag”) that you make clear in your event pitch and in all of your ensuing marketing materials. See more of this below in the Instagram section.

You might find it useful to design a vertical poster but I personally steer away from print ads and I don’t find the vertical size necessary for digital advertising, outside of Instagram Stories or TikTok, if you’re doing that. (I usually just share the square version in Instagram Stories to streamline the process. That’s not really a best practice, but sometimes simplification is important and it does the job.)

3. Website (or Central Front-of-House Location)

Once you have your event pitch sorted, the first thing to do is to update your website with all of the details. If you don’t have a website, though it’s less than ideal, you might use a Facebook event or a ticketing system as your central front-of-house location for the event details.

You might have an entire website dedicated to just the event, a page on a website, or you might create a post on your blog roll. I’d like to explain a few tricks about that.

I’ll use the example of our hobby website, Stepping Out Vintage. It’s a WordPress website, which is my preference. For that website, we’ve got it set up with the homepage as a blogroll.

What I’ve set up in this kind of scenario is that you create a post (rather than a page) for your event. There are a few advantages and approaches to how I like to set this up.

  1. The event will appear front and centre on the homepage, as long as it’s the newest post
  2. I can create an empty page with a redirect that points to the blog post so the event can also appear in the top menu
  3. I can create a category for all upcoming events
  4. I can also keep a category for all past events to keep a record of them

Let me explain #2 about the page and redirect:

The main information for this year’s event will live in a post. However, you can also set up an empty page that will redirect to the post. You can do this by adding the post directly to your menu in the Appearance > Menu options within WordPress, but I personally prefer to have a short and easy URL. You can add a Quick Page/Post Redirect plugin that will take care of this.

Here’s how it works:

The blog post might have had a longer URL, like Stylish Sunday on Centre Island (steppingoutvintage.com/stylish-sunday-on-centre-island) but that’s a bit long for the main promotional slug. So instead, I like to create an empty page with a slug like steppingoutvintage.com/stylishsunday and then set up a forwarder to the post.

Why? The advantage of this is if I run the same event next year, I can use the exact same page and slug and just forward it to the newest post. And it will allow for a quick access link in the menu while also including the information in the blog roll.

Upcoming & Past Event categories:

Another advantage is that I can have a different page for Upcoming Events that uses the same redirect tool but this time have it forward to the category for all of the upcoming events. Or all of the past events. Here’s a live example, though there may not be very many active events listed:

Just note that events don’t automatically change from upcoming to past. You just change the checkbox in your post categories. 

The easier it is for someone to find your event details on your website, the better, and this will also get picked up by Google.

This post is just supposed to be about the basics. However, at a more sophisticated stage of marketing, I would also set up the Facebook Pixel for paid advertising and retargeting, and link tracking using Rebrandly

4. RSVP/Ticketing

Even if you’re running a free event, it’s really important to have an RSVP process so you can track numbers and interest. But most importantly, you want to build up your contact list. That’s why I always recommend collecting emails and not just relying on social media.

I use EventsFrame for ticketing but there are lots of ticketing tools out there. I really like EventsFrame’s simplicity around ticketing fees since some services can get expensive, and EventsFree is free for free events.

Get your RSVP/ticketing system fully set up and integrated on your website/central front-of-house location before doing any marketing. You don’t want to let any email addresses slip away before you have a system to capture the interest.

5. Set Up Email Marketing

In addition to the RSVP/ticketing, you should have an email sign-up. I use Mailchimp, which is free for under 2000 subscribers. You’ll be able to create an email opt-in that you can integrate into your website in a number of ways, either by embedding the sign-up right on the website or linking to the email sign-up form. (Or both. Make it easy for people.) The email sign-up is as important of a CTA (call to action) as “buy now” or “RSVP now”.

6. Reconfirm Set Up

Once you have your RSVP/ticketing and email opt-ins set up, do another update of your website to make sure it’s air-tight with all of the critical elements and details. 

Once you have all of your ducks in a row fully confirmed, you’ll be ready to start the actual campaign. (Though I do sometimes like to send out a few teasers before the full launch.)

Part II – Campaign Launch

7. Facebook Event

Do you already have a Facebook Page for your organization? If not, create one. Even if you feel like you’re just a single person throwing a party and you don’t need a page, it’s better to create a general page of some kind. At one point, I was throwing an event that didn’t fit under any of my existing pages so I created a general page called “Lindy Hop Events” to use.

Create your Facebook event so that it’s attached to the page and make sure it’s public. Even if it’s not truly a “public” event, unless it’s just a private house party (in which case pretty much none of the above applies), make the event public.

Make sure the event has an attractive image and all of the core information. You won’t get a lot of space to put in your event description but be sure to include your website link, ticketing link, and even the email opt-in. I usually put the ticket/RSVP link on the ticket line but then also repeat all three links in the body of the event copy.

General comments about Facebook marketing

Facebook events are still powerful, but these days the absolute best scenario is to leverage the trifecta of Facebook marketing:
1. Facebook Page
2. Facebook Events tied to the page
3. Facebook Group tied to the page with an ongoing community focus**
Your events should always be tied to the page, not the group, unless they’re private events.
Use the Facebook Page and Event for announcements and continuously drive people to join the community group. Use the group to encourage ongoing community-focused chit chat. I actually like to name the groups “X Community Chit Chat” or similar to encourage the open chat format.
The more people that join the group and are hanging out in there anyways, the better captive audience you’ll have to gently remind people about your events. And it’s just a generally good vibe in these types of groups with way better visibility in the Facebook algorithms.

Leverage all the Facebook avenues

Once you have the Facebook event, invite anyone you know who might be interested (don’t spam people who aren’t a good fit) and start sharing it everywhere that would be appropriate. Definitely share it periodically in your personal feed and on the organization page, but also share it in relevant groups.

When you share your event in other groups, make sure you’re posting in a conversational way that fits in with the group culture so you don’t come across as a disengaged spammer. 

Post regular updates to the Facebook event itself, but also share those updates elsewhere. The more you share your events, the more chances they’ll have to be seen. However, it’s a good idea to adjust the wording each time so it’s not a direct copy and paste of the exact same word-for-word update.

The more people who mark themselves “interested” in the event, the more that their friends will be shown the event in their newsfeeds so don’t underestimate the free exposure you can still get for events on Facebook. (Even with diminishing algorithms.) 

Consider a Facebook group of our own

As I mentioned with the Facebook trifecta, if you’re thinking big picture, it can be a good idea to create a Facebook group related to your interest group. This group shouldn’t be just for this single event but for the community you are building around your event and your entire brand.

For example, when I started running our Roaring Twenties Events, I also started a group called GTA Vintage Chit Chat for anyone in the Greater Toronto Area who might be interested in vintage things. I didn’t have much time to nurture that group before the pandemic hit, but in the long run that will be a great place to build up a community of people to talk about all things vintage, where we can also post about future events.

If you do create a Facebook group, make sure to add the link and information to your website and add it as another soft CTA.

CTAs

Remind people about your calls to action. Don’t just always push the “buy” message. Also, include your “low stakes” CTAs to reinforce the importance of keeping in touch. 

  • Visit the website for more details
  • Sign up for emails to stay in the loop
  • Follow us to stay in touch
  • Join our Facebook group
  • RSVP/buy tickets

You need to make this easy for people so always include the relevant links in your Facebook posts. Don’t make people fish around for the information or links, always include one CTA in every Facebook post.  

Make sure to add the links to your Facebook event, page, and group to your website.

8. Instagram

You should almost certainly also set up an Instagram account for your organization. You’ll want to share your square graphic and any other imagery on that central account, while also sharing content on your personal account. 

I would also recommend having an event hashtag (“proprietary hashtag”) while also researching other relevant hashtags for both your local area and the interest groups. 

Event hashtag:

Here are two examples. When we were running our Roaring Twenties Events before the pandemic, we had the hashtag #roaring20sTO. For our little Easter Parade that we would like to build up in future years, we’ve been using #TorontoVintageEasterParade. This is particularly useful for tracking people’s photography after the event has taken place, which will very much help to establish your visibility if you run the event again. But it also helps to reinforce your proprietary hashtag by using the hashtag you create repeatedly before the event takes place. Just don’t make it too complicated so that people get confused about what it is. Usually, the most obvious hashtag is the best choice. 

For our upcoming event, I haven’t researched it yet to see if #StylishSunday is already being used. I’m guessing it’s already populated so will probably want to use #StylishSundayTO.

Local hashtags:

Examples from most broad to most specific: #Toronto #the6ix #CentreIsland #TorontoEvents #TorontoVintage #VintageToronto

Interest group hashtags:

#vintagestyle #vintagelook #modernvintage #1920s #1930s #1940s #1950s #1920sstyle #1930sstyle #1940sstyle #1950sstyle #vintagestylenotvintagevalues

Make sure to research your hashtags, those are just some examples off the top of my head.

Follow the relevant hashtags as well to help populate your account with the kinds of people you should be engaging with. 

Post diverse content

Post strategically to your feed with images, carousels, videos, Reels, and post more spontaneously to Stories. 

Remember for Instagram with your CTAs that links are not clickable in your feed posts. You get one link in your bio, which is the only clickable link, so remind people to check that link and make that link count. (I set up a LinkTree or similar to ensure all of the important links are easily accessible. It’s a way to include multiple links in a single link.)

You can include a link in your Instagram Stories so use that wisely as well. 

9. Other Social Media Considerations

Depending on the community you’re targeting, Twitter, LinkedIn, or TikTok might be worth using too.

I’m trying to keep things simple for beginners, but I also recommend that you use a social media scheduling tool to queue up content on the social media channels. You can still add spontaneous posts but it’s ideal to have your primary brand awareness content queued up in advance. I will plan and schedule my content for a month in advance. That way you can focus on active engagement. If you’re only using Facebook and Instagram, you can use Facebook’s Creator Studio at no cost, which covers both those two platforms. For bigger endeavours, my preferred tool for social media is Cloud Campaign.

By the way, I can’t stress enough how important it is to have secure passwords and to set up extra authentication for your Facebook and Instagram accounts. Hacking is on the rise and once you’ve been hacked, you may never get your accounts back. I implore you to take this warning seriously and set up authentication in your settings now.

10. Email Marketing

Send our email updates… but not too often. You’ve been driving email sign-ups which is great. This is the best way to capture your audience without relying on paid advertising since the social media algorithms can be fickle. Once you have those emails, stay in touch with people.

Be informative and engaging with clear CTAs.

11. Networking

Reach out to likeminded people in your community and ask them to help share the event. Not everyone will but some people like to be asked and will gladly share. Consider inviting some influencers to be involved in the event and for paid events, it can be worthwhile to comp a few strategic tickets in order to get buy-in from key people who can help spread the word and endorse your event.

And then it’s just a matter of keeping on top of it! 

There is so much more I could get into, especially about paid advertising, but I would say that this has the basics covered. The rest is about constantly pumping energy into your campaign so roll up your sleeves and best of luck!

Main Points:

  • Shared Drive
  • Core Event Pitch & Creatives
  • Website
  • RSVP/Ticketing
  • Email Marketing
  • Facebook Event & other Facebook
  • Instagram

New Blog: Stepping Out Vintage

In the last year, I have decided to step away more from direct leadership in the Lindy Hop community. Now that I’m finally starting to truly understand feelings of cultural appropriation, I want to step back from that kind of work, and particularly from profiting from Lindy Hop. I will not be teaching Lindy Hop and when I do contribute to the community, it will be with a mission for better Black representation, history, respect, inclusivity, and with an eye towards passing more of the leadership to aspiring BIPOC community members. I will probably end up helping to get the Toronto Lindy Hop community back on its feet after the dust from the pandemic has settled, but beyond that, I will be channeling my efforts elsewhere.

One thing that I do want to continue to pursue, however, is vintage style events which might sometimes include dancing. For a long time, my husband Geoff and I have talked about merging some of our efforts so we’ve joined forces with the launch of our new blog: steppingoutvintage.com. Please give us a visit and also be sure to also follow us on Instagram: @steppingoutvintage.

 

 

My resignation from the board of the Frankie Manning Foundation

Message of Resignation from Mandi Gould from the FMF Board

https://www.facebook.com/237836633010762/videos/1092912114506467

After many years, I am leaving the board of the Frankie Manning Foundation in order to make room for new Black leadership. I recorded this message a couple of months ago and would like to share it now as I wrap up my work.

I’m very excited to see the the next phase for the Frankie Manning Foundation with participation from the new board members; Julia Loving, Marie N’Diaye, and LaTasha Barnes. Let’s continue the cultural shift that our Lindy Hop community began in 2020 and carry this shift into 2021 and beyond with better learning, education, respect, and representation.

Best wishes to everyone.
Mandi Gould

Lindy Hoppers: We benefit from a Black dance.

We benefit from a Black dance.

“You should try Lindy Hop, it’s super fun!”
“You’ll join an amazing community!”
“It’ll change your life!”

We hold dances for entertainment. We teach classes for our profit. We run events that perpetuate the carefree atmosphere that we’ve told ourselves is part of Lindy Hop.

The rewards that we enjoy from Lindy Hop are endless.

And just look at what’s going on around us.

Things have got to change–in the world and also right here in our community. We are all responsible for making change happen and when you stop to think about it, maybe Lindy Hoppers should be taking even more responsibility than the “average” person because we’ve benefited SO MUCH for years. We need to step up.

 

Online Marketing for Lindy Hoppers – Part 2

This is a continuation of the blog post I started here. In Part 1, I talked about your offering, aka. your value proposition, and monetization considerations. Now I’ll get into what will make or break your success: marketing.

Marketing is Everything

I believe that marketing is the most important part of your online business. It doesn’t matter how great of an offer you have or how talented you are; if you can’t get in front of enough of the right people, you will struggle.

Understand Your Audience

Who should you really be catering your offering towards? In an online capacity, you have three main possible target groups:

  1. People who already Lindy Hop and already know you
    • A targeted niche, your biggest fans, but a limited pool
  2. People who already Lindy Hop in general but may not know you or be connected with you (yet)
    • Also a targeted niche but with a much wider net
  3. People who don’t Lindy Hop yet—they could be complete beginners or people from other dances
    • A much wider net but much more unknown with a very different sales cycle

Right now, I see most Lindy Hop instructors focusing far too much on Group 1, the people who they’re already connected with. That’s definitely a warm audience and they’re probably your biggest cheerleaders, but it’s too limited of a pool to rely on for all of your income.

This is the same problem that local dance schools face when they rely too much on their existing intermediate and advanced students for their income. It might work well for a little while, but it’s not enough to sustain your business. You need to be continuously bringing in new people. You’ll have periods of thriving attendance but at some point, your existing student base will start to burn out, run out of money, get too busy, get tired of your offering, or just turn over.

When this pandemic is eventually over and we go back to some kind of normal, local schools need to get back to building their schools up from the bottom up; by bringing in new beginner dancers. They can rely on local targeting alongside benefits like joining a friendly social community to fill their classrooms.

Find your Niche Within the Lindy Hop Niche

In an online capacity, you might decide to offer beginner classes, but it’s a harder, much more unknown market to try to reach. As such, your marketing has to be a lot more creative and convincing to win over “civilians” or “muggles” who are completely unfamiliar with LindyHop. This is even harder when people won’t be benefiting from the social aspects of the dance.

Instead, you need to really take advantage of the wider global Lindy Hop community.

Just as a beginner audience may be potentially vast, an offer that’s too advanced or specialized has the smallest potential reach. Also keep in mind the restrictiveness of only offering partner classes when many people do not have access to a partner or social community; more solo offerings will likely be advantageous.

According to my search on May 10th in Facebook’s business ads manager, a worldwide audience of people of any gender, ages 18 to 65+ who already show “Lindy Hop” as an interest has the potential to reach 790K people.

That is a much better potential audience to try to reach to build a sustainable business than the few hundred or thousand in your current network.

Understand Your Current Marketing Reach

Remember when the Lindy Hop community relied on message boards? It was actually a much simpler marketing world back then and it was far easier to disseminate news and advertising to the Lindy Hop community than it is now.

We now live in a technologically “connected” but completely dispersed online dance community. Facebook is by far the biggest platform for Lindy Hop but content is decentralized. You only see some of the content from the people and pages in your existing network. I promise you that there are many Lindy Hop circles and groups that you don’t even know about–and you don’t realize how many potential customers you aren’t reaching. Our community is becoming more decentralized all of time because we’re relying on Facebook’s extremely finicky algorithms.

Facebook filters posts at all levels so only a select number of your connections will see your content. The more people who do engage with a piece of content, especially in the form of comments, the more Facebook will show that post. So the more popular your post is, the more popular it will continue to become. Meanwhile, most of your posts aren’t getting in front of enough people in the first place thanks to the filters so it’s very hard to gain the engagement that will help foster more visibility. It’s a conundrum.

Here’s how Facebook really works at all levels:

Facebook Personal Page

You can be connected with up to 5000 friends. The algorithms are less tight than with business pages, but most of those “friends” still won’t see your posts.

Facebook Business Page

There are no limits to how many people can like your page. You need a business page in order to run advertising so having a business page is a must. However, your organic posts will be heavily filtered by the algorithms though you have the option to pay (boost or fully advertise) your posts to reach more people. You should also connect your business page with your Instagram account so you can advertise in both locations. (Make sure your Instagram account has been converted to a business account in the settings.)

Facebook Groups

Groups are designed for community engagement and you’ll have more success with the algorithms in a group than you will on a page. A successful group with a lot of community engagement can be one of the best ways to build community loyalty and to softly push your offers at no cost. You can connect an existing group with your business page or start to build a new group if you don’t already have one. There are still some limitations with groups; group posts can’t be shared outside of the group, and your posts still won’t reach all of your group members, the algorithms are a bit better in groups than on pages. Also, people who aren’t already in your group might have a hard time finding out that your group even exists.

Facebook Events

Your events should always be connected with a Business Page, or sometimes under very limited circumstances with a Group, but only if you’re holding private, limited events. Once people have joined your event, their friends and connections will often see notices in their newsfeed saying “Frankie and Norma are attending X Event” making it a great tool to get the word out about your date-based offerings. The good news is it’s very inexpensive to run advertisements to promote Facebook events. The algorithm for sharing your posts on the event page wall isn’t bad, but still not all of your attendees will see your posts. Still, events are a quite good and cost effective way to get the news out about events. The biggest downside to events is that once the event is over, the Facebook event becomes disabled and you lose the audience you built.

By the way, another algorithm hit that you should be aware of is that Facebook has started to penalize links that take people away from Facebook vs. content that keeps people on Facebook. So if you’re sharing a video from YouTube, it won’t get nearly the reach that the same video would get if you upload it directly to Facebook. The same goes for all external links. That’s another favourable reason to leverage Facebook events in your promotions whenever possible, or to upload your graphic and content directly to Facebook; you won’t be penalized in the algorithms for sending people away from Facebook.

Other Platforms

Instagram

Instagram has grown far more slowly in our Lindy Hop community than in most circles. Maybe because Lindy Hop has been so extremely active on Facebook. But in my opinion, having some sort of Instagram presence will continue to be important in our community. Instagram also experiences algorithm challenges. Posting at a certain time of day is pretty meaningless because your post will be shown to your followers based on Instagram’s own unique algorithms.

On Instagram, you have two ways to reach people. There’s your regular posts (feed) and then there are stories.

a. Instagram Feed

You can create something purely visual and beautiful in your Instagram feed that populates your wall and that can capture something visual about you and your personal/professional brand in a way that Facebook can’t. (On the other hand, Facebook is far better for discussion. So you need both.)

You shouldn’t just share the exact same content on both Instagram and Facebook; in fact, I strongly discourage you from always posting the exact same content to both platforms. Occasionally it’s ok, but not for every post. These platforms are different and need to be handled with a different approach. Otherwise, it could feel like you’re spamming people.

Instagram offers a unique opportunity for you to diversify the way you’re reaching people and to tell a different kind of story.

b. Instagram Stories

Speaking of stories, Instagram stories offer a very unique way for you to let your guard down, show who you really are and what your daily life is like, in a way that today’s social media users are craving. Stories disappear after 24 hours, so you don’t want to put in too much effort into making them perfect. They’re great for getting more personal, candid, silly, or even off topic in a way that will help people get to know you. You might only post photos or videos to your newsfeed a few times a week when it’s something really good and strategic, but you can post to your stories as often as you’d like, even multiple times a day if you get on a roll.

*Please, avoid sharing too many photos to your Instagram newsfeed in a single day unless you have a darned good reason for it. It’s a good way to get unfollowed. Because you can only see one photo or video at a time as you scroll through Instagram, you want to be conscious about not flooding and “hogging” people’s Instagram feeds. Be selective about what goes in your feed and share the rest to stories instead.

TikTok, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc.

Please see my note in Part 1 about TikTok as a potentially untapped opportunity for Lindy Hop. There are other platforms too but they’re mostly a waste of time for your marketing efforts. If you’re very focused on blogging or photography, Pinterest could work for you, but I’m not going to go down those roads.

Google My Business, Google Ads & SEO

Google is exceptionally important for local schools. Anyone keeping their local operations on life support during the pandemic might want to take this opportunity to update their Google My Business account. Google Ads can also be a worthwhile tool for essential seasonal registration like the month of September and throughout the holidays leading into January, but they can get expensive—far more expensive than Facebook & Instagram ads.

SEO is also extremely helpful for local schools. I recommend that every local school has a blog post on their website entitled something like, “So you’re looking for the best swing dance classes in XCityX?” and then goes on to explain all of the benefits of learning Lindy Hop and joining the local community. This blog post should have as many keyword strings that include your city as possible. It’s one of the easiest free ways to get picked up by Google. But there’s a lot more you can do with your local SEO.

SEO is a much longer marketing play and a bigger subject that I won’t get into too much here but I’ll say this. While SEO is important, it’s not something you’ll see a return on soon. As such, I’m not recommending it as a focus for online Lindy Hop businesses right now. You’ll get far more return on your time, energy, and financial investment on paid digital advertising on Facebook and Instagram.

On the other hand, it’s always good to build up your website, which acts as your storefront for your offerings. So having content on your website that people are actively searching for can be optimized to help your overall website traffic and potentially your sales. Here are several blog posts I’ve written about SEO if you’d like to learn more.

Strategic Cross-Posting

The biggest mistake I see from Lindy Hoppers in their current marketing is relying too much on posting either in too few of the above locations OR cross-posting too repetitively. There’s a balance you need to strike, and if you can find the sweet spot, you can make the most of the free opportunities available to us.

What I don’t think works very well at all (though I’ve been known to do it myself for the Frankie Manning Foundation because it’s quick and easy) is just posting the exact same thing in all of the Lindy Hop groups you’re part of and then calling it a day. This isn’t a bad place to get started, but those groups tend to have a lot of the same people in them and it can be a bit of a bombardment to too few people.

What works better is to adjust your messaging and approach to cross- posting. Try to mix things up in both your visual elements, written messaging, and also the timing of your posts so it isn’t repetitive. That way you’ll still be maximizing your free/organic reach as much as possible but it won’t feel so repetitive.

Your Network Needs Reminders

Don’t spam your friends with your promotions on your personal page every day BUT remind your friends reasonably regularly that you’re offering something and that they can learn more about it by joining your group and liking your page. This is a biggie. Slip it into regular conversation so that you aren’t just selling all the time. Mention how you’re excited to be working on something. And definitely mention and even use the @tag to link to your page and group at least once a month, maybe even more often during the pandemic.

I recently noticed that some teachers who I admire had not mentioned their online classes at all on their personal pages. I hadn’t received any notifications from their page so I didn’t know about their offering. Actually, I had already followed their business page a long time ago but I forgot it existed because the algorithm never showed me any of their content. If it hadn’t been for Instagram, I wouldn’t have known about their lessons. So hop onto your personal page once in a while to mention that your other locations (business page, group, Instagram) exist because your friends and followers might not know about them or may have forgotten.

Soft vs. Hard Selling

Your business page is the best place for straight up promotions, but even then you don’t want to only use it for 100% advertising. Check out what I have to say about content marketing further down in this article. Your Facebook event page is also a good place for more direct promotions, ut you can also benefit from mixing in other enticing content.

Your Facebook group should generally be used for a softer sell. The focus should mostly be on conversation, engagement, and a free content (content marketing) to foster a community feeling.

Post to all of your Facebook locations regularly, alongside Instagram, but try to find fresh ways to get your message out into the community. This does take time and energy, but it’s the best free and inexpensive way to reach people, and it can be worth the energy.

Organic Marketing vs. Paid Advertising

I really feel that most Lindy Hoppers are overestimating the reach they think they’re getting with their current organic posting. By a LOT. Look at your combined connections on your Facebook personal page, business page, group, events, and your Instagram account. Now keep in mind that a lot of those people are repeats in several locations. I would guess that even the most popular and well known Lindy Hoppers max out their reach at about 3-7K people tops, and with the algorithms they’re reaching far fewer people. That’s why it’s time to internalize a big lessons:

You need to spend money to make money.

I wish I knew then what I know now… If I had today’s marketing knowledge and tools back when I ran my own dance studio, I might have stayed in business. (Though I still probably wouldn’t have survived the pandemic.)

I know, it’s scary to spend money… especially when you don’t have much! But you have to ask yourself how serious you are about this. Are you just waiting for the economy to fix itself? Or are you going to get serious, put on your business hat, and get down to work?

What if I told you that I usually start A/B testing ads for Lindy Hop audiences with just $25 to $50? Would that be less scary?

Word of Mouth Is Important But Unreliable

Word of mouth is still the most influential and persuasive marketing out there, but you can’t wait for the people you already know to do all the work for you. That’s essentially what you’re doing when you just post your offering on your existing social media platforms.

You can’t just rely on the people who are already in your network. Start differentiating between organic (free) marketing opportunities and paid advertising. The organic marketing potential is better in our Lindy Hop world than in most cases but you still shouldn’t rely on free marketing as your only path to success.

Facebook is still the biggest network in the Lindy Hop community, hands down. And you can’t ignore that. The fact that 790K people have marked Lindy Hop as an interest and that you can reach those people using Facebook and Instagram ads is a massive advantage. Without spending much money, you could reach so many more people than you will in your own personal network. When I run ads for Lindy Hop I start with $25 to $50 in testing. Then, when I see it’s working, I might spend anywhere from $150 and $500 but while I’m doing so, I’m watching the conversions into sales to make sure that every dollar spent is working towards its purpose. The testing allows me to get specific with both about my audience and the ad creative and copy and every step of the way I watch to make sure that I’m getting the desired results for the ads.

Get In Front Of As Many Lindy Hoppers As Possible

The worldwide number of 790K people who show Lindy Hop as an interest in Facebook is a great starting point for your ad targeting. But it’s still important to get more specific. Not all of these people are full-fledged Lindy Hoppers. A lot of them probably took one class or attended one event and the interest ended up in their Facebook profile. However, these are still warmer leads than starting from nowhere, and paid advertising on Facebook and Instagram can help you reach more of the right people at the lowest possible cost.

By the way, Facebook owns Instagram and you can syndicate your ads to go to both Instagram and Facebook, which will help you leverage the biggest potential Lindy Hop audience online in the world today.

Be specific about your audience. What are you offering and who is it best suited for? If you’re offering air steps, consider limiting the age range and adjusting the fitness levels in your targeting. If you’re offering a course on swivels and follower styling, take that into consideration in your targeting. And if you’re offering live events that take place in a certain time zone, target people who would be awake and available to enjoy what you’re producing.

Don’t Just Boost; Use Business.Facebook.com for Advertising

My biggest piece of advice when it comes to ads is NOT to hit the “boost now” button on your posts. It’s a waste of money with limited targeting and reach. Instead, run your ads by creating an account at business.facebook.com. I can’t tell you how many people ignore this advice and then later question their advertising results. They think they’re in the ads manager but they’re getting the watered-down version of the capabilities, not the full dashboard.

Facebook made this really confusing but trust me on this. It doesn’t matter if you’ve run ads before. Go right now to http://business.facebook.com/ and set up your free account. Once you’re in there, connect your page and use the ads manager inside of there, not from your personal page, to access all of the tools. This will make a huge difference on what you’re able to accomplish with your ads! You’ll be able to go to the Ads Manager and access all of the most powerful tools — https://business.facebook.com/adsmanager/

I can’t get into every specific instruction here about how to set up and run the most powerful ads for the least amount of money, this will turn into a novel. But using the proper business and ads manager will give you a massive edge and you’ll be able to get a much better return on your investment for your ads. You can learn more about the power of running successful Facebook & Instagram ads in this article I wrote.

One of the great things that’s great about running these ads is that even if people don’t “buy” your offer right away, if they like your ad you’ll have the opportunity to invite them to follow your business page. This will help you stay in touch with them for future ads. And even better, if you’ve installed the Facebook pixel and they’ve visited your website, you can retarget them with follow up ads.

Marketing vs. Advertising

I’ve been reminded in the Swing Dance School/Studio Owners Managers And Board Members group that I should add a note to differentiate between the greater idea of marketing and mores specifically sales and promotions, which I’ll call advertising. These days, marketing refers to a much wider content marketing approach. More detail on content marketing below. But most of your marketing shouldn’t be a “buy” message, it should be sharing of brand-building and value-add content. Here’s a breakdown I borrowed from my agency blog –

Content Marketing in Lindy Hop

Being well known and having a lot of followers isn’t enough. You need to stay in front of people within our global Lindy Hop community, and the best way to do that is with content marketing. Content marketing is about telling stories to get people interested in you, your brand, and your offering. It’s different from advertising, which is specifically trying to sell. Content marketing is giving away value for free in order to build trust.

People want to know and trust your brand before they buy from you. They desire storytelling that connects you with them on a very personal level. Lindy Hoppers want to know that you value them and that when they invest in your product, they’re investing in YOU in a way that will make a difference. When your potential customers feel a positive emotional and psychological connection with your brand, you can establish the trust that they’re craving that will allow them to spend their money with confidence.

These feelings are complex, especially because they’re not usually conscious.

When you give away value on an educational, entertaining, and personal level (like we talked about in part 1 with your offering) you’ll earn more brand familiarity and trust. Once you’ve built that trust, that’s when sales can be made.

On the one hand, you need to give away certain value for free as part of your content marketing. But not too much, since you’re also trying to make a living.

This is where social media, especially the time you give to managing your Facebook group and creating content for your Instagram and possibly TikTok, are a slippery slope. Because you can go down a serious rabbit hole where you’re creating loads of time-consuming content without seeing a monetary return on that investment.

Be Clear About How Your Free Content Is Driving Monetization

For a little while I was working with a yoga and nutrition lady to build her personal brand. She was pouring so much time and energy into creating content for social media in the form of videos and recipes. The problem was, it didn’t matter how many followers she had and how recognizable her name was in yoga and nutrition circles if she wasn’t making any money.

Essentially, she had seen some of the big yoga and nutrition people on social media with tens of thousands and followers and wanted to be like them. But she wasn’t clear about how she could make any money in the process.

The yoga lady had very few money-making offerings and they were not enough to justify the amount of time and effort, not to mention money, she was putting into her social media. I stopped working with her so she could move on to figure out how to create sustainable monetized solutions.

Digression: The Lindy Hop world has not really leveraged the influencer model very well, but I do see potential there at some point. If you can get big enough as an influencer on social media, you can get more than free stuff. Influential people within their niche can be paid to give reviews and talk about commodities on social media. But I don’t think we’re really there right now.

Your Efforts Must Generate Real Income

Is it a Hobby or a Business? 

All this is to caution you against putting too much time into content that you aren’t monetizing into meaningful dollars. You need to use your talent, time, and content to support your monetized offerings. Gaining visibility and building your brand is important to build relationships and awareness for your brand and offering. Giving some things away for free can definitely help build goodwill in the community and towards your brand. And just selling all the time can sour how people perceive you. Some generosity with your content is beneficial, but there’s a line you need to keep an eye on.

Whether you’re making cool videos, sharing fun personal stories, writing blog posts, or creating free content in other ways, ultimately, you need to figure out how that’s leading to your financial sustainability.

When you share a blog post you wrote on Facebook that drives people to your website, you can softly remind people about your offer in your article. Or include it in your sidebar where they’ll see it while reading the free content. Follow up with your website visitors who have watched your free videos or read your free content by using the Facebook pixel to target them with ads for your paid offer.

Instagram is challenging because you only get one link—in your bio. You can set up a free LinkTree account to provide multiple link options to remind people about in your bio. One of the advantages of building your Instagram following is that when you reach more than 10K followers, you get access to the “swipe up” feature that lets you drive people to your url of choice.

Content marketing is great because it helps you to sell without being too salesy. It should always be a soft, gentle reinforcement of your offer. But that monetized offer needs to be firmly in place. The whole point of the free content is that it should be adding value and building your visibility to support your financial gain.

Flying Home

If you find yourself spending a lot of time making content or giving away your time in other ways and you’re not generating enough money, you need to get real with yourself. Are you creating amazing lessons that only a few people are buying? Are you hosting live events without any monetary return? Where’s the money?

Before you go any further with your endeavour, please check yourself. Is this a business or a hobby? Give yourself a bit of time to test out the desirability of your offer, your monetization, and full extent of the marketing capabilities that are available to you. But don’t spin your wheels for too long before seeing a return on your time and resource investments. You need to start making some serious money ASAP for this to work, and if it’s not working, it might be time for a different plan.

There are so many Lindy Hoppers struggling to create an online business right now. I know that your path is going to be hard. But our community and the world around us *is* changing. do believe there are new opportunities out there. I hope you’ll figure it out and make it work and I wish you every success.

Online Business & Marketing for Lindy Hoppers – Part 1

Several months ago I was asked to write a blog about marketing for Lindy Hoppers. At the time, the idea was to write about marketing tips for local schools to grow. Being busy running my own marketing agency and taking care of my clients, I never got around to it.

Since then, marketing for Lindy Hop has taken on completely different implications. Now people in every stage of “professional” Lindy Hop, from the most established international instructors to the smallest local schools, are struggling to move online and stay alive.

Shout out to Daniel Newsome for his post, How to teach dancing online (and make money doing it), which inspired me to hit the keyboard today.

Personal & Professional note –

Before digging into this topic, I just want to say that many people know me from my role as a board member for the Frankie Manning Foundation. Please keep in mind that the Foundation is not an example of my marketing knowledge. As a volunteer organization, I have only been able to put in the smallest fraction of effort towards the Foundation’s marketing. I wish I could find time to give FMF the marketing attention it deserves, but running an agency and focusing on the work that gives me an income has to come first. That’s a hard lesson I learned after closing my own dance studio in Toronto because I was giving all of my energy to running Frankie 100 in a full-time, 100% volunteer role for over a year.

On the subject of Self Promotion in Lindy Hop –

Let’s be honest. For many years, it felt “non-Lindy-Hop-ish” to promote yourself too much. It was ok to promote your local dance school in the name of spreading Lindy Hop, but self promotion on a wider level somehow felt icky. We all tried to be so humble and the few outliers who did promote themselves kind of ended up looking tacky. I’m saying that honestly. I think we can all safely agree now that the days of Lindy Hoppers being shy about self promotion are over. Now we are finally at a crossroads: for this dance to survive, our community’s talent needs and deserves proper remuneration. That includes Lindy Hop professionals in all forms including teachers, organizers, administrators, and musicians.

Now down to business.

Running an Online Business: Questions

There are three essential questions to running a successful online business:

  1. What are you offering?
  2. How are you monetizing it?
  3. How are you marketing it?

Your marketing is as important as your offer. It doesn’t matter how talented you are. If people don’t know about it, you aren’t going to make enough money and you’re going to fail.

1. Your Offer, aka. Your Value Proposition

What value can you offer in exchange for money? What sets you apart and what benefits can you offer? Dance lessons don’t have to be the only part of your value proposition. The market has been flooded with online lessons since the start of the pandemic. That’s given the few companies that were already online, like iLindy.com, a massive edge. Kevin and Jo already had over 1000 videos online at iLindy before the pandemic started while other teachers were left scrambling to put up their first video.

With a flooded market, you need to augment your offering in as many ways as possible to shape your unique value proposition. Considerations:

  • Education value – What else can you offer besides the mechanics of Lindy Hop? Consider the value of sharing your dance philosophy, dance history, and more. You have knowledge to share. Think creatively about this.
  • Entertainment value – As Lindy Hoppers, we’re pretty fun people! The visual nature of the dance offers huge potential, but depending on your skills and personality, you could find more ways to increase your entertainment value. This will really augment any education you’re offering.
  • Personal connection value – It’s time to leverage the fact that you’re a “person of interest” in either your local community or in the greater global community. Don’t shy away from personal branding.

Education Value

I think there’s a lot more opportunity for education value surrounding Lindy Hop than has really been explored yet. There are thousands of people all over the world who are passionate about Lindy Hop. Probably hundreds of thousands. (Nobody has a clear number about Lindy Hoppers globally and I do want to spearhead a Lindy Hop census through the Frankie Manning Foundation but that’s another topic.)

But most of those people just * don’t* want to take online dance lessons. Many people just don’t have the drive or interest to take lessons at home. But that’s ok, there is so much more potential to be explored.

So what else can you offer? As one example, when the pandemic hit I had a chat with Daniel and Åsa Heedman about offering some online dance philosophy talks. I thought this approach would be great for them, both because I know it’s a topic they are passionate about, and also because I would personally be interested in this subject. It looks like they recently started this and I hope it’s successful. I think it’s great to diversify your offerings, even if you’re also teaching lessons.

Entertainment Value

Incidentally, I put artistic value in with entertainment. Your entertainment value could come in a lot of different forms, especially if you’re sharing lots of inspiring dance videos, including rehearsals, experimentation, and ideas. (Someone who shares wonderful, inspiring videos is Ramona Staffeld!)

If you’re funny, leverage that. Or if you are [or can learn to be] good on camera, that’s gold. Don’t be shy. Try it out This will add so much to any educational value you’re offering.

There’s an amazing case study to look at for entertainment value and that’s Live.Collegiate.Shag. They aren’t focused on Lindy Hop—though they do slip it in—but they’re definitely part of the greater Lindy Hop community and they are killing it! When it comes to leveraging social media for your brand, they’re hands down the most digitally successful swing dancers. Every week on Mondays they share a new dance video. Their videos are short, fun, and several have gone viral.

Live.Collegiate.Shag has got over 47.1K followers on Instagram and 101.9K followers on TikTok. To my knowledge, no other swing dancers have come close to those numbers. Few Lindy Hop brands have even broken 10K on Instagram. The next biggest looks to be Ksenia with 22.7K followers, then iLindy with 10.7K, then Pamela with 10.4K. (Please let me know if I’m missing anyone with a big following, as a marketer I find this stuff really interesting.)

Speaking of TikTok, it’s not my personal favourite platform by any means, for months I’ve been wishing it would dry up in importance the same way that Snapchat has mostly fallen out of marketing conversations. But the pandemic has fueled TikTok’s popularity. And by the way, if you haven’t checked it out yet, one of the biggest trends on TikTok is dancing! Yet Lindy Hop has hardly been tapped on there. Just be careful that you don’t go down a rabbit hole making content that you can’t monetize.

Live.Collegiate.Shag is primarily offering entertainment value and I’m defining their success in terms of #1 – offering consistently fun and entertaining dance content, and #3 – getting in front of the most eyes possible on a regular basis. When it comes to building a dance brand online, they have knocked it out of the ballpark. However, I really haven’t got a clear idea of how they’re monetizing their success. I know they get some free merch and they probably have some viral videos that they make a bit of money on, but I’m not sure what else they’re doing for consistent income.

Personal Value

Both your entertainment and education value definitely tie in with your personal connection value. Particularly for the international dancers who are well known in the community, do not underestimate the attractiveness and therefore value of people feeling personally connected with you. You are unique and your unique dance style and personality have helped you get this far. If you put yourself out there, it could be what saves you while the dance economy sorts itself out. The same thing goes for local community teachers and how you interact and market yourself within your smaller niche community.

Note to Dance Administrators

These examples focus on dance instructors, but I don’t want to ignore dance organizers. Though I was also a dance instructor, I have been more unique and skilled within the dance community as an organizer and administrator. If you’re a dance administrator on any kind of level, believe me; you have skills that offer value. The dance community has had a very hard time appreciating and also remunerating administrators. Most of this work is either unpaid or extremely underpaid. But you are the people who make it happen and you have skills!

I used my 15 years of experience running a dance school and organizing events to transition to running a successful marketing business. Take a good look at your skills and you’ll find more doors available to you than you may realize.

Delivery Methods: How Will You Deliver Your Product?

The other part to work out with your online offering is the delivery method. How are you delivering your product and how are people consuming and paying? Are you streaming? Is it a download? Is it live and interactive? Are you offering a subscription or a one-time purchase? How are people paying and conducting transactions?

You need to make your delivery both easy and also exciting and attractive to people. Whether that’s watching a pre-recorded video or interacting in group discussions or some other format, I think the options still needs to be explored. Especially for something like a philosophy talk which hasn’t been tried and tested the same way as online dance lessons. I’m not sure what the right format will be to maximize the interest and success.

I think that many of the teachers I’ve seen so far are underestimating the power of personal connection and interactive experiences. There are smart ways to scale interactive experiences to still make good money for your time investment.

Recap

So for everyone, figure out what you can offer. Figure out the best way to deliver it. And make sure it’s something that can actually make you some money.

What can you offer that’s enticing, what easy and inviting method can you use to deliver it, and are you offering value that people will actually want to pay for?

2. Monetizing Your Offer

At the end of the day, if you aren’t making any money you better be having a damn good time, or believe passionately in what you’re doing, because otherwise you’re expending a heck of a lot of energy without putting any food on the table. This has always been a problem for us in Lindy Hop well before the pandemic. It certainly was for me. And it could be an even bigger problem now.

You need an irresistible offer that people actually want to pay for. Do not underestimate the problem of partner dancing in a virtual format. Especially during the time of Covid-19. Just offering partner dancing online is extremely challenging; people don’t have partners, they’re alone, they’re lonely, they’re not motivated on their own. This is a period when Solo Jazz and spin offs related to solo work, whether it’s fitness, drills, exercises, routines, rhythm, and style could potentially be better received than partner dancing.

Remember, you need to make it clear and easy way for people to “sign up” and pay. These days people do not want to have to email you and arrange private payments. You’ll never know how many clients you lose because your system is unclear or cumbersome. People want an easy sign up method that uses their credit card or Paypal in just a few clicks; the less work they have to do and the more clear the user experience, the more money you can make.

Think about what you should charge. While you shouldn’t undervalue your offering, be careful about charging too much too. This is a tough time economically for everyone and a lot of people are going to have less disposable income. If you’ve got a scalable offer that isn’t directly a one-on-one use of your time, consider that a slightly lower price could bring in more people.

Scale your offering. Compare the work/time/energy/talent that goes into making your product vs. the amount of monetary return you’ll get from that offering.

One of the best options in any online business is to generate recurring monthly revenue rather than relying on one-off sales. This is one of the reason I coach new and aspiring online entrepreneurs to steer away from one-off projects like building websites and instead find ways to create ongoing monthly packages, like monthly marketing packages. Rather than just thinking about promoting single, individual classes, consider selling access to an entire series or better yet, a monthly membership.

Patreon has grown in popularity since Covid-19 and seems to be a reasonably straightforward way for many dancers and artists to secure recurring monthly income. If you’re feeling more ambitious, you can set up a subscription service through your website, but you should have enough content to justify that investment. The nice thing about a service like Patreon is that it takes care of this for you. It also helps people to understand that they’re contributing to you on an ongoing basis as an artist, rather than just buying a single commodity. Just keep in mind that this service suggests that you’re being patronized by supporters for your work and is a less of a formalized “business” setup, so it depends on the nature of your offer and what you’re trying to achieve.

If you’re offering one-off online events or classes, you could also use a ticketing system. At the time I’m writing this, there’s a deal on AppSumo for a ticketing system I use and recommend called EventsFrame. This is an amazing lifetime deal for $49USD that offers NO FEES ON TICKETS. I picked it up last time it was available and it’s a steal. These deals expire so if it’s available when you read this, act fast.

3. Marketing is Everything

This is already getting to be a really long article and I haven’t even gotten to the biggest part yet, the actual marketing. So as I reach this point, I’ve decided to split this into a 2-Part post.

In the meantime, if you’re itching to get a head start, feel free to check out my business marketing blog.

Part 2 continued HERE

Lindy Hop music *needs* drums

I posted this in a Toronto discussion after hearing a new band play at our Saturday dance in Toronto.

***

POSTED ON MONDAY, JANUARY 6th – 

I enjoyed hearing the new band on Saturday. They are very good and my following comment is not a reflection at all on the quality of the band…

But we *need* to have drums.

In Lindy Hop, you need to be dancing based primarily on the rhythm section and bass alone is not enough. At minimum you need bass and drums and piano is also considered part of the rhythm section even though the piano jumps between the melody and the rhythm. It’s even better to also have rhythm guitar when it’s a bigger band. But at minimum you need drums and bass.

For an occasional themed event, not having a drummer can work as a novelty, but there’s a real danger to getting in the habit of dancing to music that isn’t primarily based in the rhythm section.

We had this problem in the early 2000s and the dancing all turned into what became known as “wiggly hop” where we started to dance so much in the melody that we lost the rhythm section and the dance morphed into something else.

>>>Great band. I hope they’ll be booked again, but next time with a drummer.

***

ADDITIONAL COMMENT:

I had the privilege of helping out with a musicality class with Lennart Westerlund. I wish there was a recording of Lennart Westerlund talking about the rhythm section but you can see when it zooms in on the board what I’m getting at. And at its core, it’s critical that Lindy Hop is based on the rhythm section first and then “decorates” with the melodic instruments. Otherwise, the dance changes –

In case you missed the music lesson and you find his chart boring and hard to read, here is Lennart walking us though Flying Home’s musical structure. Edit: if FB muted the clip for you, just play your own Flying Home by Lionel Hampton and follow along! Interactive post!

Posted by Sing Yuen Lim on Sunday, March 17, 2019

AND A QUICK SCREEN GRAB:

Bryan Vandenberg reminded me of this terrific video, and has also voiced his rightfully strong opinion that rhythm guitar, in addition to drums, is a key foundation to swinging music. Note Wynton Marsallis, “The drummer provides the shuffle that is the foundation of the rhythm of swing.”

 

Wishing whoever reads this some extra rhythm-based Lindy Hop this week!

~Mandi

Roaring Twenties Events

For years we thought about how in 2020 it would be 100 years since the 1920s and that we would need to plan a big party. Well now the return of the ’20s is imminent and I’m doing just that! I’m the organizer of Roaring Twenties Events in Toronto and I couldn’t be more excited!

You can learn all about what I’m doing at roaringtwentiesevents.com

Get ready to party like the 1920s in the 2020s!

SATURDAY, JANUARY 18, 2020 – JOIN THE FACEBOOK EVENT:

The first event will be Saturday, January 18th, 2020 with the celebratory theme: Welcome to the ’20s! Think of it as a second new year’s eve bash; a jubilant spree to kick off the new decade. Click here for tickets!

And for any dancers in other cities who might like to do a similar event, I’ve already invested a lot in all the branding and would be happy to duplicate it for other cities if anyone would like a running start to throw their own 1920’s event.

 

 

 

Swedes in New York City

Somehow I didn’t get around to doing any kind of recap of Swedes in New York City here. I was just too busy!

The event has come and gone. It was a lot of work but very rewarding. Being able to connect students with some of my very favourite dancers in the whole world is so gratifying. The fact that the event also coincided with Norma Miller’s funeral was unexpected, emotional, but also cathartic.

This is my personal thank you message from the Swedes in New York City website:

It feels strange to write the usual thank you note about what we just did in New York City.

When we lost Norma Miller, everything changed.

All of the other stuff that happened the last few days was very nice but I would rather keep the emphasis on Norma and her legacy.

10 years ago we lost Frankie Manning and now we’ve buried Norma Miller just a short distance away. The parallels are uncanny. Now the “World Lindy Hop Day” title that we established 5 years ago on Frankie Manning’s birthday takes on new meaning.

Norma was an amazing woman and a part of our history. We will never forget her.

But it’s important to say some thank yous so here they are on a high level:

Mickey Davidson, John Biffar, Cynthia BrownLisa JacobsDaphna HarelKrister ShalmBarbara Bronx & The Harlem Swing Dance SocietyPaolo Pasta Lanna & Spencer Weisbond & Swing ReMixJulia LovingRonald Jones and swingwithusnyc.comChris LeeJennifer HempelChachi,Jocelyn Hassenfeld & family, Cynthia MillmanLana TurnerBuddy StevesElliott DonnelleyJeff Liu-LeycoAmy WinnJudy Pritchett, Daniel Heedman, Lennart Westerlund, Ewa BurakÅsa HeedmanMimmi Gunnarsson BringlövFredrik DahlbergDenise Minns-HarrisSandra SchulzCameron & Larry Schulz, Paul Grecki, Margaret Batiuchok, Zita Allen, Sing Yuen LimChazz Young & Michellene Young, Olivia and Jill at Lincoln Center…

…and most importantly Norma, Al Minns, and Frankie for giving us all purpose.

 

Panel: The Pivotal Role of Al Minns on Modern Day Lindy Hop

In partnership with Lincoln Center

Friday Teacher Introduction

Saturday Performance

Sunday Tribute to Frankie Manning

Videos of the panels coming soon…


**Norma Miller honored throughout the weekend**

For information about Norma Miller’s viewing, burial, and celebration of life on Friday, May 24th, click here

 

Dance Organizers & Gero Hajek

I’ve been thinking a lot about community organizers since Gero Hajek passed away.

In the dance community (and I’m sure in most communities) organizing is a labour of love. It’s not “thankless” but the level of thanks that you receive is never equal to the amount of work that you put into it. And that’s ok because people who organize are rarely motivated by that kind of attention. It’s not about being thanked. It’s about the deep satisfaction you get from creating something beautiful for other people to experience.

When you’re an organizer, you don’t experience events in the same way. To one degree or another, there’s always some level of pressure on you. You absorb that stress and you carry it with you out of love for the community and for creating magic for other people.

Every individual dancer in the community benefits from the work and the pressure that a small handful of organizers are shouldering. When you experience joy on the dance floor, someone has fostered the circumstances that have allowed you to experience that pleasure.

In Toronto, whether you’re a newer dancer or you’ve been around for a very long time, you are benefitting from work and love that a wonderful man named Gero Hajek put into dancing in this city.

What I’m trying to say is that in Toronto, we are all part of Gero Hajek’s legacy.

Thank you Gero.


February 14th, 2019

It’s with a heavy heart that I share the news that Gero Hajek, longtime president of the Toronto Swing Dance Society, passed away on February 8th.