The Top 3 Ways To Survive and Thrive In The New, Post COVID-19 Dance Industry
By Ashani Mfuko
The dance industry has been hit hard since the COVID-19 pandemic stay-at-home orders, and quarantine were put in place. To sit back and watch the shut down of every live performance, dance class, dance competition, tour, and live production, in real-time, was devastating!
The past 5 months are unprecedented, and unlike anything we’ve ever seen or experienced in the history of the dance industry. To say it’s been hard, would be a gross understatement.
Frankly, dancers (and dance teachers, choreographers, dance studio owners, etc.) do hard really well. Hard pretty much sums up your entire professional career as a dance artist, am I right?
This is different.
Never before has the dance industry been forced to almost completely shut down. No Broadway, no cruise ships, no Disney, no nothin’!
The devastation has been real!
But you know what else has been real?
The resilience, tenacity, and determination of dancers, dance teachers, choreographers, dance business owners, and dance studio owners like you, to keep our art form going, even in the midst of a pandemic, civil unrest, and the inability to conduct “business as usual,” for months on end…
And we’re not out of the woods yet, even as states continue to re-open, phase by phase.
I’ve watched the abrupt transition of almost every dance studio, dance business, dance company, and dance organization shift to a predominantly virtual/online platform; some gracefully, others reluctantly, and one thing has been consistent:
You refuse to give up!
Even when you didn’t know how or when you would be able to get back into the dance studio, you didn’t give up.
Even when you lost dance students, you didn’t give up.
Even when your paycheck took a hit, you kept going.
Even though depression, frustration, disappointment, sickness, death, and uncertainty, here you are.
I commend you!
It’s that spirit of persistence, and that spirit of commitment to share your passion and gift with the world, so that you may transform the lives of others, that has allowed you to have the success that you’ve had up until this point in your career.
You are a warrior.
You will not lose.
You will get through this.
Although the reality may be that your dance career or dance business looks different right now, remember this…
“Different" is not "dead!"
Are you ready to shift your mindset, from a lack mindset, to an abundance mindset, and embrace this new normal, as dance artists and dance entrepreneurs, and slay the crap out of it?
I was hoping you would say that!
Here Are The Top 3 Ways To Survive and Thrive In The New, Post COVID-19 Dance Industry:
Stop Looking Back. The dance world as we once knew it, is no longer. You need to accept and embrace that. Take time to mourn its loss, just like you would mourn the loss of a loved one, or the end of a long relationship. Then, start doing the work to heal and move forward. We will never go back to things exactly as they once were, and we shouldn’t want to. Our lives, and our world is ever-evolving and changing. The skill of adaptability is like a muscle that you constantly have to work out, in order to keep it strong. Flex your adaptability muscles right now, and embrace the present (even with its seemingly insurmountable challenges), while looking forward to an even better future for the dance industry.
The dance world as we once knew it, is no longer. But just because it’s different now, doesn’t mean it’s dead. There is hope for a better future for the dance community!
Learn How To Pivot Beyond What’s Obvious. Most everyone took their dance classes online to Zoom, once the pandemic hit, and stay-at-home orders were put in place. That was an obvious shift to make. Cool. But what about the opportunities that are in front of you right now, that may not seem so obvious? What if you started doing something that other dance artists, and dance studios are NOT doing? Have you considered hosting virtual events, live webinars, selling digital products, doing affiliate marketing, creating and selling online courses, drop shipping, or offering live, online dance classes to specific groups of non-dancer communities, or companies (Eg: corporate employees who are newly working from home, and can no longer work out at the gym before or after work, like they used to)? Have you considered leveraging your non-dance, transferable skills, to start a new business or a side hustle? Have you invested in coaching, and gaining new skills or strategies, that will give you a significant return on investment? You have to take this current, unique opportunity, and maximize ALL of your skills, abilities, ideas, and resources (along with technology, and social media), so that you can flourish during this time, and not just "get by”.
What if you started doing something that other dance artists, and dance studios are NOT doing?
Start Thinking Long-Term, Stop Thinking Short-Term. To me, short term thinking says things like, “I’ll start teaching dance classes online, and just charge $7 per/class (because that’s what I see everyone else charging), have people e-mail my Gmail account to sign up, and pay me through Venmo, or CashApp”. Long-term thinking says, “I have to treat my dance brand like a business so that people will respect me, take me seriously, and value what I have to offer. Therefore, I will take the time to set up class registration, and online payments, through my website, using PayPal or Stripe, and create a separate business entity (like an LLC), to ensure that my business and brand are protected. I will also be sure to offer dance class/dance coaching packages, and subscription options, to help me build more sustainability for my business.” Short-term thinking tells you that you better stick with what you’ve been doing, and charge as little as possible if you want to survive (also known as a Lack Mindset). Long-term thinking tells you that you have the ability to pivot, and gracefully shift into new opportunities, and territory, because you are smart, talented, and multi-faceted, as an artist and entrepreneur. Long-term thinking for the win.
Long-term thinking is led by strategy, not fear.
BONUS TIP: Take advantage of ALL of the incredible resources that are being offered to dance artists and dance studio owners right now, like the “For The Love of Dance Challenge”! What an amazing opportunity it is, to give back to the dance studios who help to keep the dance industry alive!
Learn more about the “For The Love of Dance Challenge”, donate, and spread the word, by clicking HERE.
Now I want to hear from you!
What have you done, and what are you committed to doing, to ensure that you can start thriving during this time of crisis, and maintain your hope for a better future for the dance community?
Post a comment below and let me know!
Let’s continue to support and uplift one another. The dance community is one of the most resilient, and incredible arts communities to be apart of! I’m proud to stand side-by-side with you, and remind you that you WILL get through this, and come out even better, on the other side!
Please share this post, and let’s continue to give dancers, dance teachers, and dance studio owners worldwide, a sense of hope.
FREE RESOURCE: Download "The Dance Artist’s Guide To Surviving A Crisis: 5 Steps To Build Your Own Survival Contingency Plan” right here! http://bit.ly/DanceArtistSurvivalGuide
Ashani Mfuko (formerly known as “The Money-Making Business Strategist for The Dance Industry”), helps small business owners, artists, entrepreneurs, and global corporations build a more powerful and profitable online brand, that celebrates diversity, values inclusion and equity, and attracts your ideal customers online, and in real life! As a professional dancer, dance teacher, and dance business strategist, for almost 20 years, Ashani has consulted with some of the top brands in the dance industry, including; Capezio, Camille A. Brown & Dancers, The Joffrey Ballet School, and Bloch Dancer (to name a few). She brings a no-nonsense, expert-level approach to all things digital marketing, online branding, and social media monetization. Ashani is also the Founder of several online educational training programs including; Finance Your Dance Academy, Anti-Racism School Is In Session™, The Dance Income Accelerator, and Virtual Dance Teacher Training Academy. Learn more about Ashani’s online programs, and consulting services on her website, https://ashanimfuko.com.
Photo credits: Mission 101 Media
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