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How We Used Email To Sell Out An Intermediate Dance Workshop 2 Weeks In Advance

Free , Organizing Tips , Teaching Tips

Let's look at how we helped Boris use email to sell out his intermediate dance workshop 2 weeks in advance.

I've put on lots of dance workshops and I've never had one sell out. The very first workshop that I organized with Andrew's help sold out 2 weeks before the workshop! It is so nice to know that the workshop will be filled well beforehand instead of worrying if people will show up or not on the day of the event. If you get the chance to work with Andrew, do it!

Boris Naumann

Lindy Hop Teacher, Germany

Btw, he also sold $3,715.00 in dance lessons (3,300.00€) from this 2-hour workshop (read to the end of this post for details on that)!

Below are two of the key steps we took to help him sell out the workshop.

The 2 Key Steps We Took

1.

We separated his contacts into 3 groups:

Group A = All contacts that have NOT requested information about the workshop

Group B = All contacts that HAVE requested information but have NOT purchased the workshop yet

Group C = All contacts that have purchased the workshop

Warning! Avoid This Mistake

Many people make the mistake of sending the same emails to ALL of their contacts. There are two main problems with this approach:


  1. If you send too many emails, you will likely annoy people who aren’t interested in this specific workshop. This causes unsubscribes, spam complaints, and upset customers.
  2. If you send too few emails, you likely won’t get many signups.

To solve this, let's look at step 2...

2.

We sent different emails to each group based on their current interest level:


Group A = These emails are designed to inspire them to request more information about the workshop...NOT to try and sell the workshop! Once they request more information (by clicking a link in an email), we then put them in Group B.

Key Takeaway - Get Permission!

Trying to sell a workshop to people who have not expressed interest is jumping the gun. Get their permission first!

Btw, ActiveCampaign can automate this process for you (FYI: that is an affiliate link).


Group B = These emails are designed to inspire them to purchase the workshop. Once they've purchased the workshop, we move them to Group C. 

Key Takeaway - Send More To Those Who Want More!

Since this group has requested more information about the workshop, you can now confidently send them more emails without annoying them.

Again, ActiveCampaign can automate this process for you.


Group C = These emails are designed to excite them for the workshop they just purchased & inspire them to bring a friend.

Key Takeaway - Excite & Inspire Your Attendees

Now that they have committed to attending, they are much more likely to tell others about the workshop, especially if you get them excited about it and give them a little encouragement. 

Separation = Relevance = Happy Contacts

By separating your contacts into these groups, you can tailor your messages to them based on their current desires, instead of spamming everyone with messages that aren’t relevant for most of them.

This means you no longer have to choose between annoying people with loads of emails or having low attendance in your workshops.

Smart Tip: Spread Out The Details

In all the groups above, don't tell them everything in the first email and then just keep sending them the same information in future emails. 


Spread out the workshop details amongst multiple emails. One email can have the basic date, time &/or location, another can share the main goal of the workshop, you can explain the details of one class in more depth, or even give them some sneak peeks of what they will learn. Think of it like a movie launch and use the emails to build excitement for your workshop.

Let Software Do The Hard Work 

If you want software that automates this entire process so all you have to do is write the emails, there are plenty of options to choose from.

Here are a few we've used:

We have tried all of these and we highly recommend ActiveCampaign. It is our absolute favorite CRM for startups that don’t want to invest several hundred dollars a month (as it costs as little as $9/month). 

ActiveCampaign Website Homepage

Plus, it is just as powerful (maybe even more powerful) than many of the more expensive CRMs.

Want More Help?

If you want help creating all the emails so you can be confident you are using a proven strategy to sell out your next workshop, or you want help making sure your email system is setup to automatically send each email to the correct people at the correct times so you can set it and forget it, book a 15 minute Discovery Call with Andrew Sutton to learn how we might be able to help you.

Selling $3,715.00 In Dance Lessons From A 2-Hour Workshop

Lastly, how did Boris sell $3,715.00 of dance lessons from a single 2-hour workshop?

​...I just sold two programs for a total of 7.260€ and the process Andrew teaches to learn how to do this was very clear and simple to do.

Boris Naumann

Lindy Hop Teacher, Germany

He followed our Premium Dance Strategy. To learn more, register for our Premium Dance Strategy Webinar here.

Sharing is Caring!

How NOT to determine your pricing as a dance instructor

Free , Organizing Tips , Teaching Tips

How NOT to determine your pricing as a dance instructor

Avoid this all-too-common method that is often a recipe for disaster

How do you decide how much to charge when teaching dance?

There are several great ideas to help you decide your pricing, which I’ll be covering on this free webinar.

Plus, if you read to the end of this post, you’ll discover a simple question that can allow you to increase your pricing quite drastically (if you get good at answering it).

Now first…

Let me warn you about an all-too-common method to determine your pricing that is often a recipe for disaster (and why).

Unfortunately, this happens to be the main method many dance instructors use, and it is reinforcing the stereotype that to teach dance for a living, you have to be willing to sacrifice on the financial side (unless you end up being one of the best of the best, in which case you can make a decent living).

Ok, drum roll please…

The method NOT to use is deciding your price based on what other dance instructors charge.

While this might seem like a good idea, most often, it is not.

Why is this most likely a recipe for disaster?

  1. First, you don’t know why the other instructor chose that pricing. If they have different goals than you do, their pricing might make sense for them (and their students) and not for you (and your students).
    .
  2. Second, you don’t know if the other instructor has a solid business plan. There is a very strong chance (probably over 95%) they just chose their price because of what someone else was charging, and that is often a recipe for disaster.
     .

This is what I call the “hope and pray” method. You just choose a price without a solid basis for choosing it, then hope and pray it will work. Please don’t do that. Dance instructors all over the world have already proven that it doesn’t work.

By the way, if you’ve already done this, don’t beat yourself up. At first glance, this seems like a reasonable method to use and most other instructors have done it too. That said, it’s time to make a major change.

If you want to learn “how to determine your pricing” – I’ll be sharing my recommendations on that, and much more, on my upcoming webinar “Dance Instructors: Going Premium” – How To Make A Bigger Impact Without Working So Damn Hard.

The webinar is Monday, June 25th at 2pm (California time).

To Register For This Webinar, Click Here.

See you Monday!

~Andrew

P.S. Here is a great experiment:

Spend 5 minutes brainstorming, “What would it take to add a zero to my prices and still have people feeling like I was offering them amazing value?” That means if you charge $1,000 for a workshop, brainstorm $10,000. If you charge $100 for a private lesson, brainstorm $1,000. Feel free to share any brainstorm ideas that would add even a small bump to your value in the webinar.

Dance Instructors: How To Ethically Eliminate Your Competition Without Destroying The Dance Scene

Free , Organizing Tips , Teaching Tips

Dance Instructors:

How To Ethically Eliminate Your Competition Without Destroying The Dance Scene

So you want more students, right?

But you also don’t want to destroy your dance scene, right?

Unfortunately, many dance instructors tend to make a few “mistakes” that end up dividing (and occasionally even destroying) the local dance scene.

Luckily, there is a way to get more students, that can completely eliminate your competition (in 99% of dance scenes)…

AND…

It will not only avoid destroying or dividing your dance scene, but it will grow and strengthen it…

…AND the other local instructors will love you for it!

Before we get into what that method is, let’s look at how a lot of dance instructors currently try to get new students in ways that can divide the dance scene.

The Method We Are NOT Recommending

Many instructors try to get new students by appealing to people who are going out dancing at other local dances/events.

Now, if you run the local dance/event where you are talking to these people, then that is great!

Of course, you still want to do my growing scene suggestions coming up below, but at the same time, these are attendees that are going to your event(s), so it only makes sense to tell them about other opportunities they can experience.

But what if you don’t run the dances/events where all these potential students are dancing?

Should you be advertising at those events or trying to talk the attendees into taking lessons with you?

It depends…

If you have permission from the dance/event owner, then sure, go for it.

If not, then I wouldn’t recommend it.

But no matter whether you have permission or not, if this is all you are doing to get new students, then you are mainly dividing the scene instead of growing it…

…AND you are NOT eliminating your competition.

Why?

Because you are advertising to the same students as the dance/event owner. So instead of bringing new students into the dance scene (and growing it), you are taking dancers that are already in the dance scene and asking them to go somewhere else…thereby dividing their attention.

Even if your classes are on a different night, some dancers will choose to only go to your classes and stop going to the dance/event that originally brought them into the dance scene.

And whether they go to your classes or not, you are putting yourself in direct competition with the dance/event owner.

That is not necessarily a “bad” thing, but it certainly isn’t a way to grow a dance scene (at least not on it’s own).

So instead…

Grow Your Dance Scene while Eliminating Competition

How do you get new students in an ethical way?

…a way that doesn’t destroy (or slowly divide) your local dance scene?

It’s really quite simple…

Start advertising to “non-dancers”.

To do this, you can spend a bunch of money on advertising through facebook and google adwords.

Or you can use a…

Grassroots Method to Grow Your Scene

We recommend “Dance Bombing” (aka: Lindy Bombing, Blues Bombing, Tango Bombing, etc).

Dance Bombing is when you go somewhere that doesn’t normally have dancing (or somewhere that doesn’t normally have your style of dancing) and then you dance…

…sort of like a flash mob, but it’s usually not choreographed.

Here are the basic steps:

  1. Go to any location where there are a bunch of locals hanging out (Farmer’s Markets, Blues Bar, Dance Clubs, etc)
    then
  2. Play some music and dance for them (maybe even teach some of them some basics)
    then
  3. Hand out flyers or business cards (ideally that allow them to try out their first class for free)
    ok

Note: These 3 basic steps are really all you need to get started but if you want to optimize your dance bomb to make it the most effective and have a checklist that you can handoff to any of your partners/students/friends, so they can run an effective dance bomb without you, then download our 16 step checklist here.

Dance Bombing works incredibly well!

People are often very impressed by partner dancing. Even watching beginners dance is fascinating to a non-dancer.

Regardless of your level, most of the time people will come up to you and ask you where you learned to dance.

This is the perfect time to give them a flyer (ideally for a free lesson) and tell them they can learn too!  Or better yet, take them for a spin on the dance floor and show them how easy it can be to get started.

Also, don’t forget these…

2 More Super Simple Grassroots Growth Methods

Here are two more methods that most dancers forget to do, and they are SUPER SIMPLE!

1. Tell your “non-yet-dance” friends and family about your classes.

Teach them some basics so they can see how easy it can be, and give them flyers too!  They can be 10-20 times more likely to take a lesson from you because they already know and trust you.

Make it easy on yourself and “pick the low-hanging fruit”.

And…

2. Ask your students to tell their friends/family about it too.  

Word of mouth is incredibly powerful, and sometimes you just need to remind your students to tell their friends.  Some of them will do it without a reminder, but some of them need that reminder.

This is just more “low-hanging fruit”.  Sure, you can do other things to bring in new dancers but…

…this is the easy stuff!

Don’t skip it!

Now, instead of competing with other instructors, you’ve eliminated the competition.

If you go to a “not-yet-dancer” at a farmer’s market and give them a flyer, they aren’t thinking, “Hmmm, should I take classes from this person or that other dance teacher”.  Instead, they are now just focused on whether or not they should take dance classes at all, and you are front of mind if they decide to take them.

Your competition is now all the other things they might do on Saturday night (or whenever else you hold your class) instead of all those other things AND all the other dance instructors.

Of course, many people still won’t come but some will, and when they do…

…you’ve just brought a new dancer into the scene, thereby growing the dance scene!

If you do this, you will be increasing the potential pool of dancers that can take classes, and attend dances/events, for not just you, but also the other instructors in town…

…and the other instructors will love you for that!

It really is that simple.

It’s just doing the fundamentals.

Getting Back To The Fundamentals

Think about it…

Before there was a dance scene in your town, how do you think the local scene got started?

They probably did all the things mentioned above, right?

These are fundamentals!

So just like dancing, don’t skip the fundamentals.

Note: Even if you are the one that started the dance scene, don’t stop doing these. I’ve seen many once strong scenes slowly dwindle after they stop doing the fundamentals.

Note: Don’t forget! You can download our 16 step checklist here.


Do you agree or disagree with these recommendations?

Share your thoughts in the comments below.

The Fear Code: The Most Effective Process For Achieving Extraordinary Results

Dancing Tips , Free , Organizing Tips , Teaching Tips

The Fear Code:

The Most Effective Process For Achieving Extraordinary Results

The Fear Code is my favorite and most effective process for achieving extraordinary results in my life.

The essence of it is…whenever I have a fear I have to share it.

THE PROCESS goes like this:

1. Whenever I have a fear, order recognize it. No matter how big or small the fear.

2. Ask if I can share the fear with whoever it involves.

3. Add any disclaimers (if needed).

4. Share the fear.

FOR EXAMPLE:

1. I had a fear pop up as I was reading a post by Rich Schefren and it involves everyone who is going to read this post.

2. Since it doesn’t relate to a single person that is standing in front of me, instead of asking if I can share my fear…I will just share it below and…

3. Disclaimer: Those that don’t want to know my fear can stop reading now.

4.  When Rich asked “What’s your best processes?”, my fear code was the first thing that came to mind. Then I thought to myself, “Oh that’s not directly a process to get things done so it’s not what he’s looking for” and immediately I could feel a fear (small but definitely there) of providing an answer that was “wrong”. So here I am, sharing my fear of being wrong and possibly writing something that is a waste of everyone’s time.

But I want to share 4 reasons why I don’t think this is a waste of time, by sharing…

4 TAKEAWAYS from using the fear code:

1. Fears can seriously delay me from taking action so…

…this actually does help me get things done and they are usually very important aspects of my life…

…probably due to the fact that they actually scare me.

I’ve used this code to date people that I thought were “out of my league” or OBVIOUSLY not interested in me (when they actually were), get paid way more per hour than I thought I was worth (it feels good to know others value me more than I value myself), and have some pretty killer conversations.

2. When dealing with sensitive subjects (I’m upset with you and afraid to talk to you about it because XYZ), starting with asking if you can share a fear puts the other person on your side. It’s harder for them to get defensive because they are already in a mindset of wanting to help you defeat your fear.

This can be very powerful…be very careful and do NOT abuse it or it will hurt you in the long run.

3. A great disclaimer I use (when it makes sense) is to let the person know “My fear is in sharing this information with you…not in your response. So you can say “yes or no” and either one is perfect because you are already helping me defeat my fear just by letting me share it with you.”

This is an important disclaimer if you think the other person might be influenced to answer a particular way, rather than speaking their truth.

For example, if I ask someone out on a date, this is important because I don’t want them to feel like they have to say yes. The fear was in asking them out, not in the response they give.  So they are free to answer either way and they’ve already helped me defeat my fear.

4. Before creating my fear code, I rarely would’ve shared something that I thought might be wrong, or never had a chance of happening.

The funny part is, I know from testing it…

I’m definitely wrong about being wrong, way more often than I’m right…

…and things have a much greater chance of happening than I realize, if I just ask for them.

Although, I do have decent intuition in some areas of my life, when it comes to things I’m scared of, my intuition is way worse than I thought it was, so instead of blindly trusting it, I just test it.

Test finished. 🙂

Here’s a test for teachers…when I say “you can be a world class dance instructor”, do you say “cool, how?” or do you let fears and negative thoughts tell you “no way, not me”?

Overcome your fears and negative thoughts and check out my World Class Dance Instructor Blueprint by clicking the image below:

What do you think about the Fear Code?  Have you ever tried something similar?  Share your thoughts in the comments below.

If this method doesn’t work for you, here are 33 more ways to overcome fear.

Easiest Way To Build Amazing Websites That Sell Your Products Without Needing Technical Or Design Skills

Free , Organizing Tips , Teaching Tips

[velocity_headline title=”Easiest Way To Build Amazing Websites That Sell Your Products Without Needing Technical Or Design Skills” target=”_self”]

Holy moly… I feel like I just stumbled upon the best possible software combo in dance website history!

No joke.

This is seriously powerful website and sales software that I just started using and it’s going to be groundbreaking for the dance world.

And it’s actually ridiculously affordable!

It allows you to build websites (and more importantly sales funnels) in a matter of minutes without needing any technical or design skills. It’s literally copy/paste & drag/drop but with all the power and customization of a regular website builder like WordPress AND it will build your entire sales funnel including taking payments, sending emails, & easily analyzing what part of your funnel needs to be improved.

It blows away everything I have ever tried and I would have saved a lot of money if I had known about this even a few months ago.

Plus, it allows you to clone webpages & entire sales funnels, so once you have a website that you like for one event, class, workshop, etc… you can make a new one in less than 5 minutes.

It costs as little as $37 per month and if you understand how to build a proper sales funnel, you will make this back by a landslide. For example, I just built my first sales funnel using this software and made $3,500 in a couple of days and I definitely did NOT set up the best sales funnel that I could have. I expect to blow those numbers out of the water when I optimize it.

It’s so easy to use & there is even a 14 day free trial!

I set up my entire funnel and made the $3,500 before I ever had to pay a single penny for Clickfunnels.

I can’t wait to start using this for creating dance events, workshops, merchandise, and things I probably haven’t even thought of yet.

Again, this software is called, Clickfunnels.

You might also want to get the Napkin Project which teaches you how to build a basic sales funnel that allows you to acquire customers at break even or better. I thought I knew how to grow scenes fast, these guys are blowing my mind!

Let me know if you get either of these products!

Dance It Out!

~Andrew
P.S. Disclaimer: I decided to become an affiliate of Clickfunnels, so the Clickfunnels links will give me a commission if you decide to join. I have never really advertised an affiliate product before because there really hasn’t been anything I came across that was relevant for dancers that was worth becoming an affiliate for. This is.

P.S.S. I would also like to become an affiliate for the Napkin Project explained above and highly recommend that too but I am not an affiliate for that yet. Still, I recommend it at the same level and the combo of these two products together is mind-blowingly awesome (yes, mind-blowingly).

7 Easy Steps To Create A Progressive Series Of Classes From Beginner To Advanced In Less Than 1 Hour

Free , Organizing Tips , Teaching Tips

Progressive Classes

7 Easy Steps To Create

Progressive Series Of Classes

From Beginner To Advanced

In Less Than 1 Hour

Creating a series of progressive classes that build off of each other AND keep your students excited, wanting more, can feel like an overwhelming task that will take hours, or even days.

How do you start?  What should come first?  How do you keep it interesting?  How do you make sure to offer variety?  How do you keep students coming back for more?

This 7 step plan will answer all these questions and make the process easy for you.

 

The Benefits of the Plan

  1. This 7 step plan will teach you the exact A-Z steps you can take to create classes that progress off of each other, while being interesting, offering variety and keeping your students coming back for more.
  2. By following our plan, you will gain the confidence that comes from knowing you have taken the necessary steps to choose the best possible path for your class series.
  3. The plan will clarify all your awesome material and prepare you for teaching workshops as well as series classes.
  4. Organizers looking to hire you will be impressed when you show them the work you put into your classes.
  5. The plan will allow you to be more flexible on the spot so your classes don’t get stuck feeling the same.
  6. This plan will save you loads of time (hours or even days)!
  7. Organizers: Have your teachers use this 7 step plan to present you their syllabus suggestions.

 

 

Note: You can view additional info and examples below by clicking any text with arrows like this:

Click the text again & this info will disappear.

The Requirements

1. If you want to see results, you must implement the plan!

Don’t worry, we have made it super easy!  Skim this whole article & then go thru the the 7 steps one at a time. In less than 1 hour, you will have a basic progressive class series ready to go.

2. After you read the plan, set aside 40 - 85 Minutes to implement it.

We have given you a minimum and maximum time that you should spend on each topic so you can power thru this and have a solid basic outline within 40 minutes, or delve deeper into your knowledge spending as much as 85+ minutes.

3. Manage your time carefully. It is your most valuable resource.

WATCH OUT!  The more time you spend on Step 1, the more time the rest of the steps will take.

We recommend setting a timer for 10 minutes and forcing yourself to stop at the 10 minute mark.  After you have done steps 1-6 (setting timers along the way), you will have a plan that you can implement and it will have taken you less than an hour!

Step 7 is about refining the process, so you can always go back and spend more time perfecting it after you have a working version.

4. Use an Early Warning Alarm & an End Now Alarm

If you have problems keeping to time limits (like me), set an “Early Warning Alarm” 1-2 minutes before the official end time for each step AND an official “End Now Alarm”.  Try it!  You might be amazed at how awesome your creation is even when you stick to your time limits (especially if you give yourself the early warning).

Plus, this is great training for learning to end on time (which is often a skill dance teachers could improve).

Here is my favorite free alarm app, Flextime (mac only) …. or here are some popular Alarms for PCs.

 

The Steps

Step 1: (10 – 20 min) Brainstorm all the topics that you love to teach.

A few examples from my list:

  • How to connect to your partner’s entire body instead of just their hand or back
  • What to know when you or your partner is grounded or not
  • The 3 types of connection & when to use them
  • The 3 types of arm movement & when to use them
  • Matching the 9 arms
  • Matching Energy Changes
  • Overall Feel of Different Songs – Comparing Emotions & Stories
  • Volume vs Energy Changes and How They Relate
  • How To Predict Music (so you can dance to stuff you never heard)
  • Overall Feel Within Each Song – Changing of Emotions & Stories
  • What Makes An Amazing Dance
  • Expanding Your Comfort Zone
  • Mastering Triple Steps
  • Managing Your Speed: From Porches to Cadillacs

Bonus Benefit: Brainstorming your topics is also great for getting more students and getting hired for workshops more often!  The more clear you are about what you offer, the better.

Step 2: (5  – 15 min) Group your topics into categories.

I have three categories that make sense based on my topics listed above.

Connection Topics

  • How to connect to your partner’s entire body instead of just their hand or back
  • The 3 types of connection & when to use them
  • The Details of Counterbalance
  • The 3 types of arm movement & when to use them
  • Matching the 9 arms

 

Musicality Topics

  • Matching Energy Changes
  • Overall Feel of Different Songs – Comparing Emotions & Stories
  • Volume vs Energy Changes and How They Relate
  • How To Predict Music (so you can dance to stuff you never heard)
  • Overall Feel Within Each Song – Changing of Emotions & Stories

 

Miscellaneous Topics

  • What Makes An Amazing Dance
  • Expanding Your Comfort Zone
  • Mastering Triple Steps
  • Managing Your Speed: From Porches to Cadillacs

Step 3: (5  – 10 min) Rearrange each category of topics from beginner to advanced.

Musicality Topic Order

  1. Matching Energy Changes
    • This is my first topic because it is super easy to learn.
  2. Volume vs Energy Changes and How They Relate
    • This requires knowing about Matching Energy Changes so it has to come after the above topic.
  3. Overall Feel of Different Songs – Emotion, Description, Story
    • This is easy to learn too but it is a little scarier for most dancers to attempt, so I will wait until they have been dancing a few weeks to implement it.
  4. Overall Feel within Same Songs
    • This is the same concept as above but it requires more awareness because the changes are more subtle.
  5. How To Predict Music (so you can dance to stuff you never heard)
    • This is an easy topic to learn and could be placed earlier but I think it is a more exciting topic after you have been dancing for a little while and experienced the struggle of not being able to predict the music.

 

Connection Topic Order

  1. The 3 types of connection & when to use them
    • Super easy to learn but will take a long time to perfect.  I will use these concepts in every future class, so I will teach it first.
  2. How to connect to your partner’s entire body instead of just their hand or back
    • Great for reinforcing the 3 types of connection
  3. The 3 types of arm movement & when to use them
    • I can teach the above concepts without this concept so it can come afterwards.
  4. Matching the 9 arms
    • Requires knowledge of the 3 types of connection AND the 3 types of arm movement above, so it comes after both.
  5. The Details of Counterbalance
    • Requires knowledge of matching the 9 arms.

 

Miscellaneous Topic Order

  1. Expanding Your Comfort Zone
  2. What Makes An Amazing Dance
  3. Managing Your Speed: From Porches to Cadillacs
  4. Mastering Triple Steps
    • These topics don’t require an order based on difficulty or previous knowledge so I am ordering them based on when I think the student’s will want this information.

Step 4: (5  – 10 min) Create your progressive class order by rotating topics.

Class Order

  1. Musicality Topic 1: Matching Energy Changes
  2. Connection Topic 1: The 3 types of connection & when to use them
  3. Miscellaneous Topic 1: Expanding Your Comfort Zone
  4. Musicality Topic 2: Volume vs Energy Changes and How They Relate
  5. Connection Topic 2: How to connect to your partner’s entire body instead of just their hand or back
  6. Miscellaneous Topic 2: What Makes An Amazing Dance
  7. Musicality Topic 3: Overall Feel of Different Songs – Emotion, Description, Story
  8. Connection Topic 3: The 3 types of arm movement & when to use them
  9. Miscellaneous Topic 3: Managing Your Speed: From Porches to Cadillacs
  10. and so on…

Step 5: (5  – 10 min) Label the natural energy level/feel of each topic.

Although each topic might have various energy levels throughout the topic, they usually have an overall energy level as well.  I label them based on this overall energy level and also label any clear changes.

  1. High – Musicality Topic 1: Matching Energy Changes
  2. Low – Connection Topic 1: The 3 types of connection & when to use them
  3. Very High – Miscellaneous Topic 1: Expanding Your Comfort Zone
  4. Medium – Musicality Topic 2: Volume vs Energy Changes and How They Relate
  5. Low – Connection Topic 2: How to connect to your partner’s entire body instead of just their hand or back
  6. Low to High to Very High – Miscellaneous Topic 2: What Makes An Amazing Dance
  7. High – Musicality Topic 3: Overall Feel of Different Songs – Emotion, Description, Story
  8. Low – Connection Topic 3: The 3 types of arm movement & when to use them
  9. Medium – Miscellaneous Topic 3: Managing Your Speed: From Porches to Cadillacs

Step 6: (10 – 20 min) Adjust your topics to have the energy flow that you want.

I like to start and end with high energy but my last class in the example above currently ends with medium energy.  I can either adjust the way I teach that class so it ends with high energy, or I can switch class 7 with class 9 so I end on a high note (or both).

I also like my topics to flow smoothly, usually avoiding having more than 2 topics of the same energy level back to back and usually NOT jumping from Very High to Very Low (or vice versa).  The transition from topic 2 to 3 above currently goes from low to very high, so I might want to make sure that the transition doesn’t feel too abrupt.  I can do this by adding a medium to high energy game or exercise at the end of topic 2 so it ends on a higher energy and smoothly transitions the energy for topic 3.

Exceptions: Sometimes, I want to emphasize a high (or low).  I love ending a series with a high energy but sometimes the last topic is medium energy and it really is the best topic to end on.  I can make the medium topic feel higher by making the topic before it very low energy.  This makes the change of energy seem more drastic so the medium energy ends up feeling higher.

After playing around with it, here is my adjusted order:

  1. High – Musicality Topic 1: Matching Energy Changes
  2. Low to Medium – Connection Topic 1: The 3 types of connection & when to use them + game
  3. Very High – Miscellaneous Topic 1: Expanding Your Comfort Zone
  4. Medium – Musicality Topic 2: Volume vs Energy Changes and How They Relate
  5. Low – Connection Topic 2: How to connect to your partner’s entire body instead of just their hand or back
  6. Low to High to Very High – Miscellaneous Topic 2: What Makes An Amazing Dance
  7. Medium – Miscellaneous Topic 3: Managing Your Speed: From Porches to Cadillacs
  8. Low – Connection Topic 3: The 3 types of arm movement & when to use them
  9. High to Very High – Musicality Topic 3: Overall Feel of Different Songs – Emotion, Description, Story

 

Step 7: (A lifetime) Grow & refine your topics.

If you want people to continue taking classes with you for a long time, you need to keep growing your knowledge base and adding more content to your arsenal.  For example, instead of only having 5 musicality topics, I now have 17.

My Current Musicality Topic Order

  1. Energy Changes
  2. Volume vs Energy Changes and How They Relate
  3. Overall Feel of Different Songs – Emotion, Description, Story
  4. Overall Feel within Same Songs
  5. How To Predict Music (so you can dance to stuff you never heard)
  6. Creating A Story – Pick a Basic,  Go Outside of the Basic & Return, Adjust the Basic & Return
  7. Rhythm Options
  8. Large Phrase Changes (A to B, chorus to solo, etc)
  9. Subtle Phrase Changes (A to A)
  10. Hitting the Horns, Pianos, & Other Surprises
  11. Being Your Own Instrument
  12. Measure/Bar Repetition (not sure if this is the right terminology but basically repeating patterns that are as little as 3,4, 6, or 8 counts long)
  13. Choreography – Surprising Your Partner (or the crowd)
  14. Texturing
  15. Clarity of Rhythms
  16. Single Rhythms Versus Double Rhythms (probably not accurate wording)
  17. Breaking Down Specific Dances To See How Well Different People Do In These Categories… Are there trends based on styles?

 

Bonus Thoughts

Topics can be full classes but they don't have to be.

Some of your topics might go well in the same class.  Sometimes you might find that a topic only takes half of class (or takes 1.5 classes) to cover.  The great thing about planning your classes with such a clear outline is that you can be more flexible with how things flow at a moment’s notice, confidently knowing that you can easily adjust your next class because it is so well prepared.

Details about choosing the topic order.

It is generally set up from things that are more clear and obvious (emotional changes & volume changes) to things that are less obvious (subtle phrase changes) or harder to do (texturing & single rhythms vs double rhythms).  I also might want to challenge them with one topic and then give them something easier in the next topic.  Plus, I might come back to some of the topics several times rather than try to get them perfect on the topic before moving on.  All of these additional factors can make your basic plan even better!

How to keep students coming back for more?

By creating this plan you can always know what you are teaching next.  At the very end of class, make sure your students know too.  Students don’t always show up every week, even when it is a series of classes they already purchased.  Improve the odds that they will show each week by quickly showing them what you will be working on so they can look forward to it all week long.  Make sure it looks or sounds exciting!  This one minute demo is more important than you might realize.

 

Your Homework

1. Set aside 40 - 85 minutes to implement this plan. Put it in your calendar or set an alarm right now.

It is super easy to read something, bookmark the webpage, and forget about it forever.  Don’t let this happen to you!  Don’t miss out on all the benefits just because you didn’t set an alarm. Remember the Benefits

  1. This 7 step plan will teach you the exact A-Z steps you can take to create classes that progress off of each other, while being interesting, offering variety and keeping your students coming back for more.
  2. By following our plan, you will gain the confidence that comes from knowing you have taken the necessary steps to choose the best possible path for your class series.
  3. The plan will clarify all your awesome material and prepare you for teaching workshops as well as series classes.
  4. Organizers looking to hire you will be impressed when you show them the work you put into your classes.
  5. The plan will allow you to be more flexible on the spot so your classes don’t get stuck feeling the same.
  6. This plan will save you loads of time (hours or even days)!

2. After you create your plan, tell us about it in the comments below.

If you want, share a link to your plan and start a discussion about what you like/dislike about it.  Maybe someone else will be nice enough to give you some feedback on your plan!  If nothing else, you will be giving inspiration for others to create plans too (which is awesome)!

 

How To Get The Attention Of 30 To 3,000 Dancers In A Matter Of Seconds…

Free , Organizing Tips , Teaching Tips

How To Get The Attention Of

30 to 3, 000 Dancers

In A Matter Of Seconds…

Have you ever been in a situation where someone is trying to speak but they can’t seem to get the room’s attention?

You can often see the frustration start to set in amongst either the speaker or the few people who ARE paying attention.  Besides wasting time (yours and those who are also waiting), this can also drop your status in the eyes of those who see it happening. Plus, it can devalue the attention you are getting, making it less likely for those paying attention to do so in the future.

So how do we lead the room to give us their attention?

The simple answer is to teach them how to respond.  There are many ways to do this and I want you to develop your own but this can take time.  In the meantime, try one of these two methods.

 

1. Shave & a Hair Cut

This is when you clap (or stomp, or sing) the rhythm known as “Shave & a Haircut” and your crowd responds with the last 2 notes “clap clap” (or “stomp stomp”, etc).  Here is an audio clip so you can hear this rhythm.

I use this all the time for dance classes.  It gets their attention very quickly and I can also use it to teach rhythm and musicality.  Awesome!

I also use this to immediately silence crowds of over 3,000 people.  It is extremely powerful, especially when combined with stopping the music (next example).

 

 

2. Stop & Raise

Stop the music and raise your hand.  When people see your hand raised, they too then raise their hand and immediately stop their conversation.  When anyone sees anyones hand raised, they do the same.

This is taught by many high level public speakers.  It works great for general public speaking, but if you want it to work in a dance environment, it needs some adjustments.

 

The “Stop” – Adjusted

Stopping the music is used to catch a large percentage of the crowds attention quickly.  If you want this to work really well, you need to stop the music abruptly in the middle of the song so it grabs attention.

If you are in a class setting, this is no big deal as the students are used to the song cutting out.  In this case,  if you really want to get their attention quickly, definitely cut the music instead of fading it.

If you are in a dance setting, cutting the music will likely annoy your dancers who are dancing to the song. In this case, let the song finish, then turn on the lights and shout “announcement time” or something that makes it clear you are about to speak.  Then play another cheesy song (or something they would NOT normally dance to) as people are getting settled and you are making your way to the announcement area.

  • This can be as little as 5 seconds of music that is just prepping everyone for the announcement.
  • Be playful with it. Use theme songs that everyone will recognize.
  • Change it up every couple of announcements so people start to wonder what you are going to choose next.
    The thing that I really like about this is that you are now making the announcements entertaining and something worth listening to.So many people treat announcements like they are not important and if you are going to treat them that way, my suggestion is don’t do them. If something isn’t important enough to treat as such, then why are you announcing it in the first place?
  • It literally only takes a few seconds to find a new theme song.
    I googled “most famous theme songs” and found over 100 options within a few seconds.If you don’t have internet at the dance, you can save them to a youtube channel or spotify playlist and access them from your smartphone.
     Here are 12 to use for your first year.
  • Eventually, you won’t even need to shout “announcement time” as the majority of the crowd will understand from the song choice and the rest will follow the crowd.

 

The “Raise” – Adjusted

Raising the hand is used to catch the small percent of the crowd that still didn’t catch on when you stopped the music.  In a dance class setting, raising your hand is already something people do on a regular basis so we need to adjust it to be more attention grabbing.  Instead, you could have everyone take 2 giant steps forward, or have everyone sit down (especially if you are about to give a longer talk).  What else could you substitute?  Add your ideas in the comments below.

 

 

The Keys To Leading Your Room

Teach Them

Remember I said, “The simple answer is to teach them how to respond.”  If you just do “Shave & a Haircut” and expect them to respond, you will probably be sorely disappointed.  Instead, explain the concept, plus why it is important, and then practice it a few times with them.

Now some of you might have seen me teach and be thinking, “Wait a second, I have seen you do this with crowds of 600 people without needing to teach them”, but that is not quite accurate.  You probably just didn’t see me teaching them.  Before I interacted with that large crowd, I might have already taught a smaller group of them this technique in a smaller class setting.  Remember, I am constantly teaching all over the world, so at many big events, I already have hundreds of students who know these concepts.  That said, if I am not sure about it, I can just test it.

If there are enough people who know the technique, then I can do it and the rest of the crowd will catch on by the second or third time.  If I am not sure, I might just say to the crowd, “Alright, let’s see how quickly you guys get this.” and then try it.  If it takes more than two times to get the entire crowd to follow along, then I teach it to them.

 

Adjust to the Mood

Shave & a Haircut can be a very energetic technique.  It is great for when you want to energize the crowd (ie: at the end of class, or right before announcing a performance, etc).

That said, you might not want to increase the energy of the room so quickly (ie: at the end of a really soft song, late night when everyone is tired and ready to sleep, right before you are about to do a moment of silence, etc).  In these cases, it is usually better to adjust your attention getting technique to fit the mood that you want to encourage.  An easy way to do this is to do a softer, quieter version of Shave & a Haircut.

Most likely, several people will not match your energy and so you will probably have to teach your crowd this too, even if you already taught them the regular version.

I usually do this by first doing it softly and if they don’t match my energy, I do it again but I match their energy. Then I do it a third time back at the lower energy, and almost everyone will now catch on, and then I explain it.

This is a great addition for reminding them to match energy in a musicality class.

What are some other ways to quickly get the crowd’s attention while keeping a soft atmosphere?  Share your ideas in the comments below.

 

Perfect Practice Makes Perfect

Now that you know what to do, practice it!  There are probably going to be aspects of this that you will want to improve before doing it publicly and the only way to figure those things out is to try it and analyze how you did.

Here are some ways to practice:

 

Dance It Out!

~Andrew Sutton

Teacher in over 30 Countries, Creator of Dance Ninjas, World Lindy Hop Champion, American Lindy Hop Champion, US Open Swing Dance Champion, Enter the Blues Champion, among many other titles.

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