“Dancing is fun!” Sometimes we all need the reminder, and this episode couldn’t have been a better one. Finally back in Btoven Studio, with dancer, choreographer and marketing professional Jamie Benson, we had some of the most fun yet as we dug deep into topics that ranged from the social purpose of laughter and the paradox of choice to Jamie’s rediscovery of the joy of dancing. We learned how Jamie incorporates humor into his choreography, works with adult non-dancers in his Shakedown Dance Collective and pursues the ultimate Bradjelina Life. He even provided valuable marketing advice for dancemakers! To learn more, visit our guests page and jamiebenson.com.
What a wonderful, informative and challenging conversation. I listened to your podcast because I know Jamie as a choreographer, dancer, and dance instructor (I am a former member of the Shakedown Dance Collective as well as one of the dancers in Le Grand Continental in NYC.) I am also — and have always been — a lover of dance. I am not a trained dancer. I am a print designer, a visual artist and a cultural blogger. I am also a member of a community chorus. I had no idea dance audiences are in decline. That bit of information disturbs me. When you were discussing how to write copy to attract audiences, I was struck by several things: Don’t use your grant language as your marketing copy. What is the benefit behind the benefit? I was also intrigued by the concept of the intersection of interests, but in my case I use that concept to describe myself as an audience member. I began attending dance performances entirely through the intersection of all my interests. I took ballet as a child and played classical music on my flute. It was not a far leap (pun intended) to attending dance performances as an adult. I also loved minimalist composers and artists and fashion and those interests also brought me to post modern dance as a young adult. Dance, for me as an audience member, is absolutely the intersection of all my interests. It is all my interests in kinetic form, and that is incredibly exciting to watch. Over the years, it is through fabulous photography and compelling copy in brochures as well as plain spoken reviews that have inspired me to continue to see more and varied dance performances. What is the benefit behind the benefit of attending your dance performance? Perhaps the chance to see the beauty of the human form in movement to music I love may be my initial benefit, but a new way of seeing the world or thinking of the human body or emotions might be the benefit behind the benefit. When I danced with the Shakedown, the benefit was challenging myself and getting exercise. The benefit behind the benefit was a fantastic community of people who shared a love of dance and the arts. With my chorus, the benefit is singing the world’s most beautiful music. The benefit behind the benefit is that I have been able to meet people in my neighborhood and have made new friends. When I blog about dance or other performances, I am writing in my own voice. Not as a highbrow critic — just as a lover of culture in all its forms. When you or cultural institutions market to me, you need to use your own authentic voice to tell me why I should single you out from all my overwhelming cultural options. It’s tricky because highbrow grant language may alienate some potential audience members, but at the same time you also have to remember that your potential audience is also smarter than you may think. At any rate, Jamie sure opened the conversation to some amazing marketing possibilities, and you all really opened my eyes to the unique challenges you face as dancers. Thank you!