If I could only pick one event killer I would have to say disorganization is the big one, and it is hard. There are so many moving parts to keep track of and it is like trying to herd cats but disorganization is a huge contributor to dancers not wanting to take part of events or audience not wanting to come back.
As a dancer it can be very frustrating to not know: where or when you are dancing, where you need to be, how does music work? or if you are coming and going. It can lead to a lot of mess-ups during your show or event that the audience can see. Plus the endless sea of questions and mess ups just add extra stress to you the organizer.
Starting on Time
This does tie into disorganization but events not starting on time can be another source of frustration for your attendees. I’ve personally seen shows start two hours after their announced start time and it hasn’t been weather related. The dancers who showed up early and are ready to go then have to sit and wait which can be frustrating (or painful for those of us in the big boob brigade). Professional dancers may have gigs scheduled around your show, people may have hired babysitters, have work, or may be relying on public transportation etc. None of which is your fault but are things they think about next time around.
This also can cause the event to lose credibility, if it happens regularly you can create a downward spiral where dancers and audience members show up late because they think it won’t start on time so you are then unable to start on time.
Advertising and Event Frequency
This may seem like a no brainer but how you advertise effects your event and is something to consider. I think it is very hard and takes trial and error to find the right balance for your area. In the internet age it is hard to stay in front of people. Some organizers take to blasting on social media. I would recommend using social media but with some restraint as well.
When I see your event all over my news feed, instagram etc every day or every other day all the time in every group you can post in and it goes on for months and months before the event, I personally am less likely to go to the event. I feel alienated, over saturated and harassed.
On the flipside, there have been events that I missed that I would have loved to go to but the facebook page, flyer, etc only came into existence days before the event.
Something to think about is how often are your events? This is a trial and error area. I have seen events that are once every few months and others that are once a month both be equally successful.
Length of Show and How Many Dancers
How long does your event run? How are the breaks set up? I love belly dance but I must admit after 5+ hours of it I can become a bit numb. How will your non-bellydance audience feel if your halfa is 6 hours long?
Does the show flow or does it have frequent breaks every few dancers that can cause the show to stagger and go past the expected length. I believe one reason some shows feel like they never end has to do with the number of dancers. I have seen quite a few non-gala shows with over 20 dancers and sometimes up to 30-40 performances. I think I understand the why behind this. The more dancers you invite, the more audience you might get.
I personally prefer less dancers for more time than just seeing a lot of 3-4 minute performances. I think you do the dancers a disservice, especially if they are on the path to develop their own voices and expression. However you have to decide what best fits your event and yourself.
How are you priced and is it right for your event and area? Are you overpriced and really think on that. Many dancers and friends don’t have tons of disposable income to spare. Additionally, if you are asking high pricing for lower quality, your attendance may be low. Asking people to spend $50 a person on a student halfa being held in a studio or low-end restaurant might be a bit steep for most people.
Are you priced too low? Can you afford that? I know some people run their events at a loss just to give back to the community and it’s a good day when you break even.
Poor Event Support
The last topic in what may be my longest blog post to date would be Poor Event Support Now what do I mean by event support?
I mean the many miscellaneous side items that are a part of the event:
Is your location easy to get to and in a safe area?
Is there easy parking if applicable?
Is it clean and is there a space to change?
Does the sound system work?
Is the waitstaff rude?
Is the photographer/videographer any good, do they add to your event or do they do a poor job?
I don’t think by itself Poor Event Support will cause drastic poor attendance but I do think it is something to consider and can add fuel to the fire when paired with other items on this list,ie:” I overpaid, I couldn’t find parking, it started late and to top it off I can’t even use the video”. Having some of these PES (for short) being strong points can work in your favor to balance other issues, ie: “that show always starts late but I always get amazing photos!”
I think having dancing shows and events are really important and it is harder and harder to break even, find venues and make these shows run. I hope you found some helpful items to consider when planning your next event. A huge thank you to all the event organizers out there who bust their butts to make sure we all get a chance to dance!
What are your thoughts? Want to add to my list? Contact this Long Island belly dancer here!
Tips, Tricks and Life of a Long Island Entertainer