Thursday, 29 November 2012



Developing a dance industry that is professional, transparent and profitable dance industry.

Professional: Being professional means being an expert. It means being competent and skilful, but it also means behaving in an ethical way. It means putting your client first, and acting in the best interests of the public or society.

Being professional means being dedicated to your professional development both for yourself and for those people who are affected by your work. It is about being trustworthy, reliable and committed. 

Transparent: Being transparent means an honest way of doing things that allows other people to know exactly what you are doing. It is lack of hidden agendas and conditions, accompanied by the availability of full information required for collaboration, cooperation and collective decision making. It is the minimum degree of disclosure to which agreements, dealings, practices and transactions are open to all for verification.

It involves the following 4 things:

  • Being truthful: Our industry has millions of shillings poured in by clients who desire quality services but only a few thousands reach the dancers. The rest of the millions end up in the pockets of the contact persons. Dancers are left with no choice but to accept their fate especially when the ‘this is all we have’ explanation is given. 
  •  Having an opinion but saying it openly to other views: How open are you to opinions and criticism? Opinions and criticism assists in making the correct decisions. For example dancers have opinions regarding several events and projects. Are the dancers airing these opinions to the organizers and are the organizers listening? An industry where diverse views and opinions are freely aired and appreciated is one that keeps growing stronger by the day.
  • Being timely and responsive: “Recently a fairly high-profile Twitter user was in need of crew performance for an exclusive private event happening the following day. He sent out a tweet asking for crew recommendations and got very limited response from local crews. Since I have interest in the industry I retweeted it for him and three days later a leading crew got in touch to ask how they could help. Major FAIL.” Timeliness can often mean the difference between success and failure
  • Thinking community: None of us can or should operate as an island in our industry. Transparency means creating community, giving credit and being caring.  

o   Creating community: This is about knowing your audience. Our main audience in terms of age includes children, teens and the youth. We must however realize that it’s not only important to be children, teen or youth-friendly, but that we need to appeal to parents as well. We must start sharing information to our parents for them to understand and appreciate what we do.

o   Giving credit: We will grow as an industry if all stakeholders appreciate quality. Corporations, for example, should start engaging crews according to the quality of service that they offer. This gives motivation to upcoming dance crews to work harder and brings fulfillment to the hard worker in the industry.

o   Being caring: This involves meeting the desires of our audiences by acknowledging that we are role models. Where able we need to take up our responsibility to ensure that the society is positively impacted. This includes engaging in noble acts such as peace campaigns. When our presence is felt in these acts, we generate great impressions and society’s favor. 

While it might appear on the surface that transparency is nothing more than telling the truth, sometimes telling the truth is hard. In general we don’t like to let people down or admit mistakes, and transparency is about putting our unguarded self out there. But embracing transparency will help you to be more open, honest and accountable and connect better with your clients or audience.

Profitable: It is possible to earn a living through dance. This is when we view dance as a profit-making business where dance is our main product. It starts by providing value. People will always appreciate high value. Secondly is to know who our clients are and to effectively reach out to them. Many of our clients apply the dance they purchase (pay for) to improve their lives in many ways: passing a noble message to the society, instilling discipline to the young, marketing their products and branding, to develop other arts, to offer employment, to increase academic sphere and to entertain self among others. 

Quality dance is an expensive affair and it therefore needs to be adequately paid for. What is challenging is when we have clients whose first priority is always to get a bargain. There is nothing wrong with this approach but dancers must know how to negotiate. For example, for a dance crew that offers high quality service and is nationally celebrated to be paid KES 20,000 for a performance is an unfair bargain. Noting the time spent while practicing, the practicing and performance expenses, the number of crew members and other factors it is justifiable to settle for a payment of at least KES 100, 000 for a performance. Clients should be willing to pay for the value offered.

 How to be a professional industry:

1.      Have an ethical code that binds all dancers in Kenya
2.      Have a preferred standard process of business transactions
3.      Start media that target dancers and offer dance news, information and education
4.      Start a media platform dedicated to receiving feedback about different dance initiatives in Kenya, from dancers and other qualified and interested audiences.
5.      Create a central society of dancers that:
·         Sets and ensures the implementation of a minimum payment of upcoming and professional individual dancers and dance crews.
·         Sets and ensures the implementation of a code of ethics that binds all professional individual dancers and dance crews.
·         Protects the interests of all stakeholders in the dance industry and ensures fair and transparent standards are kept.
·         Negotiates with the government on behalf of all dancers in Kenya and for the benefit of dancers and the growth of the industry in general
·         Engages in neutral dance projects such as dance awards and showcasing events that ensure the growth of the dance industry.
·         Spearheads the creation of a good environment for successful careers and dance initiatives and for an industry that is profitable to all stakeholders. These efforts should include:
o   Partnering with the government to ensure that dance lessons and schools are part of Kenya’s education system
o   Partnering with the main stream media in using their ‘agenda setting power’ to influence the society’s behavior in favor of the industry. This can be done through:
§  Change and creation of perception to favor the industry
§  Acting as a catalyst in nurturing talent

   6.Initiate Financial literacy classes to equip dancers with the appropriate skills to approach dance as a business

*Claudia from Equity Bank stated that they offer financial literacy to organized groups for free covering the following areas
Living within your means.
Separating yourself from your business.
Saving with a goal and purpose.
 Bank products and services.
Managing debts.Group projects and group loans. 
Entrepreneurship training; business idea, business plan, sustainability and expansion.

.    7. Partner with stakeholders such as Equity bank and the government to enable dancers secure loans for projects that will boost the art of dance.




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