Two weeks ago Ian and I arrived back from Mombasa after a busy weekend of Sakata auditions. Compared to the previous week in Eldoret, it looks like the worst Mombasa dance crews are better than the best Eldoret dance crews. There are strengths and weaknesses on both ends where Mombasa dancers are good at flips and power moves while other regions have better footwork. Overall, the amount of talent in the Coast along with the beach reminds me of home and makes me wish that I could do all that I do and live in Mombasa at the same time.
Another difference at the Coast was the level of intelligent conversation that I had with many of the dancers. These guys want to succeed, to excel and to go far in their dance. They weren’t afraid to speak to me like many of the dancers from other regions. I enjoyed learning more about the dance industry in Mombasa and the struggles that dancers traveling from so far have to face when deciding to participate in a dance competition like Sakata without any hope of winning. This and many other discouragements caused a few crews not even to show up for auditions. I shared some suggestions for dance crews traveling over great distances to minimize their costs and to get the best out of the dance competition experience. I’ll share them here with hopes that some crews will take some of these ideas to heart.
1. Corporate sponsorship- Approach corporate sponsors to sponsor dance outfits and traveling costs in exchange for wearing their logo on your dance costumes. You may even appear in one of their commercials if they throw in living expenses while on the road as well.
2. Don’t spend money you don’t have- it would be better for your team to dance in jeans and hoodies and have great choreography rather than to spend tons of money on great outfits and then get kicked out of the competition because the choreography isn’t good.
3. Offer dance workshops- there are so many schools and hotels who would love to make dance a regular part of their activities. Be reliable and keep time and this could turn into a full-time gig.
4. Be who you are- Dance and be true to yourself and it will show during the competition. Don’t try to think, “Let’s do this for Wyre or Joanne or Ian.” Rather be the best that you can be on stage and the rest will work itself out.
Dance your heart out!