DJing, teaching and running clubs

Tips and techniques of the trade

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DJing, teaching and running clubs

#1 Post by Haydn » Sat Feb 07, 2009 11:36 am

I couldn't see a thread about this anywhere.

What do you think about the relationship between DJing, teaching and running clubs and those who do these things?

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#2 Post by Eyeball » Sat Feb 07, 2009 10:52 pm

Do you mean how do all those diverse people interact?

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#3 Post by straycat » Mon Feb 09, 2009 5:27 am

I think said relationship is important ;)

Could you be a bit more specific? I'm not completely sure what you're asking.

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#4 Post by Haydn » Mon Feb 09, 2009 9:48 am


Typical dj:
Spends a lot of time buying and organising music and looking for work; doesn't get paid much if anything but loves djing.

Typical teacher:
Is an experienced dancer and decides to teach for the satisfaction and pay. Gets paid a reasonable amount. Is sometimes able to build up customers and increase income over time. If very good and highly motivated, can make a living from teaching, or even a business from employing other teachers.

Typical club owner:
Enjoys the music, fashion and scene and gets a buzz from running a place where these things meet. Struggles to break even.

Of these three, I have only ever DJ'd, but I know many djs also teach and/or run clubs. And djs, teachers and club owners all need each other: djs to supply the recorded music, teachers to help new dancers build up their confidence in partner dancing, and club owners to provide cool places to go out dancing. In reality though, how do djs, teachers and club owners relate in the 'scene'? Is it possible to successfully do only one of these jobs, or do you need to combine it with another?

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#5 Post by fredo » Mon Feb 09, 2009 10:22 am

Is it possible to do only one of these jobs? yes, of course. That's the typical example. When you ask "do you need to combine it with another", what are you talking about? need to combine them for what? riches, celebrity, and fame? global domination?

All three of the elements you highlight are of course crucial to having a thriving swing/jazz dance scene. The three groups typically relate in a business sense. In most cases where the three jobs are separate, the club owner is the dominant position because they are the ones hiring the DJs and teachers. If a club owner "gets it", there can be a long lasting relationship between dancers and DJs and the owner that leads to great culture and events. "gets it" to me means that the person doesn't have their head up their ass and is aware and interested in how the scene works, and how to put on successful events that have quality components.

It's possible to find people that wear more than one of those three hats, and possibly all three. This doesn't automatically mean that they "get it". It's great when the instruction and the music have similar tastes, or if the club owner hires bands that the DJs support. It's just as likely though that someone who owns a club, dances, and DJs could be completely out of the loop with the direction the scene is going and wind up being only marginally successful.

The fourth element in this for some scenes is the non-profit organization. If a city doesn't have any interested club owners, or the club owners don't "get it" and lack vision, a non-profit organization can fill the role of sponsor. I'm not sure what they're called outside the USA, but I'm sure parallel organizations exist. They work with venues, DJs, and instructors to orchestrate activity in the scene, often by volunteering time. A good non-profit can attract members to support events, but just like with the club owner, they need to have good relations with DJs and teachers in order to remain relevant in their community.

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#6 Post by curious » Tue Jul 07, 2009 10:36 am

I have been doing all three for 11 years and it makes the decision
process pretty easy:)