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10 things I've learnt over the past five years
Date posted: 05 June 2020
Creative Director and artist Kwesi Johnson on mindset, methodology and our ability to transition to teaching dance and movement online.

Kwesi Johnson is a movement specialist, moving bodies, minds and attitudes for over 20 years as a Creative Director, Choreographer and Dance/Movement Artist. He was Artistic Director of former NPO, Kompany Malakhi and a pioneer of the now global form of Hip Hop Theatre. His work lies at the intersection of the arts, digital, community, business and commercial real estate. He helps artists be more entrepreneurial and self sufficient and helps business get more creative and community focused to increase engagement and idea generation. He’s currently focused on using art and culture to rebuild and reinvigorate the high streets using its empty spaces and shops.

See Agile Studios and also The Cultural Assembly

Hi everyone - this blog post is to accompany my video: 10 things I've Learnt Teaching Dance Live Online which I published on my YouTube channel during lockdown on 10th April 2020.

Here, I’m recommending some additional tips to accompany the video as I wanted to give some extra value to it, mainly about mindset and methodology, because, I believe, once that changes our potential increases massively. I created the 10 Tips because I wanted to help people make the transition to teaching dance and movement online, because I was reading and watching the difficulties that people were having doing this.

The irony is I had been encouraging dance teachers and choreographers as far back as 2014 to get online to develop their online presence as a way to grow their audience and student base. I could see how financially fragile a dance artists’ life was and how reliant it was on showing up physically to get paid. This is not scalable and one’s earnings are always going to be related to how much time one can exchange. This will often lead to burnout because one has to exchange more time because one needs to pay more bills…Let’s be real!

1. To improve sound quality, share your system audio on Zoom. Go to screen share/advanced/share sound. This gives the viewer better sound quality and less delay.

2. Create ‘paid for’ digital downloads, such as pre recorded, bespoke lesson plans, mentoring packages or merchandise so you don’t always have to turn up to get paid. Use sites like teachable, Patreon, and/or Teespring.

3. If you have trouble placing value on what you do and asking for money for it, there’s some other mindset issues you need deal with first. Get in touch if you need help on that. You’re a creative genius. Don’t forget it.

4. “Success leaves clues” -  author, public speaker, life coach, and philanthropist Tony Robbins. Look outside the industry for business models that are successful and see how you can adapt them.

5. Search YouTube for ‘Business Model Canvas’ use it for you as an artist and each project you do to maximize its potential.

6. Building your online presence is a way to build the connection with your audience so you don’t have to rely on an organisation to promote you. It doesn’t always need to be a class. It can be a discussion talking about your approach or a Q and A or an interview you conduct with someone you’re inspired by. People love talking about themselves so use it to your advantage.

7. Own your discourse. Talk, write and document it and share it with the world on your social media. If you don’t, someone else will and they will often get it wrong. If you don’t want to do the sharing, see the next tip.

8. Free your time to concentrate on the things you’re best at by hiring experts for a little as £5 to do the things you can’t or don’t want to do: fiverr

9. Don’t wait to be picked, pick yourself. Don’t wait for institutions, theatres and organisations to open up again. You’re agile. Reach out and build your audience so when we do go back to a level of what we knew, you’ve helped and reached more people using a combination of online/offline. This might not be the last lockdown...

10. Get in touch if you need help with anything I’ve mentioned above or you could be part of an accountability group, where we support each other in achieving the things we say we are going to do or develop. My email address is: