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Kizomba Bootcamp at Dance Austin Studio on Black Friday

posted Nov 25, 2012, 1:02 PM by Christian Franco   [ updated Nov 27, 2012, 11:02 AM ]
Kizomba Bootcamp at Dance Austin Studio. Black Friday 2012. Wanna join our dance bootcamps? Call us at 832-413-2623

We thought it would be impossible! How can we set up a bootcamp with just 2 days to promote it? No pain, no gain right? Since we were going to be in Austin for Thanksgivings, why not try to do something radical - to put together a 4hr Kizomba Bootcamp on a Black Friday. Here is our experience!

I quickly went to google and I started searching and calling dance studios in the area. After a few calls, I met Chi Chi, from Dance Austin Studio, over the phone and I just loved her tone of voice, the way she described her studio, and how simple it was to book it. Even though they were closed, she said that she will stick around and open the doors to me. I was happy. I had a location to host the event. Now let's find ways to promote it.

I started by forming a MeetUp.com Kizomba group to get some attention from people living in Austin. A few people responded and, later on, Fawn invited me to call her to discuss more. She was so sweet. Within minutes of our talk, she promoted me to administrator of her Kizomba Texas Group in Facebook and let me create an event to make her friends aware of this last minute Kizomba Bootcamp. So I did that! From that point on, the bootcamp started to build up. I also talked with other friends that I knew were from Austin - most of them non-dancers that I wanted to encourage to try and at least help me promote it. They did and slowly the news started to go "relatively" viral. I also posted like crazy on my personal profile in Facebook. I think every hour I was saying something related to the bootcamp. My last post was at 3am. By that time about 12 people responded and pre-paid online via paypal.
 
That Thursday night - Thanksgivings day - I got to Austin around 9:00pm. I spent part of Thanksgivings with my family in Houston and I left around 6pm. Three hours drive for sure! I met up with Zuzana, an awesome dancer originally from Slovakia and now living in Austin, TX, and we made plans to go out dancing at Dallas Night Club. There I met up with other awesome dancers like Fawn, Mary, Douglas, Melody, Michael, Raymond, Maria, Kavitha, Deejay, and more. If I miss your name, I'm sorry! Just a lot of them! We spent a great night dancing and having some fun! Next day I got up early. I gave Zuzana a hug - she let me stay at her place after going out dancing to Dallas Night Club, and she even fed me breakfast. I quickly gather my things and drove to Dance Austin Studio to see it for the very first time.

Dance Austin Studio in Austin, TX. They held our Kizomba Bootcamp
Dance Austin Studio is located at 9012 Research Boulevard C5 Austin, TX 78758 very close to restaurants and furniture shops. It was not hard to find and the area was super nice. I got there right at 1pm. My meeting with Chi Chi was at 2:30pm so I had plenty of time to go grocery shopping for light snacks. A Wal-Mart was just 10 minutes away and I decided to go there to buy some fresh fruit platter, chips, salsa, cups and plates. I was getting ready, the time was getting close, I was feeling good about this. At the very last minute a few more calls happened three people decided to join and they were excited about the Kizomba Bootcamp! That made me even more excited =)

2:30pm arrived and I met Chi Chi in person and I started bringing my equipment and food inside the studio. The studio was gorgeous. Ample space, great lighting, and huge mirrors! Chi Chi explained to me some of the house rules and I was set! Fawn arrived first and helped me with the set up. I placed the food by the entrance, name tags, and started hooking up the sound to my iPad. Slowly people started to arrive right at 2:45pm and they started to sign up. 

And so we started the bootcamp right at 3:05pm. I dimmed the lights, started showing the motions, and slowly each person started to learn about connection and feeling. Throughout the first half of the bootcamp I broke down steps, motions, concepts, expectations of the leaders and followers, how to feel the music, how to drill at home for extra practice, and answered questions that the students had. Everyone seemed to be having a great time and they all felt in love with the music within minutes! It was amazing =) Two hours went by and we got a well deserved break. I only allowed each person 25 minutes to eat, LOL, just enough time to get some energy to endure the rest of the bootcamp. While we were eating, I shared with them some of stories about how I discovered Kizomba, what it meant to me, some history about the dance, trivia about the music, and much more. After a little while, we also did a little raffle and we had 3 lucky price winners. Mary and Reginald each won a Kizomba Art of Connection T-shirt and David won a Free Kizomba Bootcamp next time we are around the area. 

The last section of the course started right at 5:30pm and we moved into more advanced concepts and principles of the dance. I stressed very clearly that this is all work in progress. The idea is to quickly get exposed to as much material as possible and realize that it is up to them to seek more reviews, input, and knowledge from local instructors or artists that come to the US during congresses and festivals. By that time Favian Bustos from Kizomba Austin showed up and we introduced him as one of the instructors that will continue with this objective in the future. Now that this group of students have been exposed to the idea of Kizomba, Favian can further guide them and nurture their concepts to keep their skills growing. Favian mentioned that he was having an Intermediate Kizomba workshop on Monday Nov 26th

As we finished our bootcamp, I spent time reviewing the techniques we learned into a nice little pattern that they can record for their at home practice and review. We also took a couple of group pictures and said farewell to each other. At the last minute - Anthony, one of our Kizomba Bootcamp students offered his home to host a last minute Kizomba House party! WOW! What a treat. We found a place to gather, share, and spend more time together dancing Kizomba! Everybody exchanged numbers, Fawn started making calls to invite more people to the Kizomba Party at Anthony's, and just like that magic continued to happen.

Fawn not only supported me with promoting the event and helping set up the food, but also bought a Kizomba Private dance lesson from me and I was thrilled! She wants to learn what I know. So right after the bootcamp I went over to her place and we did an hour lesson. She is a great dancer so we spent time going over other moves that I learned from those incredible artists that I got a chance to train with previously. By the time we got done, we gather our things and headed to Anthony's Kizomba Party. It was just 20 minutes away from her house.

Kizomba Bootcamp Party in Austin, TX
My original plan was just to stay until midnight that night since I had to drive back to Houston for 3 hours and teach on a Saturday morning at 10am. Boy, was I wrong! I had such a great time that I ended up staying until 3am. Then Anthony offered me his guest room to crash for 3 hours and I let myself out of his place by 6:15am so I can head back to Houston. The party was awesome! Several other Kizombeiros and Kizombeiras showed up. I danced almost none stop, and Anthony was a great host! I taught some extra bonus moves to add to the already super fun atmosphere and I got to talk with some of the students from the Kizomba Bootcamp that showed up that night. Like i said before, it was such an awesome gathering, I didn't want to leave.

In essence, what did I learn from this experience?. Several things...
1. If you build it, they will come! Don't be afraid and always hope for the best.
2. The best event promotions are the ones that come from those students that are passionate about the dance and respect one's hard work.
3. Be ready to adapt to last minute things, never expect too much, and always look for the positive in every situation.
4. Always show your appreciation to those that give you a hand and support you because without them, this project would not exist and I would not be able to do what I do. 
5. Have fun!

Special thanks goes to
Jorge Elizondo, World Bachata Traveler Instructor. For teaching, couching, and supporting me and my crazy ideas. He has taught me a lot from the time I have met him. The ability to put together an event in areas out of your comfort zone, to make people feel comfortable, and best of all turn "strangers" into "family" is a skill that is worth its price in gold. Thank you Jorge!

Zuzana Sekerova, for taking me out to have fun dancing at Dallas Night Club and offering me a place to crash prior the bootcamp! and for the fun dances and dinner / breakfast! Thank you Zuzana!

Fawn Legg, for feeling excited about this bootcamp, for letting me promote it among her friends and followers without any expectations, for helping me set up and even supporting me further with a last minute private dance lesson. Thank you Fawn!

Mary Virginia Thornton for helping me throughout this Kizomba bootcamp by assisting me in the female role moves breakdown! Thank you Mary!

Chi Chi Randolph, for opening her doors at Dance Austin Studio to host and conduct this event! Even when the day was a Holiday - Black Friday. We all had a great time dancing and learning. Thank you Chi Chi!

Anthony Redhead, for offering your home to host a last minute Kizomba House party so people can mingle, learn, and keep on dancing Kizomba until late hours at night. And also for offering me a place to crash prior my trip back to Houston. Thank you Anthony!

To my Kizomba instructors: Pablo Vilches and Julia; Ivan Ayuste and Isa (Spain); Ricardo and Paula from AfroLatin Connection (Portugal); Kwenda Lima (Cape Verde), Eddy Vents (UK), Ivo Viera (Portugal), Oscar B.A. (Maryland), and Yair Fatal (San Francisco); David Campos (France) and Guira Rei (Portugal) and Fred Maestro (Paris) for all your hard work, passion, and instruction. Thank you all!

and... of course to Everyone that attended my Kizomba 4hr Bootcamp in Austin. Not only we had students from Austin but one student, Tim, drove all the way from Houston and Katrina drove from San Antonio to be part of this event. I had super time sharing this gift with all of you. I hope to see you all very soon to continue growing Kizomba! Next time it will be bigger and better! Your support means a lot to me! Thank you all very much!

Kizomba Bootcamp Party in Austin. Thank you Anthony Redhead for opening your doors!

And... Thank "YOU" all for reading! What do you think? Where you there? What was your experience? What did you like the best of the bootcamp? What would you change? Please leave us a comment down below. Now, let's get back to work to organize the next Kizomba Bootcamp to keep spreading this beautiful dance! Follow us at http://www.facebook.com/KizombaHouston