We sat down with Amy Dalton to learn about how she launched a new, very successful, monthly balboa dance in Old Town Lafayette.
So Amy, how did you get started and what did you want to accomplish?
The first time I walked into the venue (East Simpson Coffee Company, aka ESCC), I immediately noticed the wood floors and of course thought, hey, you could dance in here!
Luckily, I had a connection with Leslie (one of ESCC’s owners) through my husband Brad (they used to be Starbucks store managers in the same district) and we started to talk about the possibility of having dances at ESCC.
I’d helped Heather Ballew with planning and promoting classes and events for Denver Balboa but I’d never taken charge of my own event before. I wanted to create a local dance focused on Bal and introduce new people to the dance I love. There are a number of Bal enthusiasts living in or near Lafayette, and we were excited to invite dancers from the Denver and Boulder area to our neighborhood. Plus ESCC wanted to host community events and support the arts — a perfect combination.
So what did it take to plan the first dance?
First, I met with the venue owner to discuss the vision and expectations for the event and, decide on dates. Then I contacted bands/DJs/teachers to discuss availability/rates/logistics, and then book them. After that I had to finalize event times and prices and reach a business agreement with the venue.
The next phase was to publicize the event through Facebook, flyers, and word of mouth.
An ongoing task was to communicate expectations, keep discussing plans with everyone involved, and troubleshoot logistical issues.
The day of the event was the time to set up, handle remaining logistics, check in with the team and make sure everyone had what they needed.
What was the biggest surprise?
I was so happy to see how many brand new people from the neighborhood showed up for the beginner drop-in class! It was packed!
What were you most pleased with?
Watching two communities come together was the best — the Balboa community plus the Old Town Lafayette community.
It was great to see everything fall into place the night of the event. I especially enjoyed listening to the band, watching everyone have fun, and feeling the love and support of friends and family.
What can you say about lessons learned?
I learned that bands book up quickly for Saturday nights. Figuring out what is needed for the sound system stresses me out, because I have so much to learn!
As far as advice, know your strengths and limitations, ask questions and get help on things you’re not sure about, make sure expectations are clear between everyone involved, get everything in writing—especially important details and things involving money, and assemble a great team of people that you enjoy working with.
Is there anything else you want to say?
Yes! Thanks to everyone who helped run this event and everyone who attended! Dates for the next Bal swing nights at ESCC are March 5, April 2, and May 7 (first Saturdays). If you’ve never tried Balboa, you can get started at our beginner drop-in class at 6:30 pm before the dance. Hope to see y’all there!
If you want to be notified of other Denver Balboa events, you can subscribe at: www.facebook.com/denverbalboa/events (or “like” their page)!