Posted At: April 9, 2008 12:11 PM
by Suzanne Flanagan
I interviewed Alabama graduate Pam Chancey, the executive director of Broadway Dance Centre’s The PULSE, to gather her thoughts on the direction of the entertainment PR industry, specifically in dance PR. Here is what she had to say.
What is The PULSE?
Chancey: “The PULSE is a touring dance workshop taught by celebrity choreographers. Dancers worldwide attend this event, which emphasizes hip-hop and jazz dance education. Celebrity choreographers include Mia Michaels, Brian Friedman, Shane Sparks, Laurie Ann Gibson, Dave Scott, Wade Robson and Dave Scott.”
What are your responsibilities as the executive director of The PULSE?
Chancey: “As the executive director of The PULSE, I ensure that all decisions are in keeping with the educational goal of the event. I oversee the process of choreographer selection and maintain a close relationship with them to see that they are fulfilling the goals set forth by my team. When planning a new tour season, I decide if expansion is necessary, whether it is creating more tour stops or providing space for more participants in existing tour stops. I also oversee the advertising campaign for The PULSE and negotiate contracts with hotels, convention centers, talent agents and choreographers.”
How does your PR background help you as the executive director of The PULSE?
Chancey: “I am able to provide excellent customer service, as I am able to handle compliments and complaints with the same sense of professionalism. My desire and ability to provide a quality service is reflected in the extreme organization and success of this event.”
What are some of the recent trends in PR that you have experienced at The PULSE?
Chancey: “The younger the target audience, the more Internet-heavy our strategies must be. We are able to create a buzz online through the use of message boards, Internet communities and e-mails. The PULSE has an average student age of 16, which makes the Internet the perfect tool for reaching our audience. We are also intent on keeping working, celebrity-status choreographers, which means that they are often featured on television, another extremely useful way to get positive exposure. Pop culture is being increasingly more influenced by dance, and our choreographers are often at the forefront of new dance shows, concerts, movies and music videos.”
How has the dance PR industry changed in the past decade? Do you feel as though dance PR has created its own niche in the PR field?
Chancey: “Dance has played a bigger role in the media than ever before throughout the past decade. With dance-based television shows popping up on every network and online resumes quickly becoming the way to go, the PR field has had to respond accordingly. If dance in the media continues on its current path, I think it is safe to say that it has rightfully earned its own niche in the PR field.”
What is the biggest obstacle/challenge that you have faced since starting out in the business?
Chancey: “The biggest obstacle in starting out has been, starting out! We began with three cities in 2006, and one-year later found ourselves in the midst of an 11-city international tour. We have had to learn as we go, and while this has been a challenging experience, it is a daily reminder that we are always growing and changing for the better.”
What is your daily life like on the road? Do you enjoy this more than a “9 to 5” job?
Chancey: “It certainly keeps life interesting! No day is ever the same so there is always something to look forward to. You have to be flexible and the hours can be long, but all in all it is a very rewarding position to be in. I live in an airport … basically. I miss my cats, but have seen more of the country and Canada than I ever thought I would … and I‘m 31.”
Are you currently choreographing for the tour?
Chancey: “While my team and I all come from a dance background, we are strictly business during the tour. Our choreographers are world-renowned and have worked for everyone from Britney Spears to Michael Jackson. We are so proud to have each and every one of them with us. I still teach at the Professional School of Broadway Dance Center in NYC.”
What is the most valuable advice you have learned working in the public relations industry?
Chancey: “Without a risk, there will be no reward! You have to be willing to put yourself on the line or there will be no profitability within a business. Playing it safe may keep you afloat, and in circles, but the benefits will not be as great. I learned this from the riskiest person—my first boss when I moved from Alabama. She scared me half to death, cursed on the phone, and I got the Southernness knocked right out of me, within days.”
What is your favorite thing about your job?
Chancey: “Inspiring young dancers is what keeps us going weekend after weekend. We are not a competition, which is rare these days, and we are proud that we have maintained our standards and ‘done it the right way.’ It is fulfilling to know that all these dancers come to us to learn, and without the pressure of competition, they are able to immerse themselves in a friendly and supportive environment.”
How has the entertainment PR industry changed in the past decade? How about dance PR?