Blacka Di Danca starts agency - Dancer and choreographer helping other creatives stay afloat
When the entertainment industry was turned upside down by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) earlier this year, most critical players in the sector found themselves at a loss. Artistes, musicians, producers, promoters, dancers and choreographers alike found themselves grappling for survival as their finances took a direct hit from the industry’s shutdown.
It has been 10 months since any significant moves have been made in the sector, and with COVID-19 cases causing many countries to initiate round two of lockdowns, it seems highly unlikely that the latter will happen any time soon. It was with that in mind that internationally renowned dancer and choreographer, Blacka Di Danca, decided to create a unique opportunity for himself and other creatives in his immediate circle to continue earning a living and stay afloat in the uncertainty of a global pandemic.
In an interview with The Gleaner, Blacka Di Danca explained that he decided to start an agency that would see to the well-being of creatives like himself. He shared how the idea of pooling together all their talents as a group has managed to not only restore their faith in a time that seemed hopeless, but how the agency has managed to keep their financial reservoir from drying up.
“I knew when I stepped into this world of dancing that I wanted to be so much more than a dancer. I knew I wanted to step into the mogul realm. I know there is a lot that I can help people with, and I have worked tirelessly over the years to put myself in a position to do just that,” he said. “The desire to help, to do more than just dance, is the deepest part of me. It is the reason I do what I do and the main reason I started the Danca Agency.”
According to Blacka Di Danca, although the Danca Agency existed pre-COVID, the pandemic allowed for the opportunity to use the platform to help other creatives like himself. He explained that, instead of using their own platforms, he decided to let them use his already well-established platform to maximise their earnings, but under one umbrella.
“We have about a dozen instructors all working with Danca Agency. We’re all teaching from one platform, banding together the efforts of each member to provide a unique service,” he said. Blacka Di Danca has been paying for the Airbnb space where all the group members have been living and creating for the past eight months.
“Since the beginning of quarantine in March, as soon as all the dance studios were shut down, we moved all of our artistes into an Airbnb that I have been taking care of. All of the overhead costs are being covered by me, and right now, we have about eight persons living in that space. I did that because I wanted to make sure the dancers saw they weren’t in this alone, but also so we could keep grinding. Everything you see coming out of the Danca Agency today is because of that decision I made to help take care of our own. As I said, it has always been deeper than music and dance for me. This is a lifestyle and something I am truly passionate about,” he said.
“I mean, why else would I be paying nearly US$4,000 a month to make sure that creatives who don’t have a place to stay, that dancers who don’t have a space to work, get that opportunity? It’s been approximately eight months since all dancers and choreographers have been living together in one space, leaning on each other, learning from each other. We have been building an entire ecosystem on our own, but together to make the impossible possible.”
Work is ongoing on a number of projects, as the nimble collective explores all avenues. “We’re in LA now, and we’re growing. There’s a lot going on. We have the production company that’s putting out music videos etc. remotely. We just worked with Kranium a few weeks ago and did his video. We have a segment that takes care of casting. We create dance challenges, and dance campaigns for labels across the world, and the whole point of that is to help monetise my community and maximise earnings for all of us,” Black Di Danca shared.
“People hit me up all the time and say ‘Blacka mi wah yuh dance for me and do dis and dat’, but they’re not thinking about everybody else, the additional talent I would need to get to make their video, their brand look good. So I have been saying, give me $20k and I’ll take care of all of the dancers so everybody can eat. That is what I am building with this agency.”
And just in case you thought the Danca Agency was the last of Blacka’s bright ideas to maximise earnings for creatives like himself, think again. He told The Gleaner that he is thinking of starting a production company called Danca Mafia. Blacka, who is also an up-and-coming artiste, says he wants the company to provide resources for all creatives, not just dancers. “With Danca Mafia, you’re gonna have artistes, music, events production, everything in one place. I am completely turning into a full businessman. I am acting, I’m putting out music. I have my own sneaker line coming out soon, and so I want to create a label to provide resources to creatives of all kinds across the Caribbean,” he said.