In 2017, Christahh Ahh founded ‘Dance YYC’ to address the roots of the ‘struggling artist’ and other frustrations felt within the community, as she herself was currently at a crossroads in her dance career.
“Being at a crossroads in my dance career, I felt if there was an organized way to see what is happening in the community then I could engage with it more and respond to more opportunities,” says Ahh.
Sure enough — the dance community felt the same way.
Through a lot of research and experience, Ahh found the primary disconnect with professionals putting on classes, workshops, or shows and their intended audience was intrinsically connected with algorithm-based social media tools — aka Facebook and Instagram. Instead, Dance YYC is a mobile app and online platform that creates accessibility, opportunity, and engagement through visibility, encouragement, and organization.
We sat down with Ahh to find out how Dance YYC is going and what successes and challenges she has experienced navigating Calgary’s arts community.
What does Dance YYC offer Calgarians?
“Dance YYC is an online platform and mobile app that enthusiasts, emerging and professional dancers can easily find and post workshops, shows, events and auditions happening. There is also a professional catalogue featuring performers, choreographers and instructors thats can also find related services such as organizations, health and wellness, dance photographers and videographers and other resources.”
Why did you choose this community to start your business?
“Within the arts community, I often see people move away to pursue their art because they can’t find success in Calgary. I grew up in this community and once I had made the decision to stay here I started contemplating how could a dance artist find more success in this city?”
How have you fared during the pandemic?
“Dance YYC officially became an incorporated non-profit right before everything started shutting down. The main impacts were on the live events we had planned but otherwise not much had to pivot because of COVID aside from sharing more online happenings than in-person options. Now we are back to hosting our programming but with smaller attendee number caps.”
What are your future plans?
“Dance YYC will continue to offer various opportunities for movement artists and establish a subsidy/scholarship fund to help instructors get proper compensation and increase student accessibility to the arts.”
How would you describe Calgary’s small-business community?
After the pandemic, I’d say Calgary’s small-business community is supportive. There have been a number of groups and resources sharing one another’s businesses and initiatives.
How do you define the word community?
My perspective of community-primarily encompasses the movement arts community in Calgary and surrounding areas including enthusiasts/hobbyists. Secondarily, the broader community and finding ways to connect the two.
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