The students at BIMM Bristol are lucky to find themselves based in a city with one of the most eclectic music scenes in the UK.
We’ve been on the hunt for the people that make the scene tick. Here Mike Chatziapostolou – Founder of the Bristol based events company, The Dance Off – tells all about his innovative shape-throwing business and why he loves his city.
So who are the Dance Off Crew and what do you do?
We are a tight-knit team of DJs, hosts, set builders, and decidedly average dancers that roam the UK with a boxing-ring, throwing big interactive dance battle parties. We curate bespoke, themed dance battle arenas built for playing games with the public. We are the destroyers of inhibitions, your biggest fan, your moment of glory, and the devil on your shoulder as we draw you into the fray. We love to engage our audiences by making them the stars of the show, the judge, and the jury, bringing people together through the spirit of friendly competition, great music and panto-like drama.
How did you get started?
The Dance-Off started out in the heady days of rave-commuting when we’d travel from our then home in leafy Fleet up to big club nights in London – Fabric, SEOne, The End were among the usual haunts – to see our heroes of the breakbeat and drum & bass eras play to sell out crowds. We’d always end up with our rabble arranged in a circle, taking it in turns to throw the most outlandish dance moves we could come up with in face-off after face-off.
The following year (2007) my now wife and I went to Secret Garden Party where we were introduced to the idea of an action camp. In a nutshell the festival gives out mini-budgets and production support for exciting proposals for interactive content/areas. We left the festival inspired, and on the drive home knocked around some ideas for a pitch. Obviously a Dance-Off area was going to be a winner for us! Our proposal was accepted in 2008 and now we’ve grown from a gazebo and a few wooden pallets to a full-blown touring festival stage.
What have been some of your highlights?
There’s been so many amazing moments over the years, but one that sticks out in my mind is the first marriage proposal we had in the boxing ring. It was a leap year and this lovely lady had decided she wanted to propose to her man during a Dance-Off. She came back stage to see us and we worked out a plan, found the music she wanted, and briefed the team. When she popped the question everyone just burst into tears, it was magic!
What do you love about Bristol?
The thing I love most about Bristol is the diversity in such a small area. You’ll find the full gamut of society residing in the city limits and it makes for a vibrant, colourful and creative melting pot. The pace of life here is not too fast, but keeps in step with the times whilst encouraging the arts, music and culture. A lot of people say it’s full of hippies here, and I’m totally cool with that! It’s a genuinely happy place to be.
What’s your advice to anyone starting out in Event Promotion?
My advice to anyone starting out in event promotion is to do your best to find something unique, someone that no-one else is doing right now and push it as far as you can. You don’t need to re-invent the wheel, but a unique selling point is vital. Make sure it’s something that you love, and something that connects people and you can’t go far wrong. It’s hard work to make a living from it, but it’s the most rewarding thing if you can make it work, even if just for a while.