This weekend I attended an advanced hip hop class taught by world-famous, LA-based dancer and choreographer Matt Steffanina at Millennium Dance Complex in Centennial, CO.
The class was sold out…the studio was packed with about 50 people…and the energy of the room was fierce!
I’d been stuck on the waitlist for days. In my typical “faith the size of a mustard seed” fashion, I envisioned several people cancelling at the last minute…and that’s exactly what happened! I was able to slide out of the wait list and get into one of the two classes I’d registered for. Yay!
This was an advanced class, so I was totally prepared for most of it to be over my head (which it was). Five months into my hip hop dancing endeavors, I’ve barely begun to scratch the surface of “intermediate” level.
For me, attending was more of an opportunity to see what kind of energy Matt brings to his live teachings. “What’s he doing right?” I wondered. This is one of my favorite questions to ask, as it gets the mind focused on value-producing answers.
With his widely viewed online tutorials and choreographies, Matt has built an empire around dancing, with over 4.6 million YouTube subscribers.
In typical Anti-Marketing fashion, I know that “a large social media following” does not always translate into a successful or profitable business. And many business owners are more focused on building a huge following, rather than delivering real value to their target market.
However in this case, Matt’s class was packed, with a wait list, and as far as I could see everyone who attended was 100% enthusiastic about it.
He’s clearly doing something right.
What is that special “something” that makes Matt Steffanina so in demand as a choreographer / dancer / instructor?
I pinpointed it to 3 things that stood out for me personally:
1. He’s 100% focused on delivering on his brand’s ONE, singular promise.
Matt Steffanina is successful because he’s focused. His brand is very simple. It makes one promise: learn how to dance. Every piece of content he creates fulfills that promise. (Even his website says “Learn how to dance.”) It seems so ridiculously simple, but it’s huge. And in business, simplicity is the mark of genius.
Everything he does, is done with the specific intention of fulfilling his brand’s promise. Every live workshop and class he delivers (including the one I attended) fulfills that promise. No matter what level of dancer someone is — from beginner to advanced to uber advanced — they can learn how to dance.
He travels all over the world to teach live classes. He has mastered his focus and his craft. He’s chosen the one area in which he’s dedicated himself to helping others. This makes him highly effective.
By contrast, what makes a person INEFFECTIVE is when they have their focus scattered, perhaps while trying to deliver two or more promises.
Even though some of the technical hip hop details were lost on me during class…I could easily grasp the big picture of what Matt was doing FOR his live class: he was teaching us how to really dance.
What’s your brand’s ONE singular promise? Is your content delivering on that promise? Or is it scattered, trying to fulfill two or more promises?
2. He teaches students to “mark” and over-exaggerate each movement of the choreography, because this will help them learn and retain it faster.
People (myself included) tend to get caught up thinking they need to “know everything” before they can take an action full out. Matt’s approach is to take the action FIRST, before you fully “know” how to do it. Otherwise it’ll take you 10 times as long to learn it…and you may never get there.
I could see what I had been doing wrong this whole time — waiting until I knew a choreography first, before really dancing it full out.
How does your business help users “learn” what they need to learn faster? Are you breaking complex ideas down into simple ones — and “marking” them with strong over-exaggerated language, so that the ideas stick?
3. He creates space for people to see what’s going on, and to be seen.
In a room full of 50 people, you can’t see much from the back row. Every so often, Matt had the front couple rows of student sit down, so that the back rows could see him better and practice performing the choreography. This was a brilliant way to structure a large class.
I had been hiding out in the back row, and once the first couple of rows sat down suddenly I felt more “seen.” There were fewer people to hide behind. This created an opportunity for me to face my own fear of being seen – and just practice being seen. (Who needs years of therapy when you can simply dance out all your issues? 😉 )
Matt also put us into smaller groups based on age, sex/gender, etc., so that we could practice the moves with more space – while being seen by the larger group.
For students, this experience of “seeing what’s going on” coupled with “being seen” creates profound, lasting changes in their dancing capabilities.
How does your business help people see more clearly what’s going on? How do you inspire people to step up and be seen for who they really are, in their own lives?
I’m so glad I was able to attend the live class, and get a clear answer to my own question…”What is Matt Steffanina doing right?” He’s a shining example of focus! He’s the epitome of picking ONE thing, mastering it, and helping others master it. This is the root cause of being a successful person, in my book!
Here are a couple pics from class!