Otterdance 2 and looking forward

Otterdance 2 sold out all 150 tickets and got positive reviews from attendees. Its success makes this a good time look at its future.

Where Otterdance Came From

In the late 2010s there were two furry dances in the Netherlands: Dutch FurDance and Furrave. I’ve been to both events and loved them. But neither has had an event since 2019 and their websites are inactive. I also saw ways to improve how they were organised, promoted, and run.

To that end, I envisioned Otterdance to be:

  • Easy to find, buy tickets to, travel to, and attend
  • Enjoyable even if you don’t know anybody else there
  • Safe(r) from aggressive behaviour
  • Full of danceable music from a variety of styles
  • Chill enough for furs to talk and interact off of the dance floor
  • …and above all, a good experience.

I like to think Otterdance 2 was all these things. But there’s always room for improvement.

How could Otterdance be better?

Here’s a summary of points raised in the Official Otterdance Questions & Coordination group and other places, along with plans to address them.

  • The Headless Lounge was too small, there wasn’t enough privacy, and storing large bags in another room was inconvenient.
    • Roodkapje has limited room, especially when the art gallery is being used for an exhibition (as it was during Otterdance 2). So we’re looking at dates when we can also have use of the gallery space. That will allow us to have a unified (and much larger) Headless Lounge.
  • I was touched/grabbed/fondled against my wishes.
    • We’ve investigated all reports we received and will continue to investigate any new ones. (Send them to JackNewhorse on Telegram.) Some apparent violators have been banned. Future Otterdances will use the Red/Amber/Green system of wristbands to show your tolerance for touch: See the updated Rules for clarification. We’re also looking at ways to make on-site reporting easier to stop violations when (or, better, before) they happen.
  • Drinks were spilled on my fursuit / I was afraid drinks would be spilled on my fursuit.
    • This is a tough one, because Roodkapje is a bar/club. We could try to ban drinks from certain areas (such as the dancefloor), but that rule is only as good as its enforcement, which is difficult. However, Roodkapje came up with an elegant solution to lower the chance of spills by selling only bottled drinks during the event. That means a smaller drink selection, but I think it’s worth it.
  • Wild/drunken behaviour by some got in others’ way.
    • I saw this myself, especially toward the end of the event. We’re looking at ways to improve it with additional (and better-prepared) security, especially later in the evening.

Is Otterdance sustainable?

Legally speaking, Otterdance is registered in the Netherlands as an “eenpersoonszaak”. Its one employee is me, “Jack Newhorse” (legal name Tom Geller).

For Otterdance 2 the organisation paid the venue (Roodkapje) for space, staff, and a few other things (such as volundiertje meals and drinks) and collected ticket revenues. It also paid for non-venue expenses, such as signage and volundiertje t-shirts.

Despite selling out, Otterdance 2 lost money — but that was the plan. It was an amount I could afford, and I consider it a good value for the education (and fun!) received. I also wanted ticket prices prices low, both to grow the event and to make it available to more people.

But of course that can’t continue forever. Now that the event has a solid base of fans, staff, and talent, I’m looking at ways to make it profitable — or at least break even. (For one: Having use of the gallery space lets us sell more tickets.)

Some things will never change. Otterdance will always pay its professional staff (e.g. DJs) and provide outstanding gifts for its volundiertjes. It’ll strive to increase benefits to both groups as well as its attendees. And it will remain as accessible as possible to newbies and long-time furs alike — physically, philosophically, and financially.

Looking forward

The question everyone asks is “When’s the next Otterdance?”. I don’t know yet, but of course it’ll be announced on the Official Otterdance Announcement group on Telegram. (And other social media shown below; but the Telegram group always gets it first.)

But I want to look beyond Otterdance to plan (or help enable) other good initiatives. I’m especially interested in making furry arts and culture available to a wider audience. Some ideas:

  • Furry-themed exhibits at arts institutions
  • Running Headless Lounges, Dealer’s Dens, and other services at hybrid (furry/non-furry) events
  • “Mini-cons” that incorporate Otterdance with other events in Rotterdam
  • Helping find/create opportunities for furry artists/fursuiters
  • Helping others create and run their own furry initiatives

So — what are your ideas? Tell us in the Otterdance Questions & Coordination group. (Note that it’s not a general discussion group: Irrelevant comments will be deleted.) Let’s make it happen!