The above video is an excerpt from Jerome Robbins’ Dances at a Gathering (performed by Simon Valastro). This post isn’t about this work, but you can find out more about the ballet here.
Actually, the play on words just worked to lead into some discussion on a new gathering spot for dancers – social networking sites. Dancers, teachers, and students are busy people, yet more of us are finding our way to the internet as a means to network or market ourselves, meet other dancers, explore instruction or performance opportunities, and even learn tips which supplement instruction/training.
Dance Advantage Interactive
Yep, Dance Advantage has its own network called Dance Advantage Interactive!
I know blogs by nature are interactive and I love to hear from readers in the comments here. However, I wanted to allow the readers and fans of this site to interact more efficiently with each other. At DA Interactive, users can join and create groups (dance studios, companies, etc. are welcome to start their own group which can be set as open to anyone or by invitation/request only). Users can also participate in the forums, post photos or videos, suggest and vote on blog topics, and lots more. Each user has their own profile page where he/she can promote events, receive comments and shout-outs form others, and add cool gadgets and widgets.
As readers of Dance Advantage, I hope that you will help me make DA Interactive an interesting place to visit. I plan to get the ball rolling with discussion posts based on what you are reading here, however, I have purposefully allowed for a great deal of personalization on the site so that readers can carve their own space according to personal interests and goals for participation. Your suggestions are more than welcome! This site is really what you make it, so please stop by and consider becoming a member!
Another new social networking site on the scene is danceplug.com. Its aims, according to the site, are as follows:
“DancePlug began with the idea of helping dancers, choreographers, and teachers to promote themselves in a professional but friendly way, and to grow with new learning tools.
From there we realized that DancePlug didn’t have to just be about career advancement; everyone should be able to enjoy what we have to share, like the latest news from the dance world, helpful tips, and connection to all the support services dance lovers need.”
I have recently joined the site and am enjoying some of its features. Like other social networks, each user has their own profile and the opportunity to interact with others. A unique feature of the site is the outlet hub. Here, members of the “faculty” offer video tutorials of various dance basics, exercises, and combinations. The basics are free, however, exercises and combinations will cost you “credits” which can be purchased at the site in packages or monthly plans. I have not yet purchased any of these, so I cannot speak to their content. However, as a networking tool, this seems like a welcome addition to the dancersphere. The site comes with its own lingo, so be sure to review these before you become a “Plugger.”
Socializing Online Can Be Overwhelming
The success of sites like MySpace and Facebook and even blogs have created a surge of social networking sites. There are several hubs available specifically for dancers and new social websites and technology are popping up every day. Ning is one dotcom that has made it easy to set up your own networking site, therefore one can easily be overwhelmed by the number of opportunities available. Bloggers and online magazines are creating sister networks to supplement and compliment their site and, as you can see, I am one of them! However, I myself am still evaluating these tools as a source of information. Doug Fox wrote an interesting post on social networking almost a year ago. In it he states:
…there are many possibilities and many ways to waste time and energy if you’re not focused on whether or not your social networking undertaking is really going to help you achieve specific, measurable objectives.
I’m not trying to discourage anybody from using social networking tools and applications. They can be very worthwhile. It’s just a question of whether in each specific instance if it’s worth the commitment of time, energy and resources to making it happen.
This is an excellent assessment. It takes time and a willingness to explore the sites a little in order to decide if the rewards are worth the commitment. Now, if you don’t necessarily have goals or objectives, and don’t mind a fun bit of time-wasting, then flutter around like a social butterfly till your heart’s content! Otherwise, try to come up with your goals for networking and pick just a few sites that you enjoy and/or are useful, because one can easily become overwhelmed in trying to keep up with all of them.
What Keeps Me Coming Back
There are some sites of which I am a member that I rarely log into, and others that I visit frequently. What makes the difference for me are the users. If people are interacting beyond just self promotion and the site is easy to use or easily incorporated/combined with technology I already use, I return to the site. To be fair, many of the networking sites for dancers are new and still finding their voice, therefore, it is necessary at times to be the pioneer willing to lead or steer conversation. If I know a dance site in particular is new, I sometimes try to make this effort or at least return every once in a while to see what’s new (if anything). Eventually I decide if the site is worth adding to my daily internet intake.
Here are a list of Online Dance Magazines, Networks, and Forums:
- Dancer Universe (online dance magazine with forums, blogs, and other resources)
- New Jersey Dancers (social network) *No, I’m not from NJ, but the administrator is an online buddy of mine.
- the (inter)mission (social network-sister to The Winger)
- Voice of Dance (forum)
- Critical Dance (online magazine and forum)
- Dance-Tech (network)
- Ballroom Dance Channel (network)
- Movmnt.net (network companion to movmnt magazine)
- DanceSpace (network)
- Dance Channel TV (video hub and network)
- DanceJam (network and videos – view a variety of street/urban dance videos (some history and info provided), make friends, and vote or participate in dance battles)
And don’t forget the two of the largest social networks online…
Where do you hang out online?
What other dance sites do you visit frequently?
Nichelle Suzanne is a writer specializing in dance and online content. She is also a dance instructor with over 20 years experience teaching in dance studios, community programs, and colleges. She began Dance Advantage in 2008, equipped with a passion for movement education and an intuitive sense that a blog could bring dancers together. As a Houston-based dance writer, Nichelle covers dance performance for Dance Source Houston, Arts+Culture Texas, and other publications. She is a leader in social media within the dance community and has presented on blogging for dance organizations, including Dance/USA. Nichelle provides web consulting and writing services for dancers, dance schools and studios, and those beyond the dance world. Read Nichelle’s posts.