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Social Networking: Dancing your way!

by Priya Raman

“Just finished a practice session. Off to the programme. Check this out friends, our new project”! Sounds familiar, why not? Must have been your status message a few days back with six people liking it and some others commenting on it. Lets face it, social networking is now blooming, thanks to new social websites that enable professionals to rub virtual elbows with colleagues. For dance and dancers, its working wonders.

Orkut, Facebook, Myspace et al there are dancers spread everywhere initiating their own communities, groups and fan clubs. Where for the rest of the world these sites are a mode of renewing lost connections and making new ones, dancers all over are using it as another tool enhancing their careers. 

Most often you would find them share photographs and videos, post regular updates of their movements and thoughts or the behind the scene making of the programme. Event invitations and  workshop notifications are a regular affair and discussions on dance and related issues are serious yet fun! You are sure to watch a video or two and make a couple of friends in a week’s time.

Non dancing friends also pitch in with their ideas thereby creating a larger community of art appreciators, the need of the hour today. So there are hobby photographers complementing a particular pose, IT professionals expressing interest to attend performances and entrepreneurs providing helpful leads. It becomes rather an obligation that every morning you login to check out the latest happenings and make your share of disclosures. The fact that anyone can be traced through such websites reduces the effort put on search engines.

Now then, what is the value that dancers are procuring out of this exercise that makes them spend substantial time and effort amongst their otherwise busy schedules?

Reach out to a wider population is surely the top factor. For an upcoming dancer the reach out serves visibility and for the established ones it echoes their steadiness and ascent. A learner gets easy access to quality videos of stalwarts in the field.

It is a fair and even ground. Any soul passionate about dancing can raise issues, put forth view points , comment and touch base with any other dancer devoid of divides in seniority, status blah blah…. Seamless, smooth and broad exchange of ideas and feelings can take place on a big social platform. Often, young people do not have a voice in the public debate, which does not mean that they do not have an opinion. Here is a place where one can satisfy all his needs.

There is a general feel good factor. You can expect all kinds of people at all ages to have a profile on the site. You are wished the best for your performances, endeavours, supported and sometimes suggested as well. There is greater harmonization and assimilation of the culture and knowledge.

All said and done, every coin has two faces. (My inevitable self here where I see every situation in both angles, you bet you have to deal with me!). There have been reports that sharing your personal information on social networking sites might make you susceptible to hackers. Especially when dancers are happily involved in sharing all their performance videos, latest photo shoots etc. Besides there is a certain section of the population which would not want to divulge excess information to a larger public but just being in a network may force them to do so.

Personal conversations decline as instant messages fill up to do the job. This might sustain but not longer. In a performing art like dance, a personal meet is but essential for that long term bonding. Youngsters would only get hungry for numbers (how many friends or invitees have accepted their requests) and restless. Instant gratification will make them more self-centered. It remains that relationships are built over time and personal touch and not online!

Social networking can lead to insecurity and unhealthy competition as well. A comparatively inactive youngster could get insecure with another very active dancer, consecutively posting his/her achievements. Repeated occurrence of such extravagance may shatter one’s morale and confidence.

Changes are a part of human life, and if it is through technology and for the better, catch up on it wisely. But before you start social networking, you need to learn to make real relationships with people.

The next time after you have made real relationships in a dance workshop/travel you did together, don’t forget to pop the question- “Are you on Facebook?, Great so lets keep in touch!”

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