It was not so long ago that the art ‘dance’ was first captured in a photo and later on film.
There was no way to properly capture this art form in its rawness.
The internet revolutionised communication and with it the power of digital media.
Gone are the days of having your favourite dance film survive the rewind and play buttons of the VCR.
In the early ages of dance I could imagine how difficult it was so explain a performance.
It must have been such a unique moment knowing the art work would only be visible in that moment.
Let’s jump straight into it!
What has dance got to do with all this?
If you are a dancer you must be interested to find out what social media can do for you!
If you didn’t know, dance has had a very difficult time in grounding its performance returns and recognition of achievements.
Yet we are all leaping at the opportunity to join the hallway of social trends.
So here is how social media helped dance grow in South Africa.
It dawned on us that there was a great need to preserve information about dance as years passed.
We wanted a way to for us to celebrate the triumphs and achievements of fellow dancers.
There just had to be a space where we can hear news about the latest in dance events and performances.
Digital was the perfect way to save it all.
In 2013 using the platforms of Facebook, Twitter and later Instagram hashtags like #DancersInSA, #DanceSA and #DanceSouthAfrica really blew up. This was due to a dance film called Pop Lock ‘n Roll searching for dancers across South Africa to audition with a video. We had the mission of discovering the industry and hashtags was the way forward.
Most dancers at this time were already setup with accounts on the various social media platforms. There just needed to be a way for dancers to communicate in unison with the above hashtags. The moment dancers started using these hashtags was the day we started documenting the progression of our dance lives online.
Facebook rolled out with a super cool groups function.
We decided to build a group for our city and other major cities.
It was not clear for us how all the dancers were going to react to the idea.
The growth was painstakingly slow as dancers each created an account and needed a hand with clicking that join button.
The more we got involved with marketing dance competitions, we started to realise Provincial groups was the best way forward. This way when large dance organisations host provincial, national or international competitions there is a way to spread the good news.
We did not stop here!
We then built groups for over 20 neighbouring countries so that they could also grow with this cool idea.
It took us about 6 years to grow Dance Gauteng with 5000 members without sharing the group too much. On the other hand in Zambia a region called Lusaka grew to 4000 members in only 3 years.
Madagascar has 2700+ members, Nigeria 2700 members.
We learnt that in some countries there are no studios, in others it’s a massive industry with dance awards. The lessons are incredibly interesting as the greater stories unfolded online.
Instagram just put the icing on the cake!.
We needed a magazine type social media platform that could display the month through images.
In advertising this is where the image must sell the caption.
If you go look on Instagram at the amount of posts regarding #DancersInSA you will find over 20 000 posts. This is only the basic hashtags. There is still so much room for many more hashtags
These are only the basics.
Tag us and let us know whats the hashtag we should be following.
If you have a video with the most views in South Africa let us know.
Most of all, there is so much creating to do, so little time.
Start imagining now what the shape of how we as dancers connect in the future.
Let us build by promoting the benefits of dance and its social impact on the lives of so many.