About this sample
About this sample
Words: 1056 |
6 min read
Published: Nov 26, 2019
Words: 1056|Pages: 2|6 min read
Social Media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube are the pinnacle of many of the current trends that we see in today’s society. This is something that the creative industries and in particular, the dance industry thrives on. These platforms can be great for sharing ideas, networking amongst industry professionals and sourcing many engaging dance related events, competitions, workshops and auditions however dance on Social Media has its ever-pervasive pitfalls in many aspects. One of these in particular, is the huge focus on the notion of ‘dance as a competition’ rather than ‘dance as an art form’, another is an increase in the susceptibly of injury due to the misuse of safe dance practice and lastly we are seeing young social media users sensationalising popular young social media dancers to the point where they are sometimes celebrated more so than industry professional working dancers who have had numerous years of professional experience. Whilst there are many benefits to these Social Media platforms, it is arguably also a major reason for the evolving nature of the dance industry. Dance is a popular leisure sport.
According to 2012 census data, Dance is the most popular leisure sport in Australia for a young female aged between five and fourteen years old. With a 27. 1% participation rate, this is over one quarter of girls participating in dancing outside of school hours (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2012). One of the largest issues in the evolving dance industry is that dance is gradually becoming more about the acrobatics and the ‘trending’ movements more so than the artistry, passion and technique behind what makes a dancer great (Howard, 2018). Social media comes into play with this, as these platforms are a space where the extremities of any topic are held with such high regard and are often idolised; this is seemingly becoming the new normal as everyone tries to compete with one another for instant gratification.
Popular dance sensations on these platforms often display fancy moves on their profiles which leads to an increased following, more ‘likes’ and comments, more foot traffic and sometimes even monetary benefits. These often extreme and unrealistic moves are often pictures and videos of overstretching, overturning and over-jumping; usually out of context to an actual dance combination (Howard, 2018). These movements are quite un-useful when it comes to learning choreography at auditions for professional dance jobs and such moves usually only have their place in a recreational dance competition. However, with a good foundation of technique and alignment; tricks can often elevate a performance to the next level. Michael Dameskis’ performances on popular television shows such as ‘World of Dance’ and ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ are a classic example of this. His impeccable ballet technique, his phenomenal strength and his artistry paired with the occasional impressive move, is what makes him a world-class level dancer. Analysing this however, it’s easy to see how to the untrained eye, that these moves can overshine good technique and the beautiful simplicity of a well placed tendu. Social Media intercepts this notion through many of its users not having any proper dance training yet following these popular dance trends and without the proper technique training, one can fail to realise the fundamental importance of the foundation of good technique when attempting such advanced moves otherwise the individual attempting these can become more susceptible to injury (Whyte, 2015). The increase in injuries is even happening amongst many dancers with an adequate level of training (CITE). Many of the tricks we see in competition dance routines stem from the American competitive dance culture, where movements are derivative of advanced cheerleading and gymnastics (Howard, 2018). This style of competitive dance has become even more widespread since shows like ‘Dance Moms’ and ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ have televised in numerous countries, consequently prompting the research of medical dance experts to research and accumulate data to warn young dancers of the risks involved (Johnston, 2015).
This idea of including risky moves during performances in Contemporary and Modern dance is becoming more and more dominant throughout performances. However this make one question whether this makes a routine more powerful and confronting or whether it overshadows and detracts attention away from the initial concept or motif behind the performance. Risk taking is used in Cheer and Gymnastics to create a spectacle; On the other hand, Contemporary and Modern dance, pertains to more abstract ideas and concepts so generally there has to be a reason for employing risky moves during a dance performance (Dawkins, 2010). Furthermore, Social Media allows dancers to make money through their popularity. This popularity has arguably destabilized the already compromised foundations of the dance industry’s value system. Popular Lifetime reality television show ‘Dance Moms’ has turned many young dancers under the age of 18 into celebrities; some worth upwards of millions of dollars (CITE). These dancers, whilst talented are worth more than the likes of some of the most talented and celebrated Professional dancers in the world. Principal dancer and worldwide phenomenon Sylvie Guillem is currently the highest paid professional female ballet dancer in the world today and with a net worth of $850, 000, this does not even come close to Dance Moms star Chloe Lukasiak’s net worth of $6 million dollars (CITE). Because of the show, all the dancers from Dance Moms skyrocketed to celebrity status within a matter of the first few seasons. This then lead to the dancers gaining millions of followers on all social media platforms.
The problem with this was, due to social media, society has sensationalised these underage and part-time dancers that it has devalued the many years of professional experience from workers within the dance industry. Social Media is also a place where anyone can give advice and people will listen. Respected dance Physical therapist Lisa Howell states that “One of the main issues is that there are some very influential people offering advice and tutorials and, in the world of social media, everyone appears to be an expert” (Francis, 2016). Not only does this devalue the many years of study, training and experience it took for industry professionals to get to where they are, but it can also be quite unsafe as people will listen to a pre-adolescent dancer teach their thousands of followers how to do ‘over splits’.
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