Meredith & Harold

ROUND DANCING — CHOREOGRAPHED BALLROOM

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YouTube DanceDemos

by Paul & Jean Zimmer

Have you heard of the DanceDemos YouTube channel? This publicly available resource provides high-quality, clean-audio demos of popular dances, primarily at the Phase 2/3/4 level. The DanceDemos videos are on YouTube, which makes them easy to find and easy to share with fellow dancers -- and friends who might become fellow dancers.

Experienced dancers may be well aware of the value of demo videos in learning new dances. For new dancers, videos are just as powerful a learning tool. Just watching the demo will help cement the new figures in their minds. This leads to greater success with less effort -- and higher retention rates.

But the DanceDemos channel can be much more -- it can be a source of inspiration for new dancers. It gives them a place to explore all our wonderful activity has to offer -- the many rhythms, the musical variety, and the various levels. To this end, we also include videos of higher-level dances -- as a source of inspiration and as a glimpse of just how far one can go in Choreographed Ballroom.

And, being a public channel, we hope to reach non-dancers as well. Keep in mind -- we don’t need to recruit them right away to be successful. The key is to break through the veil of obscurity that is such a hindrance to the success of our activity. Once they’ve seen a video or two, they know that cued ballroom dancing exists, so that the next time they see it, it seems familiar. It’s just another form of ballroom dancing. And then one day, they see an ad or a flyer and maybe decide to give it a try. Familiarity can help improve the effectiveness of everyone’s advertising.

Since its launch in July of 2018, the DanceDemos channel has grown by leaps and bounds. We now have more than 100 videos and get 20,000 views per month for a total of more than 700 hours of watch time – every month. We just exceeded 500 subscribers, and we’re adding more than a subscriber per day.

And it’s all absolutely free. Although music copyright holders may insert ads if they wish, neither we nor any of our demo dancers make any money from the channel. We’re doing this to help rebuild the lower levels and keep our activity healthy. So, please, help spread the word. DanceDemos is intended to help teachers attract and retain new dancers -- and new dancers are something we sorely need these days.

If you’d like to suggest dances we should add (dances frequently being taught), you can reach us at DanceDemos@gmail.com.

We have recently launched a related project -- the DanceDemos Underground. This is our attempt to bring another feature, the ability of teachers to easily find and evaluate new choreography, to the lower levels. For lower-level choreographers, however, there may be some reluctance to post demo videos of their new dances publicly. So, we have made DanceDemos Underground a private resource available only to choreographers and teachers (not to the public and not to dancers). No special videography skills are required. Simple, home-made videos shot from a smartphone and unedited in any way are perfectly acceptable. We just want to make it easy for teachers to find and evaluate new choreography.

We also hope that this forum can make it easier for new dances to gain wide-spread adoption, thus encouraging choreographers to work, or continue to work, at the lower levels (higher-level dances are accepted too).

It’s all about attracting and retaining new dancers. When we do attract a new dance couple, we want them to experience the very best choreography and music that our activity has to offer. And that means their teacher has to be able to find and evaluate new choreography the same way high-level teachers do -- by watching videos.

To join the DanceDemos Underground, just send an email to DanceDemosUnderground@gmail.com and specify whether you want to join as a teacher or as a choreographer. You’ll need a Google account (a gmail address) and, if you want to participate in the discussion group on Facebook, a Facebook account. These type of projects need to reach critical mass as quickly as possible, so, if you’ve got new choreography, or you know someone who does, please join DanceDemos Underground and post a video. Help get this process rolling.

Many thanks to the demo dancers, cuers, and others who have helped make the DanceDemos dream a reality!

From ICBDA Dancer's Gazette, Quarterly #3, March, April, May 2020, and reprinted in the Dixie Round Dance Council (DRDC) Newsletter, April 2020.



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If you would like to read other articles on dance position, technique, styling, and specific dance rhythms, you may visit the article TOC.



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Past DRDC Educational Articles archived here.

Aditional articles and dance helps by
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Gert-Jan & Susie Rotscheid (see Notebook)



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