Dance 2.0

panta rei dans lullaby

Video - Panta Rei Danseteater 'Lullaby'

Norwegian dance company Panta Rei Danseteater, late last year, conducted a little experiment whereby three dance makers created two pieces with the same name based on the same idea, featuring three male dancers and two musicians, to see what the outcome was.

June 2nd, 2016

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By Michelle Lefevre

The internet is growing up, sort of, with a new wave of so-called Web2.0 websites flooding into the online space offering services as diverse as video storage to printing business cards from your holiday snaps in three easy stages.

Such sites differ from the boring old ways of Web1.0 (watch it! Ed!) because they are user driven, interactive and, in a lot of cases, utterly pointless and offer things only those with a degree in Geek could possibly want.

Here we offer some analysis of four of the most popular of these sites to try and determine how many of them, if any, could possibly be of any use to dance in its eternal search for relevance in the modern world.

YouTube.com

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What could dance use it for? - Free storage of video content for viewing by the good old general public.

What is it? - YouTube is the most successful of the user powered video sites on the internet. Literally anybody with a free user account can upload their video material to the site for all the world to see. The sheer volume of video footage available is matched only by its diversity. From cats vomiting on children to serious news broadcasts (uploaded in violation of copyright but we’ll brush past that) it can all be found somewhere on YouTube and the whole site is surprisingly free of advertising, that may soon change if the site is sold.

PR companies are using it for stealth advertising, big corporations use it to discredit opponents of their companies but for the most part it is the site where you watch stupid people doing equally stupid things to one another or to themselves. The most popular video on the site is a rather unfunny parody of dance through the ages (the irony is so thick you can taste it) which has apparently been watched 33 million times. The next most popular video is a couple of ‘wacky’ teenagers singing the theme tune to the Pokemon cartoons, watched by 16 million people (you couldn’t make this up if you tried).

The Good - Storage is free and you will have ready made access to a vast user base of viewers to promote your company or whatever it is your working on at the time. Videos can be rated and commented on by users for feedback and videos can be embedded in other websites fairly easily.

The Bad - You have no control over the quality of the final uploaded video, that’s handled automatically by the server, and the finished product when online is less than spectacular. The vast user base is more interested in watching cats vomit and educationally challenged teens singing crap songs, there’s a very good chance that your video will be drowned out by the noise. YouTube also has an overbearing rights management clause in their terms of use so you have little control over how your work is used.

[ YouTube ]

Digg.Com

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What Could Dance Use It For? - Promote your work or ideas to people who would probably never know you existed.

What Is It? - Digg is labeled as a “user driven social content website”. What this means is that the site itself produces absolutely no content, everything is provided by its army of users in the form of links and short summaries to content on other websites. If other users like the link you have provided then they ‘Digg’ it by clicking on the button next to each story. If enough people ‘Digg’ your story then more people will see it and they will either ‘Digg’ it or not (enough with the Digging already! Ed!)

The idea behind the site is that the users act as the editors and push stories they care about to the front page so they can gain more coverage. At present the site limits itself to a rather small set of subjects you can ‘Digg’ but this may well change in the future. The arts is not one of the subjects they cover but technology and politics are so there may be a way in for dance companies depending on the type of work you do.

The Good - It's easy to use and could possibly expose your company or your work to users that would never think to check it out.

The Bad - Sites like Digg tend to be dominated by a small number of users and their friends. Digg has come under strong criticism for making it all too easy for this to happen and doing very little about it.

Good stories tend to get lost in the noise and a lot of the stories that gain popularity are important to tech-heads and geeks but nobody else (who gives a damn how you get a screen saver on your iPod?)

The current top story for this month is labeled as an ’Hilarious’ how-to on getting your stories to the front page of Digg (yes, once again with the irony). Sadly it’s neither funny nor well written but that didn’t stop the Digg drones hitting the vote button almost 5,000 times.

Some good stuff does get through but the problem is the same as YouTube, signal noise!

[ Digg ]

Flickr

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What could dance use it for? - Promoting your company or your work with images, online storage of high resolution photographs for press or publicity purposes.

What is it? - In the Web2.0 world Flickr is the shining star that leads the pack in terms of both ease of use and the benefits it can provide to casual users and professionals alike.

Flickr is an online photo storage website that allows you to share your photos with the world or keep them private between yourself and a few friends. The sites ease of use is one of its strongest features. Uploading images is a snap using either a web browser or the myriad of free applications that will handle the task for you.

Once online your images can be organised into albums, users can comment on them, you can add them to a myriad of groups to increase their exposure, images can be hot-linked straight into your own website and an awful lot more. One of Flickr’s newest features is Geo Tagging. Basically you can pinpoint your images, using built in maps, to where they were taken. If your company is on a world tour then creating an interactive, virtual photo tour of your company is a simple excercise.

The Good - So simple to use even your cat couldn’t mess it up. Unlimited storage of your photos and almost unlimited bandwidth to serve those pictures to others. Easy blogging features, sharing features, Geo Tagging features, desktop tools and so much more, all for free. Flickr’s uploading system also means that you have full control over the size and quality of your images.

The Bad - Non ‘Pro’ accounts are limited in how much data you can upload per month and the number of albums is limited to three. A ‘Pro’ account costs just $29 per year though.

[ Flickr ]

MySpace.com (technically not Web2.0 but still)

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What could dance use it for? - Blatant self promotion of your company or yourself via the worlds largest social networking site.

What is it? - If you don’t know what MySpace is then it's time to get your head out of the box you keep it in and re-attach it. No other site on the internet attracts criticism and praise in equal measure more than this Rupert Murdoch owned behemoth.

The site boasts tens of millions of active users with tools that enable you to upload music, video, blogs, personal profiles and lots more. The sites inhabitants are all about one thing, making lots of virtual friends that they will never meet (at least not if they’re smart) and that's pretty much it. The whole site is all about self promotion and base level communication.

The Good - In terms of arts promotion; some musicians have found it useful for promoting what they do and where they are doing it. MySpace has a special ‘musicians’ account. Potential exposure to massive user base.

The Bad - Web sites created with MySpace are, without doubt, utterly atrocious from a visual and usability point of view and your personal space is more likely to frighten potential audience members instead of making them like you. There are some hacks available to make it look nicer but your average user could care less about doing such things even if they could figure out how they work.

How the finished site looks is nothing compared to the hideous user interface that allows you to add all of your content. Every single page is covered in advertising and the terrible user controls are as bad as they are so the site can serve more advertising. Dance makers without the patience of a saint or the self control of a Buddhist Monk will quickly throw their computer out of the window.

[ MySpace ]

Summary

Potentially, the dance profession could get something out of all of these websites if they had the patience to persevere. Apart from Flickr though most Web2.0 sites (and there and thousands more of them) are geared to technology related industries. People who spend all day working in front of computers are, on the whole, the type of people who use and interact with these sites.

For a site like Digg to become relevant to the arts, people who are interested in the arts would have to know that the site existed and use it in sufficient numbers to really make an impact. The same goes for YouTube and MySpace and to a lesser degree, Flickr.

For the time being, here at Article19, we don’t see that happening until the concept of Digg, YouTube, et al becomes a regular part of everybody’s reading and viewing habits. For the moment get yourself a Flickr account because that’s the only one of this bunch that could really help you at the moment.

One final site we should make you aware of is Upcoming.org. We use it for listings, take a wild guess what you could use it for?

[ Upcoming ]

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