Technology and Dance
ZipDance was born to solve a variety of problems. Today I’m going to focus on just the one element of social interaction and how technology today is driving more and more people, further and further apart.
In many cases, social media has replaced human connection. When Facebook (and before that MySpace) was first created, they were successful because the founders recognized that the internet could be used as a powerful tool to bring people together. By allowing highlights of our lives to be shared, and connecting people (digitally) around the world. Grandma’s can now easily keep tabs on Grandkids. High School friends can easily stay connected even though miles apart. But, as I personally adopted the use of social media into my own life, I realized I was feeling less connected with others.. and not more connected. Why? because instead of meeting friends out for a fun live experiences, we would just chat the hours away on the various social platforms. Also, I was “meeting” people through dating sites, without ever ACTUALLY meeting them. Again, it was the equivalent of “reading” about great experiences rather than “having” great experiences. The result of my venture into dating apps and social media was actually LESS human connection and the relationships that I did build online seemed to have less staying power.
Throughout history humans have used dance as a form of courtship. Partner dance in particular has played an important historical role in the selection of suitable mates. For those with experience in partner dancing, you know that it takes a lot of teamwork to achieve success, communication between the leader (think Fred Astaire) and follower (think Ginger Rogers) can be excellent, or… a disaster. A strong lead that has no sensitivity to the follower, will inevitably be a jarring and unpleasant experience for a more nuanced follower. At the same turn, a follower who pays no attention to a leader’s guidance (nuanced or strong) will inevitably prove a frustration for the leader. both sides need to adapt, listen and learn to adjust their individual styles in order to move together gracefully on the dance floor. At the sametime, during the dance, both lead and follow are gaining other insights from the various other senses that are involved with personal attraction. Grooming, odor, rhythm, hygiene, manners, and general energy can all be experienced and evaluated during a 3 minute dance. This makes the dance hall a perfect way to utilize all of our observational senses creating far more accurate assessments of one’s potentialities as a mate. I challenge anyone to suggest a better or more complete way of “knowing” another person than that of dancing with them. Certainly a profile pic, or ones well crafted online profile description fails to deliver anything close to the honest truth that is revealed on the dance floor.
Now… how many times have you said (or heard someone say) “I have two left feet, and since I’m not a good dancer I can’t meet someone at a dance.” This is a tremendous mental stumbling block for many people who would otherwise be able to enjoy all the benefits of partner dancing if they could shed this idea. One needn’t be a superb or even good dancer to find one’s match in life on the dance floor. An experienced dancer may be very excited to take an eager beginner out for a spin and through mutual attraction, enjoy every minute of helping the newby partner improve their dance skills. I, personally, enjoy the innocence of the awkward first few dance steps… much in the way we all experience joy when we help a baby human take their first steps. It’s a joyful process, so beginners are usually welcomed with great joy into the dance world by those more advanced dancers.
On the flip side… Let’s say you are very attracted to the elegant dancer that is zipping around the dance floor with the greatest of ease. You finally work up the nerve to ask for a dance. you are clumsy and uncoordinated even when in the arms of the object of your desire. The graceful partner is rude and dismissive and ends the dance early. Well, you learned a lot about that person. First, they are RUDE and second, they have no PATIENCE…. Patience is a virtue that is required for all successful relationships. Your foray into dance has now given you insight that you certainly wouldn’t have gained had you met online, at a grocery store, gym, church function, pub, or party. All fine ways to meet people, but all pale when compared to taking a test drive around the dance floor.
ZipDance is striving to bring dance back into our social experience. With ZipDance, we hope our phone addicted society will use their phones to help them reconnect with people in the REAL WORLD. If you love Swing music but hate Salsa music, you probably shouldn’t be wasting your time courting a Salsa enthusiast on Tinder. Eventually, if you do fall in love with a Salsa dancer, you’ll HAVE to learn to Salsa dance (or at least have to listen to Salsa music) and in doing so you may eventually come to resent your partner’s love for it and potentially even come to resent your partner. If you like the music of Swing, then ZipDance will help you find suitable Swing dancers and I guarantee the result will be a much happier ending. Even if it doesn’t turn out to be a romantic connection. Your mutual love of Swing can build a long lasting dance friendship. So, no time wasted and lots of fun meeting people in the real world via ZipDance.