The dance world has undergone a huge make over since the pandemic. In this Blog, I tried to address the obvious, in the social dancing scene.
The most professionals who had the resources to sustain the 2 years managed to keep existing and sustaining after the pandemic. What went missing was a huge population of dancers at the Intermediate and Inter-advanced level that chose to come back after the pandemic. They had invested so many years into dancing as a non-professional or semi-professional activity and it was a huge part of their life. Due to the pandemic and a huge break, many sort after other activities and changed their priorities of life. Dancing wasn’t their high anymore. This seemed to be a universal effect across the dance communities. I would be very curious to know what they are doing right now.
There are 2 outcomes from this change of priorities. One group of this population who kept the dance scene alive will never come back to it and the other potential group will slowly come back to dancing provided they feel the environment conducive for them again.
After the pandemic, we also notice there has been an increased response and interest towards dancing like never before. After being stuck inside 4 walls there is a bigger need for people to socialise and to feel alive. There is nothing better to this than social dancing! Also, with exponential exposure to social media, the idea of dancing has hit more population than ever before. It just not restricted to the few top cities in each country, but it has moved a lot to the 2nd tier cities and even smaller towns. There is an extreme imbalance in the quality of dancing level as there is an immense high population of beginners.
In terms of social dancing, there is a huge imbalance in terms of quality. There are these top-notch dancers and then there are beginners. The connecting population of Intermediate dancers is visibly missing and that is the problem that needs to be fixed. Every section of the dance population plays an important role to keep the social dancing alive and evolving. The intermediate dancers were the bridge between the starters and the advanced dancers who get inspired from the top and pass the inspiration to the lowest levels. The only way solution to the imbalance is to fill this VOID.
There are 2 ways to fill this gap – The influx of beginners eventually become intermediate dancers; The intermediate dancers who created the void needs to come back. Both are going to be a long process. But when we know the solution to problem it is easy to work towards it.
Since the community is filled with a lot of Newcomers, it is important to inspire them and show the right guidance especially with over of information on social media and uprise of a lot of unexperienced teachers.
It is also important for the professionals to keep up with the principles and values and not give in to the urge of new trends and demands trying to compete with the new teachers.
A better approach would be to also guide and mentor the new teachers provided the latter are willing to accept.
It is hard to mix the beginners and advanced dancers as it kills the joy for both sections. More classes and events should be planned exclusively for the respective levels until the Void is filled or the gap is reduced.
Since the Advanced Teachers have lesser population to cater to, it is also important that they step down to reach out to the beginners and bring the level up.
Dancing must be pushed more educationally as it was always done before the pandemic rather than just a fun element as it is promoted now. This will bring a lot more longevity to one’s purpose to dancing than connect to dancing superficially.
If you have more ideas and suggestions, you are welcome to suggest in the comments.
The New age!
Right after the Pandemic, there is another obvious phenomenon that is seen across the world. The age of new Instructors and organisers. I am going to keep this topic for another time!
About the Author: My Name is Arun Pauer, founder & Director of Salsa Madras. I have been in teaching social dance for about 15 years and has travelled to over 20 countries for dancing & teaching.