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ballet tweet

“Social Dancing”

Editor’s note: DancePulp welcomes The Ballet Bag! Here is Emilia and Linda’s first guest post. More guest posts from The Ballet Bag and others to come.

A few months ago ballet and Twitter appeared together in the same front page article in the New York Times. Entitled ‘Ballet Stars Now Tweet as Well as Flutter‘ and illustrated with a photo of NYCB’s Ashley Bouder tweeting during a rehearsal break, the article by Gia Kourlas argued that Twitter is “starting to change the public face of ballet (…) making ballet dancers human.”

In our fast growing social media landscape, Twitter is one among many channels where dance professionals and audiences can meet, hang out in virtual space and make key connections. In his recent interview for Dance Pulp ABT soloist Daniil Simkin described the viral potential of YouTube videos; how uploading his own content gave him a chance to be “stumbled upon” and how this helped him early in his career.

In our fast growing social media landscape, Twitter is one among many channels where dance professionals and audiences can meet, hang out in virtual space and make key connections.
The Ballet Bag

We were reminded of Simkin’s online strategy recently when a talented young choreographer with fresh and original ideas about ballet asked us for advice on increasing exposure of one’s work in the web. Was having an official site enough? What other advice and tips could we give? This is a question we often get when we talk to people who work in the dance world. Long hours in rehearsal and performance mean they have limited time to spend on the internet. Often they are not clear on the benefits of blogging, tweeting, facebooking, VYou’ing and the advantages of social media marketing in general.

The evolution of the world wide web has built bridges and made it possible for everyone to find novelty ways to communicate and influence. A big part of our project at The Ballet Bag consists of trying to understand and alter negative public perception of ballet, so for us social media is a key ingredient. Setting up a website is important but, unless that site is also being used as a blogging platform, it is the equivalent of a business card. Social media is where we hand out that card, where we can promote content but also make key connections, scout for hot topics, understand readers’ opinions and expectations. It’s where we can also take part in interesting conversations.

If you are trying to promote your work in the arts field and have a direct connection with your audience and your online presence is limited to a static website and a personal Facebook account, then perhaps it’s time to broaden your horizons, make the most of the time you spend online and become an active voice:

Tips for maintaining an effective online presence:

1) Watch, Learn, Do

Observe what your peers are already doing online, identify where your audience and potential networks are based and be there. Pick a channel that works for you and stick with it. There is no use setting up a Twitter account or Facebook page to promote your work only to abandon it once the novelty wears off. If you are not keeping a regular flow of posts and interesting content all the buzz you generated will die off quickly. Keep the momentum going.

2) Yes, but which one?

If you are already on Facebook, extending your presence beyond a personal profile into a “Page” allows you to post links, upload photos and videos to be shared outside your immediate network of friends.

If you can’t live without your smartphone and have limited time online then Twitter is for you.

If you are good with words, then go the blog way. There are plenty of user-friendly but fully customizable platforms (eg. Blogger and WordPress). If you want to blog short posts with mixed media then Tumblr might be perfect.

Video Conversation platform Vyou is still in Beta testing but already looks like an interesting option for those who like to give advice. See Ashley Bouder in action on Vyou.

3) Engagement is key

People don’t like to talk to a wall. Engaging back and responding to questions and comments are key to building up and maintaining an effective presence online. Start or drop into an existing conversation (eavesdropping is completely acceptable on Twitter).

4) Be Yourself

What makes you and your work unique is what will keep people reading your content and engaging back.

5) Don’t Panic & Take Your Time

Keep in mind that opportunities do not pop out of social media overnight. If you focus on being creative and finding people with the same interests, projects and collaborations will follow in due course. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice or support. We’ve all been there. Ask a friend, a colleague or leave a comment here.

In short, an active online presence fosters relationships and potential collaborations. Social media changed the way we connect, removing barriers and formalities. We now have the chance to use it for effective marketing as well; to pursue opportunities or, as Daniil rightly says, to be stumbled upon.

Post by The Ballet Bag

The Ballet Bag is an online resource for the best of ballet around the web: performances, companies, dancers, interviews and other websites. With the aim to “Give Ballet a New Spin” and make it more accessible editors Emilia and Linda write original content that mashes up the world of dance with pop culture. They use social media to network with dance fans, companies, dancers, writers, bloggers, etc. sharing what’s good, fun and interesting in the balletsphere.

Comments (9)

  1. Daniil Simkin September 22, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    Thumbs up and thanks for the mention :)
    Cheers from the city of love!

  2. Andrea September 29, 2010 at 4:07 am

    Hey nice post! I was a dancer too in Italy and France also with Bejart before injuring. Now I’m passionate of communication staff like twitter and as a lot of artist here in France I think ballet dancer too need to create their community, not only for them, but to share the real world of dance every day life (every day less understood by folks).

    @Daniil try to talk about that to some dancers of Opera de Paris man!

    • Drew Jacoby September 29, 2010 at 2:57 pm

      Andrea,

      Social media is so important for ballet, and hopefully Paris Opera Ballet will eventually realize that! They could engage with such a broader audience. I think they’ll come around! But they might not feel the need since they have such prestigious audience. I’m going to keep my eyes peeled for French tweets! :)

  3. Rubtschilf September 29, 2010 at 11:06 am

    Ahahahahahah,
    I’ll tell you what:
    They entitled a week on Forsythe’s works and beside the etòile was a very acclaimed dancer (well, it’s fair to say that most people of the public know only one famous dancer) the Teather was half empty because it wasn’t a famous ballet like the omnipresent Tchaikovsky works. There were just three pieces and the last was performed by the “Star”.
    If at the first two pieces intendors (wrtining on newsblankets..) of ballet escaped from their mouth that they didn’t enjoied it and that the coreography was “too modern for my taste (aka sucks)” twisting lips as schisms between their wrinkles (ahahaha, I have to admit that ballet it’s not my favourite and that I don’t follow much the new “Dance scene” (sic!), but Forsythe, modern in the XXI siècle..); at last, when ‘He’ compared they transformed (and half of the public was indicating par hazàrd the dancers saying “That is he? or that one”..) and they creeped on the rose of their seats to clap him who made only half of the show.
    At the end I tried to collect some comments of the ballet, just for fun, and the pleasent answer was (told me by people who are used to be part of the high critics), “The ballet ‘sucks’ (do you imagine a women in mink coat using the two fingers to make the ” symbol insted of the usual “the pièce was so stunning..”?), but He, was terrific, so charming, so exosting to the eyes.”
    And the Theater was alla Scala and He was…. well who possibily he would be…
    So, the moral is that if you want to catch on pepole on the dance using some marketing outcasts as to gain a certain charm and a sort of halo (and gladio) of fascination at the eyes of the simples (that are not only internet media) you can, but it say wery much about how poor it’s the state of the art that is forced to base its name on the charm of the dancers because ballet itself it’s stink to death by the so-called creations and to be revitalized need an “Hitchhikers guide to how autopromote yourself” when this kind of fame is well known to others ‘classical’ (if you allow me this definition) artists and they disguise it beacuse it’s symbol of modern to-be stupidity.
    Come on.

  4. Steve Bunday August 13, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    Does your website have a contact page? I’m having trouble locating it but, I’d like to shoot you an e-mail. I’ve got some suggestions for your blog you might be interested in hearing. Either way, great website and I look forward to seeing it develop over time.

  5. Bboy Styll November 12, 2011 at 10:46 pm

    I checked out a few dance social media sites like choreoclip.com and I came across one that I really like. The idea is similar to the other ones but I found that this one is more user friendly and simple. I don’t need another facebook so I just want it to be for dance. You can view the content before registering so you can see what you’re signing up for. You guys can see for yourself at http://www.byondx.com

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