The Wider Community of Ballroom Dancing
There is no escaping the fact that ballroom dancing does not have the popularity as a pastime it once did, despite Strictly Come Dancing. There was reportedly a brief surge in newcomers during Strictly’s first couple of years (when the celebrities’ performances looked achievable), but that is now replaced by passionate spectatorship rather than direct involvement. Where Strictly has really provided a boost is that we are now able to hold our heads high in public, whereas before it wasn’t the sort of thing we talked about (except to known sympathisers). I even had office colleagues coming to me to ask where they might get lessons!
The ballroom dancing world is an integrated economy, with each part in some way dependent on all the others. You might think your local village hop is entirely independent, but it needs somebody knowledgeable to run it, and it needs adequate attendance to keep it running. Knowledge is only gained by a wider experience than that one village hop, and new dancers are always needed to replace “natural wastage”. Where do new dancers come from? Only those interested enough to learn, and willing to pay for lessons – which needs teachers, who need to be trained, and must themselves have enough students that they can pay their bills... etc, etc, etc.
Connecting with the wider dancing community also adds weight to those who represent the world of dance in local, national, and international decision making. Without well-maintained suitable floors available in community buildings, where could we dance? As it has become uneconomical for commercial interests to run dance halls (gone are the Palais de Danses and Mecca Ballrooms), we need recognition and support as “a good thing” at government level. How many hotel ballrooms have been carpeted over, or made unavailable for dance holidays at weekends, now hotels are permitted to be (economically attractive) wedding venues?
The point is: if you want to be able to continue enjoying
dancing, to enjoyable music at attractive venues arranged by people
willing to put
themselves out on your behalf, you
need to support (and be supported by) the whole ballroom dancing
economy – even if you don’t think the International Championships at
the Royal Albert Hall are anything to do with you.
Indirectly, to some extent, the International Championships are
dependent on you, and
dependent on the International Championships. As is Strictly.
Register with the Ken’s Classic Trax email list to
receive updates about the website or events. I might also be
asked to inform as many people as possible of a cancelled event, but
note that I cannot use my
mailing list to promote your
dance, because I don’t have the subscribers’ permission for that.
A “blog” (short for “web log”) is a vehicle for personal musings relevant to the subject in hand (or sometimes apropos to nothing at all!). My blog is a scribble pad for information and opinion relevant to this web site in particular, or ballroom dancing in general, and I will try to provide the sort of information newcomers to the ballroom won’t know and isn’t commonly available anywhere else!
FAQ: “Frequently Asked
Questions” - a section on a web site
to provide general information… but typically a misnomer for answers
to questions the authors believe people might ask, or questions they
would like to be asked! It originated as a means to avoid
reply to the same queries over and over again. If I do get
asked frequently, or answers are worth publicising, I'll put
Like it or loath it, Facebook provides a “community noticeboard” through which groups can announce themselves and reach an audience... but it is a closed shop, and to view any information you might be interested in you have to be a member of Facebook itself. Inexperienced Internet users can be put off by that, but it is second-nature to the younger generation who just accept it as the norm to run their lives on-line, and it is practically essential that any organisation wishing to reach the younger age groups does not ignore Facebook (or whatever vehicle happens to be the “in thing”).
Even the most timid can participate in Facebook: there is no need to post anything about yourself, we don’t need to know what you had for breakfast or where you are going on holiday – and despite Facebook’s demands that you supply personal information for their records (which might leak out), you can get away with supplying ficticious details and protect your anonimity (just make a note of them in case of future queries).
As you should have realised by now, my aim is to promote
dancing in general and not just the odd occasion when I might be
running a dance myself. If you are with me on that, and if
you are a member of Facebook, help spread
the word by
subscribing to (“liking”) the Ken’s Classic Trax Facebook page.
you will also be able to (if you wish) comment on this website and
discuss the blog posts.
This is a web site well worth bookmarking if you are a keen dancer (of many styles – not just ballroom), and want to know what is available in your area or further afield.
AYD provides a directory in which organisers can list themselves, and a calendar for their events. Select your dance styles of interest, and location, and see what’s available. Sign up (for free) to receive a listing of the next fortnight’s events that match your selection, weekly by email.
Be aware that, although more and more ballroom dance organisers are listing on AYD, not all do – particularly those with a very local reach and/or full attandances!
For the dancer, AYD provides a voluntary service – and membership is free. Organisers can list themselves and their events for free, but the cost of running the web site is funded by offering priority listings (and other premium services) in return for a modest annual fee.
I have no hesitation in commending AYD to dancers and organisers alike, as a means to reach the wider dancing community and promote the thrill of dance instead of remaining in isolated little groups.
Copyright notice: All content on this web site (design, text, graphics, and images) copyright Ken Wood except where otherwise stated. All rights reserved. "Great Vibes" typeface by courtesy of Google/TypeSETit.