This article describes the ways that different dance companies are using social media to engage with their audiences.
How the dance world is developing digitally
As a hugely vibrant and diverse medium, dance lends itself easily to the world of technology and social media. Perhaps most importantly, it's something that everyone can take part in, watch and appreciate whatever their age, location or background.
Emilia Spitz and Linda Uruchurtu, joint founders of website The Ballet Bag and creative studio Lume Labs, have been named among the '100 Best Arts Tweeters' by The Times. They told us 'Dance is an amazing medium, not only because of the rich pool of content out there, but also for its potential for true audience engagement. Most of the work we've been doing in arts consultancy has been targeted at dance organisations and dance individuals to help them connect with audiences through social media, and we're always amazed at the synergies between dance and creative technology.'
There are many examples of how dance companies and individual dancers and choreographers have embraced online outlets such as Twitter, blogging and YouTube, from Sergei Polunin's tweets last year about his sudden exit from The Royal Ballet, to Diablo Ballet's mission to create a Ballet via social media with The Web Ballet. Diablo Ballet has also adopted the growing enthusiasm among US performance venues for 'tweet seats' by introducing live tweet nights at performances.
The Providence Performing Arts Center says the goal of its tweet seats is to 'engage theatregoers on social media, and build extra excitement for shows', while the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis aims to encourage deeper interaction with their performances. A flurry of social media activity can help with ticket sales, as Andrew Goldberg from the Adrienne Arsht Center says, 'If you get a tweet from a friend, 'you've got to check this out!' you're more likely to go check it out than if we tell you.'
The Norwich venue, the Garage, in the UK announced this year that it has designated a section in its gallery for tweeters. However, just 10% of participants in an online poll by The Guardian in March 2012 indicated an acceptance of live tweeting at the theatre. With the urge to instantly share experiences with the wider world just too urgent for some to wait until the interval, perhaps tweet seats are inevitable and do, at least, help to minimise disturbance to other theatre-goers by herding the tweeters together.
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