Have you ever heard the words:
‘Please do not put this video up on Youtube!’
Maybe it was after a workshop or even after a social dance that you decided to record and the person being filmed walked up to you and said – ‘Please don’t post that video online!’
I decided to draw up a list of pro’s and con’s about online videos as this is one of the topics that interests me. Lets get to it….
It gives the dance style exposure:
Videos that have gone viral have given the scene more mainstream exposure and visibility than could ever have been thought possible. People will often come up to me and show me a video of lets say Albair & Sara or Isabelle & Felicien or Island Touch or Terry & Cecile. They would then be like – “Is this what you do? I want to learn.”
Such exposure is great as it gets more people interested in dancing. That can only be a good thing for the entire scene.
It gives the person being filmed exposure:
Say what you like about YouTube videos, but I would never have heard of 90% of the artists that I know today if it were not for YouTube.
A prime example; I have never met or seen Oliver Pineda and yet he has had such a major impact on my dancing. I own all his DVDs and have watched 100’s of his videos (be it shows, workshops, socials or even interviews). Watching him social dance opened up my eyes to so many possibilities especially around musicality. This was only possible because of YouTube.
It inspires dancers
In small and remote scenes, its hard to inspire people to take their dancing to the next level. All they are exposed to is their local scene made up of 32 people; 5 advanced dancers who are too jaded they rarely even make an effort when dancing, 21 intermediate dancers who are happy with the standard level that exists in their scene and then there are the 6 beginners who are still trying to figure out where the 1 is.
These scenes have very little in the form of inspiration and watching a NY social like Candela or a Paris social like SalSounds can inspire people from these small scenes to keep growing and take their dancing to the next level.
It allows you to research an artist
When I go to a Salsa festival, the first thing I do is look at the workshop programme to see who is teaching. The moment I see a name I don’t recognise, I go onto YouTube and find some of their videos. I watch their workshops and social dancing and if I like what I see, I will go for their workshop. If I don’t like what I see, I would rather get an extra hour sleep.
Best place to watch social dancing from around the World
There are people who attend festivals and basically record great social dances. If you are like me, the freedom and improvisation of social dancing is what you love about Salsa, to the point that I would take a great social dance over a great performance any day.
Thanks to YouTube, I have gotten the opportunity to virtually experience dance scenes all over the World, especially in Countries I may never have the opportunity to see.
It devalues events:
Most Artists come up with 1 show a year and a couple of workshop routines. They will then perform that show at every event throughout the year and teach those workshops at those same events. If their workshops and shows are put up on YouTube after the very first time they perform or teach it, that means that when they go to another country or event, people will have already seen the show online and watched and even taught themselves the workshop. This devalues events that are not debuting the routine.
It is an enabler for overconfident yet bad dancers:
There are plenty of people who do not go to classes or workshops any more because all they do is watch YouTube videos.
Is it possible to learn a move or combination from YouTube? Yes it is. However, most people don’t have the foundation and skill required to figure out the timing and technique required to execute the move correctly. This point is critical!
Learning from YouTube usually results in lousy and dangerous leads or follows on the dance-floor. So YouTube should definitely never be your primary learning mechanism.
It takes away from instructors income:
Teaching is usually the main form of an Instructors income. People pay to attend their classes in the local scene or for a pass to attend their workshops at festivals. If people stop attending classes because they are waiting on YouTube videos to be released by the people who actually attended and paid for the class, eventually that instructor will stop teaching and then there will be no one to learn from.
But what if you can’t afford the classes or the full pass? Then approach the instructor or the event organisers directly and have a chat. Organisers have volunteers who in exchange for doing some work at the event will allow you to attend the workshops & parties. Instructors in their individual capacity may be able to utilise you in their school or in some other way so that you both benefit. If you want to learn from them, there are other options apart from YouTube available to you.
So Pro’s and Con’s listed, time to answer the Question – To YouTube or not?
Well we live in the technology-age where a video can be edited & uploaded within a matter of minutes after its been shot. How practical is it that people can expect that videos of them wont find their way on-line?
To the people filming, I would say – respect the person that you are recording. If they would prefer for you to not post their video online, then you should respect that request.
However to the the person being filmed, you should know videos will find their way on-line whether you like it or not. YouTube is not going anywhere so maybe its time to adapt. Instead of fighting it, let it work for you. At the end of the video, plug your own dance school, website, social media or YouTube channel. Even organisers can ensure videos are filmed in-front of their own branding so people can see where these awesome videos are actually taking place.
As for all the YouTube watchers, with easy access should come some common sense. Watch the videos, be inspired by them and even learn from them! But do not try and replicate moves that are above your skill, technique and dance level. NEVER plagiarise workshops or shows as your own. While imitation is the greatest form of flattery, cheap knock off’s can never compare with the original.
Now tell me your thoughts – To YouTube or Not to YouTube? What Say you.