I define social dance as “an art form that is defined by dance performances held in a multi-faceted setting, which are primarily directed towards social interaction with others as opposed to entertainment.” Social dance “applies different forms of dance performance within a social setting, to bring people together from various social, economic, and political backgrounds and provides a sense of belonging in a community of people who share a common passion as well as common interests. Some of these forms include musical dance, storytelling, theater, film, video game, and even other kinds of dance.”
Social dancing has become more of an emerging artform, and therefore I don’t necessarily see a problem with calling it a practice that’s emerging. It also might be an art form that might become a trend!
What are some examples of social dancing that you like?
The one I mention most to get the ball rolling is at the annual San Francisco International Social Dance Festival. This is an all-ages dance festival that attracts people who typically aren’t involved in dance but are intrigued by the social dynamics of social dancing, such as the dance scene in the city and a sense of community and pride for dancing. What I like about the festival is that there are all kinds of social dances, including some that involve no dancing at all. The most common is a “Catch & Release” type dance where people dance around behind people while releasing to each other and everyone else. It is one of the most popular dances at the festival and I also love that it’s done with no props either. I’d also encourage you to visit the social dance blog on Facebook called the Social Shmooze. The blog discusses social dance in the area and it also is a great place to find out where and when you can go.
I’ve also mentioned the Festival of Social Dancing. Social dancing, to me, has to be a part of community for it to be enjoyable. There are lots of social dance websites out there such as danceable.net; the biggest one is probably dancingwithclotheshow.com. In addition, a lot of social dancing is also done with props. What I’m talking about is “stunts”, but the word “stunt” is usually used to describe a dance that is in reality very low on the scale of social dance where there’s very little dance and almost no props, which is why the term is so hard to define – because, honestly, it’s really hard to define – even if you try