Media & Communication

Heather Fox

'I Learned that Dance on YouTube':

YouTube as a Supplement for Dance Education

This essay recommends YouTube, the popular video-sharing site, as an addition to formal Western dance education. Dance has already made a place for itself on YouTube; the most-watched video on the site, for example, features dance. With "How To" postings like the "Crank That" dance by rap artist Soulja Boy, people are learning (and spreading) popular dance through YouTube videos. In some respects, this is nothing new: The paper traces the rich history of the dance and technology relationship. But YouTube, the paper argues, is a new kind of performance space-from amateur to professional-and a largely untapped resource for dance educators. The paper explores three examples of how YouTube can be used to supplement the teaching of dance technique and performance, dance history, and dance as related to popular culture and the world. With such a vast and various array of videos, YouTube promises to greatly enhance dance education.