There is a new trend in dance where everyone seems obsessed with achieving the splits in a short period of time (some youtube videos state that it is achievable in a day) or contort their body as a measure of ‘talent’. The instantaneous unrealistic results can cause high risk of injury and the individuals uploading demos are doing so without considering the long term health risk of young dancers. Youtube and blogs allow anyone to disseminate tips and offer advice which is freely available to young people. Information is provided by individuals with no requirement of training or knowledge. Digital education is changing the dissemination of knowledge, as dancers no longer learn from a teacher who is considered an expert and holder of all knowledge in that subject. The access to social media creates an environment where a competitive culture is created and there is no vetting of technical abilities, knowledge and understanding. Particular TV shows like ‘Dance Moms’ celebrate hyper mobility, tricks, and contortion alongside dramatic and unhealthy environments which puts a lot of pressure on the young dancer. The young dancers health and wellbeing is out under strain as they try everything possible to resemble their online idols. Thus in turn puts pressure on dance schools and teachers to deliver similar results. Dance schools providing technique in various styles feel pressurised from a business point of view to keep their dancers happy by offering class that may stretch their capabilities. However, If they don’t get the provision in the safety of the tutor led environment then dancers unfortunately turn to Youtube where the teacher or young vlogger can not correct, provide feedback or ensure safety. Now while I welcome online education and the open access to knowledge which overcomes boundaries for individuals that may not have the privilege, the change from education to ‘learnification’ takes away some of the learning from the expert or educator that can guarantee quality.
Biesta, G. (2012) Giving teaching back to education: responding to the disappearance of the teacher. Phenomenology & Practice. 6(2), pp.35-49.