Dance is one of those things that’s hard to explain with just words. You need a guide. Dance is learned by doing.
I know this from experience. I began dancing at the age of six. Ballet was my favorite class. I can remember taking a field trip to see the Nutcracker in third grade. It was one of my most fond memories growing up. Now a twenty-something graduate student, I take dance classes at a local studio.
The WikiProject:Dance covers all genres of dance, not just ballet. Dance relies heavily on instruction. You must be taught to learn the positions of your feet in ballet or how to master a piourette turn. As a young dancer, I learned these things from my instructor, Mrs. Nina.
WikiProject dance also offers a glossary of ballet techniques. When I read the descriptions on the page, I didn’t really understand what technique was being explained. That’s coming from someone with more than 15 years of experience. I can only imagine what it would be like for someone who does not have an extensive background in dance or who doesn’t speak French.
For this reason, I focused on adding short video tutorials to the WikiProject to add a visual element to the laundry list of techniques. It will make the words come alive. Wikipedians will be able to read the description and watch it at the same time.
I’m pursuing a master’s degree in journalism. Most of my class work involves shooting and editing video. When reporting in the field, it’s just me out there. I’m the writer, editor, photographer and reporter. These skills came in handy when I recorded myself dancing for the short videos.
If someone would like to continue with the project, they could post videos of other dance techniques. It would be ideal to have a video or picture for each of the glossary terms. It would also be good to shoot short videos or pictures of dance performances (with the permission of the dance company, of course.) I saw a few gifs on dance pages. I’m not sure if the uploading part is different for gifs, but it would be cool to add more.
My goal for the project was to contribute to the Wikipedia glossary of ballet page and help others learn dance and allow them to develop a better understanding of what the technique is and how to perform it. My mission was accomplished. It was a small portion, but it’s a great start.
It’s very interesting to know that the seven videos that I uploaded to the Wikipedia Commons can be used by anyone with access to a computer. To know that I played a part in making Wikipedia the community that it is, is rewarding.
I’m really proud of what I learned in this course. The skills that I learned about researching, the role Wikipedia plays in media and mark-up language, will better prepare me for my career.
Links to videos in Creative Commons: