65 Scarborough Beach Rd North Perth

Has social media influenced how we express ourselves?

Tik-Tok is a social media, video sharing platform that has brought seemingly “non-creative” types from around the world to our screens.  “Tik-Tokers” are performing in such ways that the traditional performer would not necessarily think of. It’s created new trends and ways of expressing dance that conventional choreography on the stage or screen would not achieve.

“Savage” by Megan Thee Stallion has been one of the most popular songs on Tik-Tok. Thousands upon thousands of Tik-Tokers have uploaded 30-second dance routines to this song from around the world in so many creative ways. This is people spending weeks, if not months isolated inside watching someone else in their home living their best life in front of a camera and going hell for leather having a good time. “Tik Tokers” of all ages are inspiring thousands if not millions around the world to do the same.  Those who might not have had the courage to take up a dance class now will stand in front of a camera and dance to something their friends are doing. Social Media (especially in these uncertain times) is opening up a new world for the arts, specifically dance, in that it is showing us all just how diverse and unique every person is, and can be. And, that should be celebrated.

Megan Thee Stallion (taken from her Instagram @thestallion)

All of this may seem like a way to pass the time while in quarantine. But it is more than that.  The arts are instrumental in helping many people around the world battle mental health issues.  This idea has been published in various medical publications such as this one by BMC Public Health.  Yet the arts are deemed ‘non-essential’ by our government and mainstream media. The arts have surely proved to be essential in getting us all through this time of crisis.  Yet there are increasing costs to the arts such as the massive job losses in the arts industry during this pandemic, and now increased costs to Arts degrees. 

Without our dance classes, or music lessons – our means of ‘escape’ during this time, there has been an increased demand for mental health services.    It is safe to assume, that the arts, in all of its various forms has helped us all get through quarantine or lockdown or whatever you want to call it.  But yet it has been deemed non-essential. Despite theatres, pubs, clubs, dance studios, filming studios, movie theatres, theme parks, and more all being forced to close, we have sought our respite from the isolation through the arts thanks to social media bringing it into the palms of our hands in our isolated living rooms.   For all of its negatives, this is surely a positive outcome of social media, particularly Tik Tok and Instagram. 

So, what impact has art, specifically dance had on you these past few months in quarantine?
What would you have done without the viral Tik-Tok dances, or Youtube, Instagram and Facebook videos? What would you have done without the music, television, social media, books, etc?
Tik-Tok specifically has provided a very unique and nuanced group of users that otherwise may have not exposed themselves to the world but have managed to keep themselves, friends, family, and others somewhat sane during this pandemic. Like our motto at the Dance Workshop “It’s never too late to try something new” and our tag line “Inspiring Perth to Dance”  we think Tik-Tok epitomizes these statements inspiring people around the world by giving everyone a reason to try dance in the comfort and security their own living rooms.

Contribution by Jesse Smith