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Commentary about dancing on Zoom with the Radical Faeries

 

Last Saturday I went dancing. Virtual dancing using Zoom, but I also experienced the limits of this experience. I found myself missing the real world dance floors I've experienced; such as at Rumors in recent years before the corona virus shutdown.
There is a difference between looking at a screen and being immersed in the experience. In real dancing, the people, lights, music and so forth is all around. Online, it's contained in a screen. As technology evolves, more immersive online experiences can happen.
Having said that, it was a reasonably good experience. Folks dancing in front of their webcams. I was dancing also, but felt a bit funny doing it in my small apartment. I did work up somewhat of a sweat; like aerobics online.

The Faeries have some other things on Zoom such as a talent show and personal sharing spaces called "heart circles."
How they choreographed the dance was by placing the image from each webcam up on the feed as the main image. These images would change frequently. I was on for a few brief periods.
I kept looking out the window at the sunny day outside. I thought, maybe I'd rather be biking somewhere. Biking is an immersive, all around, off the screen experience as well. One that doesn't rely on being in crowded spaces; such as dance floors.
Actually, some dance floors aren't that crowded. One can spread out in large dance studios with a small number of people relative to the space. Dancing happens in parks during summer months with outdoor music, but I think the local park dances have been cancelled in this area. Public officials don't want to take the chance of people being too close spreading the virus.
Often, at park dances, the park is quite crowded. The crowds are bigger than they necessarily have to be and most of the crowd is sitting in lawn chairs listening to the music. Those events are fun, but risky. Maybe they could be recreated in a smaller scale with less of a crowd and people more spaced.
I was going to say, "more spaced out," but that has a different context.
Meanwhile the cyber dance, I did yesterday was good in it's own way. It was put together by Radical Faeries from all over the world. Maybe around 100 dancing, and 200 watching?
People can be creative in front of their cameras. Lights, videos edited in Folks outside in front of their Smartphones. Lovers and groups of people cuddling. Various stages of undress. Sometimes eroticism was included, rather than banished as is so often the rule in mainstream society.
The Radical Faeries are going online more and more. This makes their events accessible in places like Bellingham that don't really have much of a faerie presence.
The Faeries have a social network that's kind of like an alternative to Facebook. No cost for memberships, but it is a membership site. Not as exciting as Facebook in many ways. Less going on, but it does have information about things like the dance party.
Also there's a big talent show that the Faeries do on Saturdays. The talent show is live streamed on Facebook. It can be viewed by anyone on Facebook. There are Faerie pages on Facebook.
While I'm at it, here's a link the the Faenet site.
http://www.faenet.org

Commentary by Robert Ashworth