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Gamify square dance

2017-02-21 18:22:24.883137+00 by Dan Lyke 2 comments

Copied from a Facebook thread about how to gamify square dancing to make it possibly appeal to today's generation of video game obsessed kids:

I think the huge component of most modern games is how it fits into a social context: talk to people about why they game, and often it's about making connections to people, whether that's in different part of the world or dragging computers into one space to play.

I don't think the challenge is as much about adapting square dancing to the virtual world as it is to finding that thing that'll get a critical mass of them up on the floor. Make a video game that appeals to them and you'll end up with the next World of Warcraft (if you happen to be successful), make something different and you're not competing with World of Warcraft, you're competing on the novelty of "hey, bumping into actual people!"

I think the path forward is to create a culture about which more people say "Hey, I want to play in *that* space!" Reworking a real world experience into the virtual doesn't do that: We don't seek out virtual reality, we seek out virtual surreality. We're going there for things that can't/don't happen in the real world.

I also think that... Square dancing is a very D/s activity. I read a great essay once about how dance is the art form of totalitarian societies, how when we think of the Soviet Union we think of goose stepping soldiers patrolling the wall, when we think of North Korea, it's huge parade squares full of soldiers, or dancers, doing intricate routines which interlock with each other. When we think of factory work of 50-100 years ago, we think of rows and rows of people endlessly repeating the same precise task.

We've had a social shift, though, and many of us now think of those tasks as joyless, the thing that can be automated away so we can participate in the endeavors that don't involve rote.

I am honored that my fellow dancers pushed me to being a caller. I've also found that, in being a caller, I tend to relate more to other callers, and my relationship to square dancing has become one of service rather than participation. I wonder if we have a generational shift towards activities are self-organizing and peer-based, rather than hierarchical. That celebrate innovation by individuals, not just the elite. And that part of why kids these days aren't getting into square dancing is that we, as humanity, have moved on to different paradigms.

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comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2017-02-22 07:48:03.29725+00 by: Mars Saxman

I also think that... Square dancing is a very D/s activity.

This comment got me thinking on my walk home from work today. I took ballroom lessons in my teens, and enjoyed it - but I've always found it awkward, in fact extremely awkward, when I've gone to try it as an adult. I just can't make myself do what you're supposed to do, in the role than I'm supposed to play, and I think it's because the model is too much at odds with the way that I've learned to behave in order to deal with the realities of sexual politics, and the problem of masculinity as it occurs in the rest of life.

#Comment Re: Gamify square dance made: 2017-02-22 16:10:58.001063+00 by: Dan Lyke

Hmmmm. Interesting.

I've had a few conversations recently, haven't actually gotten out to dance floor lessons, on various styles of Swing, and some of the conversation has been about how physical the lead has to be: a very firm strong pushing and pulling.

Compare this to my favorite style of tandem whitewater paddling, where... heck, I'm thinking of when another guide and I used to grab a raft, we'd sit on either side, and if I was on the left and thought the boat should go right or straight ahead, I'd paddle forward, if I thought the boat should go left or backwards, I'd paddle backwards, and the person on the other side would do the reverse.

And we could run some amazing water without saying anything to each other.

There's a different sort of feeling in fore/aft paddling, as in tandem canoe, but done right it's still not as hierarchical as that hand firmly on the follow's back, pulling hard to put her (yes, usually) in the right place.

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