Internet “Research”: Life in the Social Media Bellysphere

Dancer (presumably) asks a question an online discussion board. Good. Questions are good!

Said question is about a seemingly straightforward but actually complicated topic that involves major historical changes; changes that in fact have altered movement, costuming, location, language, status, or music, and most importantly, real peoples lives.

Nice people, some of whom have dedicated part of their lives to researching said topic(s) and some of whom have actually lived said topics, reply. Most know not to give it all away on the internet.

Others, many of whom are two, three, four, five steps removed from anything that can remotely be considered a source, offer various opinions freely.

Sometimes the discussion here is good, sometimes it fizzles.

Many of the replies offer references for further study that require purchasing a book, attending a class, traveling, interviewing someone, being patient, suggesting that the question might actually be framed inadequately in order to move forward, or kind hints to do some actual research beyond asking in a facebook group.

Some of that research may not be able to be completed in English.

Some of that research may not be able to be completed in the original querents location.

Sometimes the discussion here is good, sometimes it fizzles.

There is rarely one answer.

Finally, and almost invariably, and now dozens to hundreds of posts in, the dancer (presumably) who asked the original question lets everyone know that the replies are helpful and all but s/he really needs to know now because she is about to teach it/write about it/speak on a panel about it/put themself out there as an expert on it.

Weekly*, you guys.


*conservative estimate


I promise

If you take my class, I promise not to videotape said class and put it on the internet to advertise. If I ever need some sort of video of me teaching, I will ask/notify you ahead of time and even more likely I will set up and offer folks who take class with me a free class in exchange. If we ever need to video in preparation for a performance, I won’t share it outside our circle.

If you take my class I promise not to act like I own your time outside of the set parameters of class. If we choose to do other things outside of class—student shows, performances, community outings—there may be additional parameters and behavior and other things we agree to, of course. But—always—you are free to take class with anyone else you want to, and to stop coming to my class if it no longer serves your needs. You don’t owe me an explanation.

If you take my class I promise to teach you what I know. I promise to tell you if I don’t know something, and I’ll either find out for you or get you resources to find out for yourself. I promise to be honest based on my experiences and I promise not to make shit up if I don’t know the answer in order to look good or save face. I promise not to teach you what I am still in the process of learning (and I promise to be always still learning). If I am excited about something new to me maybe I’ll tell you about it (probably outside of class), but I won’t pretend to be able to teach it to you.

I promise to be honest in my offerings.

Oh, dear readers, the things I have heard and the things I have seen. It makes me vow to do better by my own peeps.