Live Bellydance Hangouts

Posted by +Bellydancingbarbie on June 17th, 2012

So, you might have heard me mentioning the words “Google+” “YouTube” “live on air” and “Bellydance Hangouts” in the same sentence lately. You might have thought “I have no idea what you’re talking about but it sounds really exciting!” and you’d be right, it’s very exciting! So what is it then?…

Well, let’s start with Google+ since not everyone has ventured there yet. Google+ is google’s answer to Facebook only with some extra high tech awesomeness thrown in! The good part is you don’t need to be a “techy” to enjoy it! I had a head start on most people with Google+ as I was there from the beta testing stages. Set up my pages, reset up once they made changes, the lot! Once you get over the usual “where am I and how do you drive this thing?” disorientation you’ll find it has many of the elements made familiar by Facebook, twitter and pinterest. So what can Google+ do for us Bellydancers that Facebook and Twitter can’t?…

We can “hangout” together! Google+ Hangouts are live virtual gatherings of people, like a conference call, chat room or Apple’s FaceTime. They utilise webcams and microphones – you on your computer, me on mine. If we add each other to our own Bellydance social circle we can interact on a much more real level. Instead of me typing this and you reading it, we’ll hangout and have a proper conversation! Now think about what that’s gonna do for us as a growing tribe of dancers, a community and as individuals… You’ll be able to ask me about the technique of specific moves, which muscles should you be engaging? how can you improve elements of your dance? are you doing something correctly? which are the best classes for you? and what are the fitness benefits? We can develop creative ideas, talk about our newly formed troupe and upcoming events. We can chat about the cultural side of the dance, learn some Arabic words together. We can host middle eastern “cook & follow” nights, costume sewing nights… all sorts of social events! Our friends who now live in the US, Iran, Turkey, Spain, France – all over the world, can rejoin us! Goodtimes!

There are settings for both public and private hangouts. In my first public hangout I had 193 people tune in to join me and we played games switching “props” In our first private, by invitation only hangout, there were 3 of us. Three of us who knew each other and had heaps of fun trying things out and chatting about how cool this was gonna be for us all and how it could really be a useful tool in adding value and fun for the group outside of class! There are also settings to customise if everyone can see each other and hear each other. I’ll ask your preferences at the start of each hangout. To join a private hangout first you must add “Bellydancingbarbie” to a circle you’ve created within your Google+ profile. I’ll then add you back. On the day of the planned hangout log into your Google+ and when setting up the hangout I’ll invite you to join in (it’ll pop up on your screen saying “Bellydancingbarbie has invited you to Hangout”) Private hangouts require you to be there from the start. Public hangouts allow anyone to drop-in and out at any time. We’ll use the private, invitation only, hangouts for our actual Bellydance Hangouts and the public ones very occasionally just for silly fun with the general public who’ll no doubt ask the usual questions us bellydancers are asked, you know the questions! :D Private Hangouts can also be streamed live “On Air” on YouTube, they appear as a video which is automatically uploaded, search the same title as the hangout to find it. People can watch the hangout live on YouTube but not interact. They can only leave comments, as with a regular YouTube video. This might provide a window into what hangouts are like and other friends might join us for the next hangout on Google+ after seeing it on YouTube. There’s lots of other new technology us bellydancers can utilise too, more on those later…

Now, go to the Google+ icon at the top of this page. Take a few minutes to create your profile, create a Bellydance circle and add “Bellydancingbarbie” to that circle. I’ll add you back and chat to you on there…

These, ladies, are very exciting times!

Btw, these aren’t the first virtual bellydance events BDB has held. Two years ago I held a virtual Bellydance Hafla on the Animal Crossing game for the Wii!!! Complete with workshop, souk stall and open floor disco. We had a treasure hunt instead of a raffle and everyone was asked to come with empty pockets so they could take home different fruit, bury it and grow another type of fruit tree in their own town. Hahaha, it was so much fun! :)

…What can I say, I’m a left handed Leo born the year of the Rooster! ;)

See you at the next Bellydance Hangout:

WEDNESDAY | 9.30-10pm GMT | on Google+

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