Dance and Video Games – A Match Made in Heaven?

Dance has never been static.  It has always evolved and changed to suit particular forms of music and genres, from Ballet to Break dancing and Tango to Tap Dancing.  The evolution of dance as an art form is not limited merely to dancing on a stage during an organized performance, the advent of the digital age and in particular of interactive gaming systems has lead to a revolution in how people get involved with dancing.  In their homes alone or with friends or at an amusement arcade, dance has found a new way to reach millions of new people.

Dance Arcade Machines

We have probably all at one point in our lives found ourselves in the unfortunate position in an amusement arcade of being challenged to a dance off – really? you haven’t?  Well that being beside the point, no amusement arcade or bowling alley would now be complete without the inclusion of one of these things.  From the moment they first appeared – as is the case for any video game, regardless of the genre –  people set out to master them.  Master them some people did:

Dance and Video Games

And master them some people most certainly did not:

Dancing at home

So we’ve all seen the arcade machines around and about.  However the dance “revolution” has continued even further and there have even been games produced by software companies for Playstation and Xbox for people to play in the comfort of their own living rooms and bedrooms.  Some games even come with their own dance mats which mimic those seen in the arcade version of the games whereas other utilise the Xbox Kinect technology so they can actually see how you are doing compared to the “standard”.  2 such examples of dance games are the Just Dance & Dance Central series of games. As you can see from the following example, the game gets pretty tough and you can actually turn yourself into quite the mover with a bit of practice:

Can it replace “traditional” dance?

This is a tough question to answer given the fact that “dance” has such a broad spectrum and encompasses every possible discipline.  The dance video game has its advocates, who claim it is a great way to have fun, keep fit and actually learn about dance in an interactive way; it also has its cynics, who claim that it should never replace people actually getting out and going to dance classes and experiencing the camaraderie that can be found in dance halls around the world.  It’s not about replacing them, its about making dance more accessible and more enjoyable for people who might not have contemplated visiting a dance class.

About the author  ⁄ Jon L. Ratcliff

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