Welcome to our final week of Spring Cleaning for Belly Dancers – if you’ve been working all through these 4 weeks – congratulations! If you’ve just found this – no worries, you can find weeks one through four here on the blog.
This week we’re tidying up the digital part of our dance world – which has grown quite a bit in the past decade! Once upon a time it was CDs (or cassettes), now it’s all digital music and iPods! Not to mention how many more photos and videos we all now have since a camera is practically an appendage. But what use are all those things if they aren’t stored in a way that we can find them when we need them? And what would we do if they were lost in a computer crash?
Let’s dive in for this week’s digital spring cleaning tasks!
Inventory your courses & e-books
Many years ago, I was at the IBCC in Toronto, and something that Amel Tafsout said in a panel discussion really, really hit home. She said she saw lots of dancers buying instructional DVD (I said it was many years ago!) but she wondered how many of these DVDs actually got watched and worked with, and how much of the information they contained made its way into the dancers actual dancing in some way. I could totally relate to this. As someone who is a voracious learner and perpetual student, I knew I had many DVDs and books I bought with a sincere interest that were still shrink wrapped or barely read. The rise of digital courses and e-books has only compounded that situation.
I believe that part of the problem is we often don’t really know what we have! I’ve taken to keeping an inventory of any instructional or research materials I gather in one place (for me it’s a spreadsheet). I add them when I purchase them. I categorize them by topic for easy sorting and searching. If it’s a course with an expiration date (hello, Bellydance Bundle peeps!) I put a reminder on my calendar a few weeks before it expires.
So go ahead, dig into your Google Drives, hard drives, DVD boxes and any other place you have these things stored and whip up a list so you can truly find the resources that you already have and use them! Tap your personal library when you’re working on a new project or just need some new practice material.
Audit your social media accounts
Social media has been a fast-growing, time-eating beast in the past few years. New platforms are constantly popping up. Just in the past year we’ve seen the rise of TikTok and Clubhouse, in addition to Instagram (and all it’s new sub-features like reels, IGTV, etc), Twitter and the ubiquitous Facebook. Keeping up with all of these can be incredibly time consuming, so let’s take a breath and ask ourselves a few questions…
Make a list of all the social media platforms you are on.
Do you have more than one account on any of them – for example a personal and professional belly dance profile? List them all.
Do you feel overwhelmed by the amount of time and attention they take up?
How much do you actually enjoy them? How much of your participation is from a feeling that you “have to” be there?
Next to each one, put a reason why you have it. It could be for fun because you truly enjoy it. It could be to promote your teaching and performing, or any other reason. It only has to make sense to you.
If you don’t know why, and it’s feeling like a drudge, maybe consider letting it go.
If it’s for professional reasons, are you actually getting results for the time you invest in creating content and interacting? Answering that may require some additional thought – but it’s well worth your while.
Consider your music storage
I’m assuming you already have a digital music storage system here, iTunes, Windows Media Player or something else that will let you categorize your music in way that is useful to you and build playlists for your belly dance practice, teaching or performing.
If you still have CD’s that haven’t yet been digitally added to your collection, do it.. Some Middle Eastern music CDs aren’t available digitally – physical CDs break, get scratched or lost. Get them into your program of choice.
Once you have your music (or if you already do) consider how you look for your music.
I need an entrance song for a party show.
I need moderate speed drill music for class
I need something that works for veil.
However you look for your music should inform how you categorize it.
You also need to have your music files backed up! If they are on a local hard disk, internal or external, you will also want to have that backing up automatically to a service like Google Drive, OneDrive or some other platform that will automatically sync any changes and additions to the cloud for safe storage.
Consider your photo & video storage
These are truly irreplaceable! They hold precious memories of our dance journey and a record of our hard work. Whether you have these for sentimental or professional reasons, they need to be organized and backed up!
Scan any physical photos. They will degrade over time, so the sooner the better. Store the files in a way that is organized to match how you are likely to look for things later. By the year or decade? Troupe pics? Performance videos?
Once you have them digitized and stored, these also need to be backed up the same way your music is It would be heartbreaking to lose your performance videos to a hard drive crash! Ensure that your photos and videos are safe.
Post a pic of your progress on Instragram!
We have one more prize this week – a $25 Amazon card! Make sure to tag @MahinBellydance and use #BDQSpringCleaningWeek5 in your post!