The show must go on: society create virtual ball

Posted by nm365 at Apr 03, 2020 11:43 AM |
Leicester Dancesport creates virtual event in 48 hours

What do you when one of your biggest social events of your society’s calendar looks like it has to be cancelled due to coronavirus, just two days beforehand?

This is the scenario which Leicester Dancesport faced. Rather than postponing the event, they hosted it virtually.

President, second year marketing student, Lara Judd tells the story: “We had already cancelled lessons and were keeping our members up-to-date...so they did have an idea of what was to come, but it was disappointing nonetheless.

The committee felt it has been such a transformative year and wanted to honour our success as individuals and a club. Therefore, we had to make sure something happened.”

One of the main elements of the ball was an awards ceremony with 16 categories.

Lara continued: “Our focus was to award the worthy winners. We decided to make an evening of it, complete with entertainment and speeches to give members something to look forward to.

“We used Instagram and made short animations revealing the winners of the awards.

The virtual event started at the same time as the offline ball was due to commence, with the opening speech and reveal of the first award posted on Instagram. Ten minutes later the first award winner was revealed, along with a caption including a mini speech explaining their achievements. The format was followed every ten minutes , giving people time to comment and to like the posts.

At halfway, the society posted their entertainment of them performing their national champion winning offbeat routine.

Lara and the committee were also keen to keep their final award, which was voted for by society members. Whilst the votes were coming in, they posted three other videos all from award winners. The event concluded with the actual speech the committee would have given at the original event.

Lara said: “The best part of the evening was the amount of interactivity we received from our members who were tagging us in their stories and commenting on the posts! We were tagged in so many photos of our members all dressed up in the ball clothes they were going to wear and dancing to music! Everyone treated it as if they were attending a ball.

Lara’s advice to other societies looking to host an event: “be as organised as possible before the event as once it starts it then gives you as much time as possible to interact with the re-posts, tags and responses.

“Any idea, no matter how crazy, is bound to give a little bit of joy into a world that is very uncertain and stressed right now. Any club's members will have things they were looking forward to that they now can't do, whether that be a ball or even regular sessions. Social media is such an easy and influential way to carry on offering what you had planned, just with some minor adjustments. From our experience, it will only bring your club closer together and enable you to end the academic year on a high!

"Our lovely treasurer, Louise, said at the end of the event, "I have not thought about coronavirus once during that whole time!", which completely sums up to me the reason for doing it. I think when we are in the situation where life as we know it has completely altered, its nice to offer a bit of normality (even better if it includes sparkles and awards) and excitement!

The society are currently looking at what else they can offer on social media in the near future.

Lara concludes: “If people want...some latin and ballroom themed challenges, check out our fabulous teachers’ Facebook page. Anyone is welcome to join in any future events we hold: take a look at the posts on our Instagram to see our worthy winners plus our national champion offbeat routine

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