Reaching Diverse Communities Through Social Dancing in Shawnee

How do you bring different parts of a community together in Shawnee? Most larger metropolitan areas have not figured this out. Therefore, Shawnee is no different.

In February, a business professor at Oklahoma Baptist University achieved this goal by offering beginner lessons to all on Bison Hill.

When you start talking about ballroom dancing, everyone thinks about the ABC’s hit show Dancing with the Stars that pairs up celebrities with professional dance partners in an intense ballroom competition. The show features every type of ballroom and modern dance. Many people, especially women, are interested in learning to ballroom dance.

On Saturday, Feb. 8, Dr. Daryl D. Green, OBU Dickinson Chair and associate professor at OBU offered a social dance bootcamp, basic ballroom dancing and Latin dancing, through Gordon Cooper Technology Center. During the day, Dr. Green teaches a variety of business courses and offers free consultations to local businesses and non-profit organizations. Some people call him the dancing doctor. He and his wife Estraletta have several years of social and competitive ballroom dance experience.

The event was a hit. More than 60 people participated in the event that day. It exceeded the expected attendance for that day. People in the area are looking for dancing venues like this event. Dr. Green explains, “I enjoy bringing people together. There are many things that can divide a community like social standing, education, race, politics, and religion. However, music and dance are the most effective mechanisms I have seen to bring diverse people together. I tell my students that diversity is not a melting pot. It’s really Louisiana gumbo. All ingredients matter in good gumbo.”

Dr. Green, a Louisiana native, moved to Oklahoma in 2016 after 27 years of being an engineering manager with the Department of Energy in Tennesse. He loves to support dance education in the community. The first time this event was held at OBU, it attracted over a hundred people. Dr. Green explains the contribution of African-Americans to music and dance. Dr. Green explains, “Like arts in America, ballroom dancing has been influenced heavily by African Culture. Most people don’t understand this point. For example, swing dancing in ballroom studios is very popular. Yet, modern swing came from the Lindy Hop. Lindy took Harlem by storm in the 1920s during the height of the Harlem Renaissance.”

Dr. Green hopes that these types of social events will build community relationships. Dr. Green notes, “Music and dance bring people together regardless of their backgrounds. I am hopeful that we, as a community, can come together to better our community through collaborative efforts. If folks with varying backgrounds and ages can dance together on a dance floor, I don’t understand why people can’t come together to support economic development and improvements in our own community.”

For more information, please contact Dr. Daryl Green at daryl.green@okbu.edu or call him at 405-585-4414.

About Dr. Green:

Dr. Daryl D. Green is a popular and respected researcher and author that has been acknowledged internationally. Dr. Green is now the Dickinson Chair at the Oklahoma Baptist University. He productively writes online blog and column. In addition, his quotes can be easily found in various media outlets in the United States, which include BET, Ebony, Associated Press, and USA Today. Dr. Green decided to retire from his position as a senior program manager in the federal government in 2016. For more than 20 years, Dr. Green has helped both organizations and individuals to make the right decisions through his columns, seminars, and lectures.

Exploring Hidden Markets in Ballroom Dancing

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We just had to go on Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee, the place was known for great blues music. We stopped at one of the famous blues hotspots on this strip. We were directed to our seats; the house was packed with people. The band was playing with great passion. My wife and I walked in the room to celebrate with others the love of good music. The music was carried across the room slowly as blues music permeated the atmosphere like smoke covers a house on fire. Everyone was excited. People were all over the dance floor. These folks were no amateurs to blues. Interesting enough, my wife and I were the only black couple in this crowded location. Blacks created the blues. Yet, many blacks have either abandoned this genre or have forgotten the roots of this music. I hope that dance in America will not falter like this.

As my wife and I have danced ballroom in various states and different dance studios, we have not seen many black people doing ballroom dancing. African-Americans have made significant contributions in all walks of life, dance is no exception. Black History Month gives us a time to remember the pioneers of dance, including Josephine Baker and the Dance Theatre of Harlem and glance at the future. When you start talking about ballroom dancing, everyone thinks about the ABC’s hit show, Dancing With the Stars, that pairs up celebrities with professional dance partners in an intense ballroom competition. There are a few African Americans involved with ballroom dancing in the nation. In this session, we will examine how dance studios can better target African American communities by reaching an untapped market.

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