How To Organise a Virtual Dance Party on Zoom
Updated: Mar 12
In these times of social isolation, it’s essential to find creative ways to stay connected from a distance. One way to do that is to host an Online Dance Party and this post will show you exactly how. Reach out to your friends, family and colleagues (yes, an online dance party is a great team building activity!) and get ready to party.
A confident facilitator to get people out of their comfort zone will help, so if you need one get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org
Here’s how to organise an online disco.
Step 1 - Choose your software and schedule the event
Choose your software and I recommend using zoom. There are of course other video software options out there but I've found zoom has the best quality audio sharing. There's an advanced sharing setting (see point 7) which allows you to share you computer audio straight out of their devices. Most other platforms don't offer this option. You can sign up to zoom here.
Decide if you want a free or a pro account. A free account gives you all the essential features for dance party, but has a 40 minute cut off time for each meeting you schedule. You could schedule a few meetings back to back if you're tight on cash; there's no limit to consecutive meetings on zoom. A pro account is £14.99 a month, with no minimum time commitment. This means you can pay for just one month and then cancel your membership. If you share the cost with friends it's an affordable and worthwhile investment. If you're organising the dance party with colleagues, it's quite likely you're already using zoom anyway so there will be no costs for you! A pro account has no time limit on meetings and offers additional features like user management, where you can mute and unmute everyone and change host. If your party is small, a free account will be more than enough. If your party has more than 20 people I recommend the pro account; you’ll want to be able to manage users more. Full pro/free feature comparison here: https://zoom.us/pricing
You've probably scheduled a meeting on zoom before, but in case you haven't, check the instructions on this help page.
A few settings tips: you can still use a link to join a meeting that was scheduled to a week ago or is due to start in 3 hours. The image below shows the settings I use and I recommend you replicate them. To help make the meetings safer, zoom no long allows people to just connect to a link. They need to be admitted by the host or they need a passcode to join. "Waiting room", which requires the host to admit people, is usually selected as default. If lots of people are joining, I don't recommend waiting room; it will be disruptive to have to interrupt your dancing to admit people. I recommend deselecting this option and replacing it with a passcode. I usually put video settings to "on" as default, but I tell people about this just in case...
Step 2 - Share the event invite and prepare for the party
Copy the zoom link and passcode and send them to your friends/family/colleagues.
Tell everyone joining to download zoom before the party. Zoom is available on desktop and mobile. Make sure they do this in time, this step can be the biggest time waster.
Prepare the playlist. I recommend picking your comfort songs: the ones that you all know and love, ideally the ones with some shared memories. If you're not very familiar with everyone joining, the average is your best bet for building a playlist they like. Think about what decade they grew up in and build a playlist that uses music from their late teens/early twenties. This is likely to be when they were dancing the most, and there's nothing like some old tunes to bring back happy dance memories. I use Spotify and have a pro account, which removes adverts and allows you to cross fade the songs, giving your playlist a professional DJ set feel.
Step 3 - Start the party
Once everyone is logged in and ready to party, the meeting host needs to share their computer audio. To do this, select the green "share screen" button in the bottom menu. That will open this pop up. In the top menu of this pop up, you'll see "advanced". Click on advanced.
Select "computer sound only" and click "share" in the bottom right
Zoom used to allow anyone to share their screen; more recently it only allows hosts to do so. However, host status can be moved around among participants. If you're the host you can easily make someone else a host by selecting "manage participants" in the bottom menu, then clicking on "more" next to the person you'd like to assign as host, and selecting "make host". There's no limit to how many times you can change the host.
You're all set, have fun! If you really want to be a pro here are some extra tips.
Dress up for it! The party will feel more like a party if you make an effort to show up in true party mode. You can also make it funky with a special virtual background. My friend Tommaso had a disco background in the dance party and we loved it.
If you have wireless headphones I recommend using them. It improves audio quality but also creates a little bubble that will allow you to dance more freely and feel less self-conscious dancing from your home.
If there are more than 5-6 people, mute the audio during the party, unless you’re happy to have slightly lower quality audio in exchange of being able to hear people comment and sing while they dance. Here’s how to mute and unmute everyone.
If you want to do karaoke, just share your screen as well as the audio with these instructions and put a youtube video with the lyrics up. Here’s the Karaoke version of Bohemian Rhapsody because you can never have too much of that song.
Have fun with music videos. You can watch one together and then dress up on theme. I did this with I Want To Break Free, Queen. We all dressed up like Freddie Mercury and brought a hoover. It was hilarious. You can also do a simple choreography together if there's a dance you all know and love. It can be as simple as waving around your ring finger whilst dancing to Single Ladies.
I've been hosting private online discos and dance workshops for companies and personal celebrations, including the New Zealand Embassy in Brussels' online Christmas party. See this page for more information on the types of parties we can host and get in touch on email@example.com if you're interested experiencing a five star rated virtual dance party.
Or join an upcoming event.