How To Host a Virtual Dance Party on Zoom
Updated: Jun 7
To keep spirits high in these challenging times, I’ve been organising Online Dance Parties. Right after the first one ended on March 22nd, me and my boyfriend had a little private online dance party with my mum. She lives in Rome and has been in lockdown by herself since March 8th.
I was still buzzing from the big online dance party. We were anything between 50 to 100 people, singing and dancing and creating a much needed moment of joy together. It was special.
Dancing with my mum and my boyfriend on zoom, just the three of us, was equally special in a very different way.
It was intimate. We could see each other well. I picked songs I know she loves and that we’ve danced together in the past. I didn't want to think about how long it would be till I could dance with her in person so I focused on the present instead. I laughed when she started swinging her scarf around, dancing to “You Sexy Thing” and I pretended to hold her hand and make her turn from the screen.
In these difficult times, it’s essential to find creative ways to look after our loved ones from a distance. Those who are self-isolating alone are the ones who need our attention the most. The mini private dance party with my mum was such a special moment. I want to keep creating these special moments and I’d like to encourage you to do the same. Reach out to your friends, family and loved ones and organise a virtual party with them on zoom.
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. A pro account is £11.99 a month and there's no minimum commitment. If you share it with friends it's an affordable and worthwhile investment. A pro account has no time limit and offers additional features like user management. 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
Send the join meeting info to your friends/family (usually, just a zoom link unless you choose to set it up with a meeting ID and password)
Tell everyone joining to download zoom before the meeting. Zoom is available on desktop and mobile.
Prepare the playlist. I recommend picking your comfort songs: the ones that you all know and love, ideally the ones with some shared 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.
Once everyone is logged in and ready to party, the meeting host needs to share their computer audio. Select "share screen" in the bottom, menu. That will open this pop up. In the top menu of this pop, 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.
If there are more than 5-6 people you might want to 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.
Make it funky with a special virtual background. My friend Tommaso had a disco background in the dance party and it was hilarious.