Participating in a folk dance Zoom session (on a computer)

updated tips for improving Zoom performance now in a separate document

Zoom is software that lets video and audio be broadcast to many participants. As we will use it, the dance leader will broadcast music and video of him/her/theirself dancing and you can dance along. Zoom is free for participants. Sharing video of yourself is optional.

Click on the zoom meeting link (that is on and in HIFD facebook and was emailed to you), and agree to start Zoom (or to download the client application if this is your first time using Zoom).

Many of the Zoom controls are at the bottom of the screen. They may not be visible until you move your mouse near the bottom of the screen.


In general, your audio should be muted. You can change your audio status at the bottom left of the screen (and you can also start/stop video). You can unmute yourself temporarily by pressing the space bar. (This seems to be enabled by default on Windows, but on Mac you may need to enable this – another choice behind the microphone at the lower left is Audio Settings, where you can click to select “press and hold SPACE key …..”) 

If you connect your computer to external speakers, the music will probably sound better. If you can connect your computer to your TV, it might be easier to follow the dance leader.

To follow the dance leader, you will want Zoom in “Speaker View, which can be selected at the top right of your screen (Full screen mode is also recommended). The alternate to speaker mode is “Gallery View" which lets you see many people at a time (when there too many to fit you can scroll to other screens with blue arrows at the side of the screen – which may not be visible until you move your mouse there).  On some computers, instead of saying “Gallery View” you will see a little square symbol made of 9 dots.

There is a Chat window that you can show or hide by clicking the chat balloon at the bottom of the screen. You can send chat messages to everyone, but if you message is just for one person, send the chat message directly to them. Be aware that people might be busy dancing and not see the chat message.

Another way to communicate is with “Reactions”, which is at the bottom of the screen – slightly to the right. Thumbs up means “all is good”. The other icon was designed to show applause, but we will be using it to mean “hey” or “hold on” or “There’s a problem”

When we're doing a dance that you know pretty well, you might find it fun to switch to Gallery View, so it looks like you're dancing with dozens of others.   You can improve that effect by asking zoom not to show non-video participants.

Recent:   For security reasons, participants can no longer rename themself.  You usually have the option to rename yourself before joining.   If not, or if you forget,  send a private chat message to one of the dance leaders requesting to be renamed.

Tips for improving Zoom performance now in a separate document