Ask the Experts: Finding Authentic Cultural Content on YouTube

I want to include video in an upcoming lesson on dance in other cultures, but I’m having a hard time finding authentic content on YouTube. Should I be looking somewhere else?

The internet is open and free—sort of. When you browse, you’re actually somewhat limited, because there is quite a bit of content that stays inside a country’s web. This is because your computer has an IP address—literally, your address on the web, which tells the internet where you are. Unfortunately, this can cut you off from a lot of content. For instance, YouTube will prompt you with different videos, depending on what country you’re in. If you’re on YouTube in Brazil, you’re more likely to see samba videos; if you’re in India, you’ll see kathak dance. Netflix has different content in different countries.

But you don’t have to stay stuck in your country anymore. You can download an app to your computer, and it will re-route you through a server in another country, making it appear as though your computer is in that country. It’s called a virtual private network, or VPN. I use HMA! Pro VPN. (HMA! stands for “Hide My Ass!” Not the best name, I know, but it works exceptionally well.) You can route through more than 150 countries, and you can use it on your tablet or smartphone. You can easily change the country you’re routing from at any time. The bonus? It encrypts your internet traffic, adding an extra level of security to your browsing. You do pay a fee to use it (starting at $6.55 a month), but if you need this service, it’s worth it.

Barry Blumenfeld teaches at the Friends Seminary in New York City. He is an adjunct professor at New York University and on faculty at the Dance Education Laboratory of the 92nd Street Y.

Photo courtesy of Barry Blumenfeld

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