These Dancers Prove There's No One Right Way to Do Social Media
When Instagram launched in 2010, few would have predicted it would become the identity-defining, I-can-make-a-living-off-this-thing behemoth that it is today. For dancers in particular, Instagram comes with a host of possibilities. Three dancers share how they translate double taps into career advancements—while thousands of people follow along.
What she posts: Klock first joined Instagram to share her paintings, which she sells. A few years ago, she also started posting clips of her choreography for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and other companies. "I never wanted it to become an egotistical, surface-level thing. I wanted it to be about the work," says Klock, now co-director of FLOCK.
Why she's posting: "We have this whole idea that you can only see dance if you buy a ticket and go to a theater and have money," she says. "It feels limited. Instagram is a great way to share with everyone, and I feel the point of art is to give it to the people." She's received requests from followers to create custom tattoos based on her visual-art work.
The strategy: Klock posts almost every day, which helps her stay in her followers' feeds. "I never go out and construct my next post," she says. "It's always what I'm up to at that time."
Most-viewed post: A short solo from February has more than 32K views.
What he posts: Imagine you're walking down a New York City street when suddenly a super-athletic, super-unassuming passerby erupts into a series of grands jetés and then continues down the crosswalk, unfazed. That's Alex Wong. His delightful "spontaneous acts of dance" videos are equal parts impressive and hilarious.
Why he's posting: "It all started with comedy-slash-dance videos, and the reactions were so great that it just snowballed."
The strategy: Though Wong's videos are polished, they're not rehearsed. "It's more spur-of-the-moment," he says. "As much as I love Instagram, I try not to let it consume my life." Wong has made some money off his account, through campaigns for Walmart, LG, Kenneth Cole, Pandora, Volvo and Under Armour. But it's also grown his personal brand. "It's a live business card."
Most-viewed post: "The one with me walking across the street in pointe shoes." It has more than 1.9M views.
What she posts: Grace's two accounts have very different purposes: Her @marleegrace profile shares her personal projects, and is more business-minded, while her @personalpractice feed is a series of daily improv videos.
Why she's posting: The @personalpractice account started as a video documentation process and transitioned into a daily practice while Grace went through a divorce, came out and started dating women. "The goal has always only ever been for me," she says. "It's an accountability process, but it's also my little playground." Meanwhile, she uses @marleegrace to talk about her work and promote her books or upcoming classes. "It's a promotional tool where I share vulnerably about my experiences as a queer person, as a woman, an artist, a teacher."
The strategy: While Grace balances self-promotion and creative work, she isn't trying to appease anyone. Her growth happened organically and fast, she says, and in large part because she kept her posts honest.
Most-viewed post: An Instagram story of Grace dancing in a cabin in California, rocking out to Sheryl Crow in a white T-shirt and a leotard. "I'm barely even dancing," she says, but it earned more than 94K views.
There's a rare moment in Broadway's Hadestown where the audience is able to breathe a sigh of relief. The smash-hit success is not well-known for being light-hearted or easy-going; Hadestown is a show full of workers and walls and, well, the second act largely takes place in a slightly modernized version of hell.
But deep into the second act, the show reaches a brief homeostasis of peace, one of those bright, shining moments that allows the audience to think "maybe it will turn out this time," as the character Hermes keeps suggesting.
After songs and songs of conflict and resentment, Hades, the king of the underground, and his wife, the goddess Persephone, rekindle their love. And, unexpectedly, they dance. It's one of the most compelling moments in the show.
Back in 2011 when Joe Lanteri first approached Katie Langan, chair of Marymount Manhattan College's dance department, about getting involved with New York City Dance Alliance, she was skeptical about the convention/competition world.
"But I was pleasantly surprised by the enormity of talent that was there," she says. "His goal was to start scholarship opportunities, and I said okay, I'm in."
Today, it's fair to say that Lanteri has far surpassed his goal of creating scholarship opportunities. But NYCDA has done so much more, bridging the gap between the convention world and the professional world by forging a wealth of partnerships with dance institutions from Marymount to The Ailey School to Complexions Contemporary Ballet and many more. There's a reason these companies and schools—some of whom otherwise may not see themselves as aligned with the convention/competition world—keep deepening their relationships with NYCDA.
Now, college scholarships are just one of many ways NYCDA has gone beyond the typical weekend-long convention experience and created life-changing opportunities for students. We rounded up some of the most notable ones:
There's always been something larger than life about choreographer Mark Morris. Of course, there are the more than 150 works he's made and that incisive musicality that makes dance critics drool. But there's also his idiosyncratic, no-apologies-offered personality, and his biting, no-holds-barred wit. And, well, his plan to keep debuting new dances even after he's dead.
So it should come as little surprise that his latest distinction is also a bit larger than life: The New York Landmarks Conservancy is adding Morris to its list of "Living Landmarks."
"The show must go on" may be a platitude we use to get through everything from costume malfunctions to stormy moods. But when it came to overcoming a literal hurricane, Houston Ballet was buoyed by this mantra to go from devastated to dancing in a matter of weeks—with the help of Harlequin Floors, Houston Ballet's longstanding partner who sprang into action to build new floors in record time.