Take Your Dance Videos from Instagram-Ready to Festival-Ready
As Instagram has become one of the most popular apps in the world, dancers have—unsurprisingly—taken full advantage.
Major companies like American Ballet Theatre and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater use the app to share videos of shows and rehearsals. Dance filmmakers like Celia Rowlson-Hall post short bursts of their newest films. Performers like Maria Kochetkova share both silly and glamorous behind-the-scenes clips.
But how do you take your passion for posting your dance videos on social media and translate that into a career in dance for film?
Using social media is a great way to get your career off the ground. And now, with editing tools like Boomerang built directly into the Instagram app, you can make even more creative choices. Holly Wilder of Wilder Project says that social media offers a place to experiment: "You can release small segments of work or unfinished ideas."
Make Wise Investments
When you're ready to start making more formal dance films, you'll need to invest in a quality camera and sound equipment. Can't shell out the money for pro tools? Consider renting, or collaborate with someone who might have what you're looking for.
Figure Out Your Film's Purpose
Ask the question, Why does this need to be on film? Brighid Greene, programs director at Dance Films Association says you need to determine for yourself why it's important that the performance occurs on camera and not on a stage. Are you inspired by the way movement changes when it's in water or on a sandy beach? Do you have a unique concept that needs a camera to come to life?
Consider the Camera as Choreography
Plan for the film edit as you create the movement, suggests Wilder. "You can change location in an instant or create a section of the choreography that will later be in slow motion."
When choosing where to film, make sure that the setting adds to, not detracts, from the movement and the story you are trying to tell.
You can learn a lot by watching other filmmakers' work. Research what's available online, follow your favorite artists and take notes on the work they are creating. But if you're really serious, consider film school. Michelle Fletcher of HereNowDance Collective says that training in film can lead to different and interesting artistic choices. Or keep your eyes peeled for workshops like Dance Films Association's monthly Dance Film Lab.
Alicia has died. I walked around my apartment feeling her spirit, but knowing something had changed utterly.
My father, the late conductor Benjamin Steinberg, was the first music director of the Ballet de Cuba, as it was called then. I grew up in Vedado on la Calle 1ra y doce in a building called Vista al Mar. My family lived there from 1959 to 1963. My days were filled with watching Alicia teach class, rehearse and dance. She was everything: hilarious, serious, dramatic, passionate and elegiac. You lost yourself and found yourself when you loved her.
"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.
It's Nutcracker time again: the season of sweet delights and a sparkling good time—if we're able to ignore the sour taste left behind by the outdated racial stereotypes so often portrayed in the second act.
In 2017, as a result of a growing list of letters from audience members, to New York City Ballet's ballet master in chief Peter Martins reached out to us asking for assistance on how to modify the elements of Chinese caricature in George Balanchine's The Nutcracker. Following that conversation, we founded the Final Bow for Yellowface pledge that states, "I love ballet as an art form, and acknowledge that to achieve a diversity amongst our artists, audiences, donors, students, volunteers, and staff, I am committed to eliminating outdated and offensive stereotypes of Asians (Yellowface) on our stages."
An audience member once emailed Dallas choreographer Joshua L. Peugh, claiming his work was vulgar. It complained that he shouldn't be pushing his agenda. As the artistic director of Dark Circles Contemporary Dance, Peugh's recent choreography largely deals with LGBTQ issues.
"I got angry when I saw that email, wrote my angry response, deleted it, and then went back and explained to him that that's exactly why I should be making those works," says Peugh.
With the current political climate as polarized as it is, many artists today feel compelled to use their work to speak out on issues they care deeply about. But touring with a message is not for the faint of heart. From considerations about how to market the work to concerns about safety, touring to cities where, in general, that message may not be so welcome, requires companies to figure out how they'll respond to opposition.