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.
Capezio, Bloch, So Dança, Gaynor Minden.
At the top of the line, dancers have plenty of quality footwear options to choose from, and in most metropolitan areas, stores to go try them on. But for many of North America's most economically disadvantaged dance students, there has often been just one option for purchasing footwear in person: Payless ShoeSource.
When Sonya Tayeh saw Moulin Rouge! for the first time, on opening night at a movie theater in Detroit, she remembers not only being inspired by the story, but noticing the way it was filmed.
"What struck me the most was the pace, and the erratic feeling it had," she says. The camera's quick shifts and angles reminded her of bodies in motion. "I was like, 'What is this movie? This is so insane and marvelous and excessive,' " she says. "And excessive is I think how I approach dance. I enjoy the challenge of swiftness, and the pushing of the body. I love piling on a lot of vocabulary and seeing what comes out."
Back when Robbie Fairchild graced the cover of the May 2018 issue of Dance Magazine, he mentioned an idea for a short dance film he was toying around with. That idea has now come to fruition: In This Life, starring Fairchild and directed by dance filmmaker Bat-Sheva Guez, is being screened at this year's Dance on Camera Festival.
While the film itself covers heavy material—specifically, how we deal with grief and loss—the making of it was anything but: "It was really weird to have so much fun filming a piece about grief!" Fairchild laughs. We caught up with him, Guez and Christopher Wheeldon (one of In This Life's five choreographers) to find out what went into creating the 11-minute short film.
When Hollywood needs to build a fantasy world populated with extraordinary creatures, they call Terry Notary.
The former gymnast and circus performer got his start in film in 2000 when Ron Howard asked him to teach the actors how to move like Whos for How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Notary has since served as a movement choreographer, stunt coordinator and performer via motion capture technology for everything from the Planet of the Apes series to The Hobbit trilogy, Avatar, Avengers: Endgame and this summer's The Lion King.
Since opening the Industry Dance Academy with his wife, Rhonda, and partners Maia and Richard Suckle, Notary also offers movement workshops for actors in Los Angeles.