Teaching Tips

5 Easy Ways to Level Up Your Video Skills

"There's no reason a video shot on your smartphone can't be sophisticated," says Nel Shelby, dance videographer. Photo by Chris Duggan, courtesy of Shelby

There's no reason an audition video shot on your smartphone can't be sophisticated, says dance videographer Nel Shelby. Use her suggestions to give your video an air of professionalism.

Hold your phone horizontally.

"Holding it vertically will make the video look smaller," says Shelby. "Horizontally, it will fit the screen if you're watching it on Vimeo or YouTube."

Keep your phone steady.

"Either have a friend film it and brace themselves while they hold the phone, or get a really cheap clamp and tripod on Amazon," she says.

Be conscious of your backdrop.

"Try not to have a busy background, or a lamp in the background," she says. "A white wall is good, or a one-color wall."

Think about your lighting.

"These days, people know a little more about what backlighting is, where it looks like you're in the dark," says Shelby. "Make sure there's light coming toward you, so that you're lit from the front or side."

Don't forget about sound.

If you have music play in the video as you film it, make sure the music is close enough to your phone to give you good audio, so it doesn't sound "super room-y." If you're comfortable with iMovie or an editing app, it's easy to layer in your music after filming. "Just make sure the music is synched up," Shelby says, "or they'll think you don't have good musicality."

Teachers Trending
Maks and Val Chmerkovskiy. Photo courtesy Dance With Me

Listening to Maks and Val Chmerkovskiy riff together makes it crystal-clear why each has mastered the art of partnering in the ballroom—they've long been doing this dance in real life as brothers and business partners.

Along with their "Dancing with the Stars" pedigree (and a combined three mirror-ball trophies between them), Maks and Val (and their father, Sasha) also run Dance With Me, a dance company hosting six ProAm Dancesport competitions annually and running 14 brick-and-mortar studio locations across the U.S.

Last year, the pair launched an online component, Dance & Co. The online video platform offers beginner through advanced instruction in not only ballroom but an array of other styles, as well as dance fitness classes from HIIT to yoga to strength training. "DWTS" fans will recognize such familiar faces as Peta Murgatroyd, Jenna Johnson, Sharna Burgess and Emma Slater, along with Maks and Val themselves.

Keep reading... Show less
Teaching Tips
@jayplayimagery, courtesy Kerollis

In the spring of 2012, Barry Kerollis was abruptly forced into treating his career as a small business. Having just moved cross-country to join BalletX, he got injured and was soon let go.

"I'd only ever danced with big companies before," the now-freelance dance-teacher-choreographer-podcaster recalls. "That desperation factor drove me to approach freelancing with a business model and a business plan."

As Kerollis acknowledges, getting the business of you off the ground ("you" as a freelance dance educator, that is) can be filled with unexpected challenges—even for the most seasoned of gigging dancers. But becoming your own CEO can make your work–life balance more sustainable, help you make more money, keep you organized, and get potential employers to offer you more respect and improved working conditions. Here's how to get smart now about branding, finances and other crucial ways to tell the dance world that you mean business.

Keep reading... Show less
Teachers Trending
Courtesy Oleson

American dance educator Shannon Oleson was teaching recreational ballet and street-dance classes in London when the pandemic hit. As she watched many of her fellow U.S. friends pack up and return home from their international adventures, she made the difficult choice to stick with her students (as well as her own training—she was midway through her MFA at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance).

Despite shutdowns and shelter-in-place orders, she was able to maintain a teaching schedule that kept her working with her dancers through Zoom, as well as lead some private, in-home acro classes following government guidelines. But keeping rec students interested in the face of pandemic fatigue hasn't been easy.

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.