Just like foodies pursue their favorite taco trucks, dance lovers can track beloved choreographers and teachers through pop-up events advertised on social media.

"I've stopped thinking of myself as a starving artist," says Natalia Roberts, a Brooklyn-based dancer who has almost 5,000 followers on Instagram. "I am my own business."

Through Instagram posts, Roberts, who has a background in fitness and architecture, chooses off-beat locations to showcase site-specific choreography for events, like this gallery opening at Long Island City's Cigar Factory. Her strong web presence operates as a 24-hour business card cultivating the element of surprise.

Pop-ups rely on the delight of being in the right place at the right time. Such flashes of intrigue have changed the way consumers engage with products and services, according to "How Pop-Ups Took Over America's Restaurants." Because dance itself is built on impermanence, many artists embrace fleeting moments to market themselves on the web.

Below are five suggestions to get you onboard the pop-up train.


Stand on the right platforms.

Snapchat is preferred by audiences younger than 24, according to Forbes. Millennials like Instagram. The platform works well as a branding tool if you have outstanding video and visual content, but there's no good way to add multiple links, other than placing one in the bio section. For promoting events, don't underestimate the power of Facebook, the world's largest social network with more than 2 billion users. Three months ago, New York choreographers Christopher Noffke and Avital Asuleen teamed up to form Combustion Collective, a partnership focused on pop-up musical theater classes in hip locations like Arts on Site in the East Village. They combined their friend networks to build a pool of likely clients. Although Noffke and Asuleen advertised on Twitter and Instagram, their highest engagements came from Facebook, where events pages allowed students to RSVP.

You gotta have a gimmick.

Noffke and Asuleen decided their pop-up focus is for "musical dancers who want to stand out like Cassie" in A Chorus Line. "Our classes are for people who dream of being the star rather than cast in the ensemble," Asuleen explains. Meanwhile, Mikey Cusumano, a former dancer with the American Ballet Theatre, conducts pop-up classes in character as Madame Olga, his Russian female alter-ego. Through Instagram, thousands of followers can learn about Olga's up-to-the-minute teaching schedule, even when she is on the road.

Hash it out.

Hashtags are sorting devices that help strangers find you based on unique keywords. Use liberally on Instagram at the end of your text. The hashtag #popup is a strong general category that includes 2,152,928 posts ranging from burger sales to henna application. Meanwhile, the hashtag #popupdance is more specific, pulling up more than 300 images of choreography from across the globe. Pop-up dance posts include a tender duet performed on a Polish street with Patrycja Wiśniewska and Marc Brewer, who has performed on "America's Got Talent." Another by dancefestuk features women in unusual Victorian garb in an English shopping district during the holidays.

Make friends with videographers.

Natalia Roberts barters her services as a personal trainer with top-notch photographers, some of whom happen to be her fitness clients. Dancers are valuable to videographers who want to add action and excitement to their portfolios. Often, she collaborates with them to perform free fitness modeling and original choreography in exchange for promotional content. As a result, she has developed a cinematic eye and editing chops of her own. Her website stands out with its movie-like presentation of The Bridge, her upcoming show featuring 10 dancers. When one of these cast members mimics a scream, the camera zooms in on her mouth before cutting to a man lying on his back with his arms crossed.

Get legit.

If a student gets injured during your pop-up class, that pupil could sue, according to Merlyne Jean-Louis, a former dancer and principal attorney. "Because liability is a major issue for independent dance teachers [those who are not employed by a studio or dance company], these teachers should consider forming an entity," Jean-Louis says. "If a dance teacher who owns an LLC is sued for dance-related activities, the other party would bring suit against the LLC and not the teacher individually. This is advantageous to the teacher, because the teacher's personal assets, such as a car or home, would be shielded." Other considerations pertain to copyright. Unless an agreement says otherwise, the copyright to a choreographic work created by a teacher and other dancers is jointly owned by all, she adds. For additional legal advice regarding pop-ups and online choreography, visit Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts.

The Conversation
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It's February! The month of love (and by extension, the month of pink) is upon us. We are major fans of a good class theme, and dressing lovey-dovey is one of our very favorites! So this month, to keep you on brand, we have a list of our favorite pink leos on the market right now. They're all kinds of wonderful.

Check them out and let us know your favorite in the comments!

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Check out our five reasons why, and let us know over in our comments if we got 'em right!

XOXO

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We've all had times when we've failed miserably while trying our best to communicate important concepts and ideas to our students. We are all well-meaning with hopes that our dancers will achieve their dreams and become kind humans along the way. Unfortunately, our delivery may need some honing in order to help them without causing some damage,

Here are four common phrases dance teachers often say, and four ways we can adjust them to make them constructive and productive.

Let us know over on our Facebook page what phrases you try to avoid as a dance teacher!

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Just like your car, your studio needs periodic tune-ups to keep it humming along smoothly. If you take the time to address a few small fixes, your business will stand out. And you don't have to break the bank, either—you might be surprised how low-cost, DIY improvements can make a surprising difference.

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Running a studio can be a major juggling act. It's no surprise, then, that a few things slip through the cracks—costing you money or students. Watch out for two common but often unnoticed mistakes, and you'll find yourself with more time, clients and revenue on your hands.

1. Using online registration as a crutch

If you offer registration via your studio website, make sure you aren't losing clients by neglecting in-person registration. One day Kathy Morrow, director of Dance Du Coeur in Sugar Land,Texas, overheard a front desk staffer directing a new client to the studio's website to register, rather than offering to do it over the phone. "I thought, You had a fish on the hook—why didn't you walk them through it?" she says. "When you register, there are a lot of boxes to check off. Some people want to pay with a check, some to link to a credit card. We can make it easier by answering any questions directly."

2. Not delegating

Have you heard yourself say, once too often, "If I want it done right, I have to do it myself"? Overextending yourself because of perfectionism or a misguided need to control can be counterproductive. By creating choreography, teaching, bookkeeping, cleaning, making phone calls, typesetting, doing payroll, mailings and ordering, you could be leaving no time for the very things that will create your best business. Misty Lown decided to delegate all the teaching at her Onalaska, Wisconsin-based studio, Misty's Dance Unlimited. "Giving up teaching was super-hard," she says, "but it's the best decision I ever made. Whenever I was teaching, it meant I never saw the other five classrooms that were operating during that time. Now I can rotate my time checking on classrooms and interacting with students."

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Working with a 9-year-old student, Alexandra Koltun asks the young girl to face the barre. She reviews fifth position, demi-pointe with the front foot and coupé devant. "I separate all the positions, so the student understands each one," says Koltun, founder and artistic director of Koltun Ballet Boston. She reaches down to shape the girl's foot into sur le cou-de-pied, leaving the heel in front and gently squeezing the toes around the ankle. "This position will equip the foot with more strength," she says.

Depending on a ballet teacher's preference and style of training, sur le cou-de-pied (meaning "on the neck of the foot") may be incorporated into class at different times and in various ways. From steps like pas de cheval to frappé and développé, the wrapped position can be fundamental to a student's technical development. Or it can be used less often and as a supplement to cou-de-pied front and back. Either way, the value of the position remains constant as a tool to mold and strengthen dancers' feet.

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Show your significant other how much you love them through dance! Send them one of your favorite romantic dance videos that best describes your feelings, and they're sure to swoon!

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You're welcome in advance!

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The best way to celebrate a holiday in the dance teacher world is to create a class combo that fits the theme! It's a sure-fire way to get you and your kiddos into the spirit of the day! So, Valentine's Day, we recommend some mushy, cheesy, oh-so-wonderful love songs!

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When it comes to running a thriving dance studio, Cindy Clough knows what she's talking about. As executive director of Just For Kix and a studio owner for more than four decades, she's all too aware of the unique challenges the job presents, from teaching to scheduling to managing employees and clients.

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