Teaching Tips

Ask the Experts: Do You Prefer Apple Products or Google for Class?


Q: As a dance teacher, which products do you prefer, Apple or Google?

A: Having reliable technology you can trust is essential. Devices that are protected, durable and up-to-date provide nearly every teaching technology tool I've recommended in this column.

Many people pick an affiliation and stick to it with religious zeal. In some ways, you have to, since each sets you up for their specific "ecosystem" of devices and apps that all work together. Personally, I'm a fan of Apple. Android is an open-source platform, meaning different people can make devices, components and apps for them. Apple is closed and runs on one system that Apple monitors and controls. This makes their products less susceptible to malware, and they all work together seamlessly. Apple is generally considered to be better at protecting your private information. The main downsides are price and less ability to customize. Android phones allow you to download a third-party launcher, which means you can make changes to things like your home screen. They allow you to hide apps, create different actions for the home button and change which browsers are your default on the phone—unlike iPhones, where Safari is always the default.

Google has come a long way in terms of the hardware of their devices. The Pixel phone, a smartphone created and sold by Google, is a respectable choice with an amazing screen, though the latest models are not any cheaper than the iPhone. The Pixel Slate, Google's tablet, can do so much that it borders on being a laptop. The price is less than Apple for the base device, but with add-ons like keyboards, there isn't much of a difference. Chromebooks, laptops running on Google's Chrome OS, can be incredibly affordable. These devices are designed to be connected to the internet, so most of their apps and docs live in the cloud. If you use Google apps like Gmail, Google Drive and Google Photos, you'll find it easy to access all of your data on a Google device. Keep in mind that this can be a real con for those who don't have good internet connections or need to work offline.

In the end, there are pros and cons to both. Decide what things you value most, and choose the company that will best assists you in and out of the studio.

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.

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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.

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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.

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