Ask The Experts: Slide Show Presentations

Q: I’ve been using PowerPoint to make my classroom presentations for nearly a decade. How can I breathe some new life into my stale slide shows for my dance classes?

A: Slide show presentation programs created with Microsoft’s PowerPoint and Apple’s Keynote have become the norm for presentations, but we are dance people. We move, and so should our presentations. I use Prezi, a cloud-based presentation software. Instead of just having image after image pop up on the screen, Prezi lets you set the pathway from slide to slide, giving you the feeling of movement throughout your presentation. You can zoom in and out of slides and look at the presentation as a whole or just a part. It feels cinematographic.

When you design a presentation, think like an educator: What’s the big concept? You can create the presentation to reflect that concept and even determine the way you navigate through it. For my “Tech Toolbox” presentation, I have an image of a toolbox that I can zoom in and out of to see the tech tools (which I layered into the toolbox picture) that I recommend. This way, you drive home the theme graphically.

Prezi is also a great tool for performances. I use it for my in-school performances, first to explain the curriculum to the parents, and then as a backdrop for the dances. For a theme focused on the planet Earth, my presentation started off with a picture of Earth viewed from space. I could then zoom in on different places on the planet, where I’d embedded the slide that accompanied each dance. It turned a lower school dance performance into a multimedia event, and afterward I found that the parents’ comments reflected a much better understanding of the whole process.

Barry Blumenfeld teaches at the Friends School in New York City. He is an adjunct professor at New York University and on faculty at the Dance Education Laboratory of the 92nd Street Y.

Photo courtesy of Barry Blumenfeld 
Teacher Voices
Photo courtesy Rhee Gold Company

Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, there has been a shift in our community that is so impressive that the impact could last long into our future. Although required school closures have hit the dance education field hard, what if, when looking back on this time, we see that it's been an incredible renaissance for dance educators, studio owners and the young dancers in our charge?

How could that be, you ask?

Keep reading... Show less
Teachers Trending
Photo by Yvonne M. Portra, courtesy Faulkner

It's a Wednesday in May, and 14 Stanford University advanced modern ­dance students are logged on to Zoom, each practicing a socially distanced duet with an imaginary person. "Think about the quality of their personality and the type of duet you might have," says their instructor Katie Faulkner, "but also their surface area and how you'd relate to them in space." Amid dorm rooms, living rooms, dining rooms and backyards, the dancers make do with cramped quarters and dodge furniture as they twist, curve, stretch and intertwine with their imaginary partners.

Keep reading... Show less
Getty Images

Securing the correct music licensing for your studio is an important step in creating a financially sound business. "Music licensing is something studio owners seem to either embrace or ignore completely," says Clint Salter, CEO and founder of the Dance Studio Owners Association. While it may seem like it's a situation in which it's easier to ask for forgiveness rather than permission—that is, to wait until you're approached by a music-rights organization before purchasing a license—Salter disagrees, citing Peloton, the exercise company that produces streaming at-home workouts. In February, Peloton settled a music-licensing suit with the National Music Publishers' Association out-of-court for an undisclosed amount. Originally, NMPA had sought $300 million in damages from Peloton. "It can get extremely expensive," says Salter. "It's not worth it for a studio to get caught up in that."

As you continue to explore a hybrid online/in-person version of your class schedule, it's crucial that your music licenses include coverage for livestreamed instruction—which comes with its own particular requirements. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about music licensing—in both normal times and COVID times—as well as some safe music bets that won't pose any issues.

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.