Bird's-Eye View Ballet

Ever wanted to know what a day in the life of a ballet company is like? Well, if you’ve got three minutes to spare, you can get a bird’s-eye view of Boston Ballet’s daily routine of company class and rehearsals. MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory principal investigator David Gifford and grad student Adrian Dalca (dance + science = awesomeness) put several small cameras throughout the Boston Ballet studio to record one full day of activity. They later manipulated the footage to include time-lapse and slow-motion capture, added some Audiomachine music to get you pumped up and compressed the entire thing into just under three minutes, calling it “A Day of Grace with Boston Ballet.”

The highlights are getting to see the ballerinas’ individual warm-up routines and pointe shoe fiddlings and the gorgeous slow-motion arabesque around 1:49. And talk about the spacing perfection! Too bad every dance teacher can’t install ceiling cameras in her studio—that would be the absolute end of misshapen formations and dancers getting out of line. The video premiered on September 21 as part of the Boston Ballet Night of Stars gala, kicking off the 50th anniversary season for the company.

Read more about the collaboration between MIT and Boston Ballet here.

A Day of Grace with Boston Ballet - MIT CSAIL from David Gifford on Vimeo.

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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