Have You Considered Booking Your Teaching Gigs Using Instagram?

If you're looking to find new teaching jobs or just expand your reach as a teacher, look no further than your Instagram account. Developing a digital voice that connects with studios and dancers is an easy (and cost-free) strategy to boost your profile.

"Instagram has definitely shined a spotlight on my gifts as a teacher," says Kelby Brown, who's taught for American Ballet Theatre and at conventions like The PULSE.

"I have had many inquiries about teaching master classes or being asked to be on faculty at different schools. It has also kept dance competitions in the know and reminds them to bring me out as a judge and educator."

Here, Brown offers his insights to make your Insta account start working for you.

Create a Posting Schedule

I usually post Monday through Friday on a good week. Otherwise I post roughly three days a week. It depends on how much material I have, or if I need to savor the moments. I love to build at least two weeks of posts to stay ahead of the game. I basically create a catalog of posts weekly that can last up to two weeks.

Make It Personal

You have to be visible so people know who you are and what you do. This is important so your followers know you as a person and not just as a selling machine. Ultimately, if people are interested in you the person, it will translate into their interest of you the brand. You are your brand. So balance your content with your real life.

Add the Extras

Just like auditioning for a job, the last thing they see is that headshot to remember you by. It's imperative to post great pictures with great filters, if needed. A great message to go along with the picture is helpful. We all need positive motivation! But change it up with videos, boomerangs, quotes, etc.

Be Consistent

Stay on brand and always use the same fonts and video styles. Use popular hashtags. Inspire your audience, and they will tend to like you more. Know your audience, and let your audience know you. Choose how frequently you post and stick to that. Don't overpost and don't underpost. Use the Insta stories when possible.

Tagging Is Your Friend

Always tag star dancers, popular organizations and brands (i.e. @maddieziegler, @jump, @capezio, etc.). Studios have often reposted my posts when it involves their students. Most of all, have fun and be creative.

Mary Malleney, courtesy Osato

In most classes, dancers are encouraged to count the music, and dance with it—emphasizing accents and letting the rhythm of a song guide them.

But Marissa Osato likes to give her students an unexpected challenge: to resist hitting the beats.

In her contemporary class at EDGE Performing Arts Center in Los Angeles (which is now closed, until they find a new space), she would often play heavy trap music. She'd encourage her students to find the contrast by moving in slow, fluid, circular patterns, daring them to explore the unobvious interpretation of the steady rhythms.

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For Parents

Darrell Grand Moultrie teaches at a past Jacob's Pillow summer intensive. Photo Christopher Duggan, courtesy Jacob's Pillow

In the past 10 months, we've grown accustomed to helping our dancers navigate virtual school, classes and performances. And while brighter, more in-person days may be around the corner—or at least on the horizon—parents may be facing yet another hurdle to help our dancers through: virtual summer-intensive auditions.

In 2020, we learned that there are some unique advantages of virtual summer programs: the lack of travel (and therefore the reduced cost) and the increased access to classes led by top artists and teachers among them. And while summer 2021 may end up looking more familiar with in-person intensives, audition season will likely remain remote and over Zoom.

Of course, summer 2021 may not be back to in-person, and that uncertainty can be a hard pill to swallow. Here, Kate Linsley, a mom and academy principal of Nashville Ballet, as well as "J.R." Glover, The Dan & Carole Burack Director of The School at Jacob's Pillow, share their advice for this complicated process.

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Teachers Trending

From left: Anthony Crickmay, Courtesy Dance Theatre of Harlem Archives; Courtesy Ballethnic

It is the urgency of going in a week or two before opening night that Lydia Abarca Mitchell loves most about coaching. But in her role as Ballethnic Dance Company's rehearsal director, she's not just getting the troupe ready for the stage. Abarca Mitchell—no relation to Arthur Mitchell—was Mitchell's first prima ballerina when he founded Dance Theatre of Harlem with Karel Shook; through her coaching, Abarca Mitchell works to pass her mentor's legacy to the next generation.

"She has the same sensibility" as Arthur Mitchell, says Ballethnic co-artistic director Nena Gilreath. "She's very direct, all about the mission and the excellence, but very caring."

Ballethnic is based in East Point, a suburban city bordering Atlanta. In a metropolitan area with a history of racism and where funding is hard-won, it is crucial for the Black-led ballet company to present polished, professional productions. "Ms. Lydia" provides the "hard last eye" before the curtain opens in front of an audience.

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