Need Choreographic Inspiration? Try Your…Treadmill!

If you’re not “Uptown Funk”-ed out yet, you need to see this video of Carson Dean dancing on a treadmill (his YouTube video description reads, “The best cardio workout! Don’t believe me just watch”—nudge-nudge wink-wink, Carson). But this is more than just a cardio workout: It’s a smooth hip-hop dance, with a couple of grands battements thrown in.

This video then prompted me to look up some of my other favorite treadmill-dance videos. (Duh. The vicious YouTube vortex strikes again.) Remember the band OK Go’s video for “Here It Goes Again”? They did it all in one take! And it was choreographed by Trish Sie, who’s created stuff for Pilobolus and directed Step Up: All In.

My treadmill search then led me to this little gem that reached its peak popularity a few months ago: Guy on a treadmill in a gym, doing sweet, sweet moves. With absolutely no inhibitions. Some genius overlaid “Mack the Knife” as the background music. Perfect.

Which then led me to this little video here—an advertisement for NordicTrack. According to the YouTube description, choreographer Jason Celaya used 12 YouTube and Vine stars and 40 dancers to star in the “world’s largest treadmill dance.” (There’s also a fun saxophone cameo, which appears unrelated.) Definitely a great workout.

Allie Burke, courtesy Lo Cascio

If you'd hear it on the radio, you won't hear it in Anthony Lo Cascio's tap classes.

"If I play a song that my kids know, I'm kind of disappointed in myself," he says. "I either want to be on the cutting edge or playing the classics."

He finds that most of today's trendy tracks lack the depth needed for tap, and that there's a disconnect between kids and popular music. "They have trouble finding the beat compared to older genres," he says.

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Courtesy Lovely Leaps

After the birth of her daughter in 2018, engineer Lisa McCabe had reservations about returning to the workforce full-time. And while she wanted to stay home with the new baby, she wasn't ready to stop contributing financially to her family (after all, she'd had a successful career designing cables for government drones). So, when she got a call that September from an area preschool to lead its dance program, she saw an opportunity.

The invitation to teach wasn't completely out of the blue. McCabe had grown up dancing in Southern California and had a great reputation from serving as her church's dance teacher and team coach the previous three years (stopping only to take a break as a new mother). She agreed to teach ballet and jazz at the preschool on Fridays and from there created an age-appropriate class based on her own training in the Cecchetti and RAD methods. It was a success: In three months, class enrollment went from six to 24 students, and just one year later, McCabe's blossoming Lovely Leaps brand had contracts with eight preschools and three additional teachers.

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Courtesy Shake the Ground

Dance competitions were among the first events to be shut down when the COVID-19 pandemic exploded in the U.S. in mid-March, and they've been among the last able to restart.

So much of the traditional structure of the competition—large groups of dancers and parents from dozens of different studios; a new city every week—simply won't work in our new pandemic world.

How, then, have competitions been getting by, and what does the future look like?

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