Taking Your Technique Class Online: 5 Questions for Teaching Artist Kristin Damrow

Photo courtesy of Damrow

Kristin Damrow is a beloved teaching artist in the San Francisco Bay Area. On average, she teaches 15 hours a week with adults and teens of different levels, plus directs her company Kristin Damrow & Company. She is also a tech-savvy artist who makes vlogs and maximizes social-media posts through Facebook and Instagram to support her teaching and choreographic work. Her dance work is already well-connected via technology.

This week we asked Kristin a few questions as she posted her first online teaching video, in light of the COVID-19 outbreak and the closing of all institutions in which she teaches.

What essential elements are you trying to keep in your technique classes right now, including through your online videos?

The biggest thing is trying to keep us moving big even with the challenges of small spaces. How can we keep little sparks of momentum and articulation? How can we still feel like we are in a class? How can we just keep moving big—at least that big sensation in our bodies?

Can you talk us through the tech side of it (recording, editing and uploading)?

I did a little research on what other people have been offering. I wanted to do my own filming (not livestreaming). To consider the smaller space format, I have been doing a lot of planning.

I recorded on my iPhone with a wide angle iPhone 11 lens, on a tripod. It is my at-home set up, and I am lucky to have nice light in our apartment.

I am playing music from the speaker, so that people can still hear me talking.

I recorded about 1 1/2 hours of material. Then from there I uploaded it to iMovie and edited it. I wanted to try to pack it into 1 hour—a lot of movement and challenging yourself with this condensed material.

From there, I uploaded it to YouTube and up online through my personal website. Then, of course, sharing it via social media. It will stay online, and people can revisit it.

I also like to use YouTube so I can see the stats and how many people are on there. Right now you have to click the link from Instagram, Facebook or my website to access the video. It is not public on YouTube.

What about the money side of it and access? Deciding to offer for free, sliding scale, etc.

Right now it is donation-based. If it takes off, then maybe I will consider a monthly subscription via Patreon. It definitely has not replaced the income I would have made this week teaching. We will see how this builds over the coming weeks.

How long did your first 60-minute video take from start to finish?

If you livestream, it does take away a lot of this work!

It took me 3–4 hours total, including about 1 1/2 hours planning the class material. I always like to have a nice, professional approach to all of it. Plus, this time frame is based on me coming into this project with some video skills since I already do video blogs (vlogs) with my company.

When will your next video come out?

I just completed recording my next class, which will be an intermediate/advanced level class. Stay tuned!

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