2020 has presented the world with many logistical challenges to overcome. If you are a dance teacher who can not currently teach in a studio you may be considering teaching dance classes online. Check out these 7 tips for hosting livestream classes to help you ease the transition into becoming an online dance teacher.
1. Your interactions with students will be different. This is a no brainer – of course it’ll be different!
New York swing dance teacher Stina Dallons explains how:
“It’s weird going from a teacher that is hands on. If I’m doing something and I look behind and I notice that someone else isn’t doing it correctly I can be like “No no no no, not that. Pick up your foot, put it down.” Now I have to wait for an emote. I’m waiting for a thumbs up or a heart.”
Feedback will likely come from students’ emotes or typed comments, which can be a challenge to monitor while you’re instructing. It’s a good idea to consider this factor when planning your lesson.
2. Time is relative. This one is simple but easy to forget at first. Not everyone who wants to take your online dance class lives in your region of the world. Always remember to specify the time zone when promoting your class!
3. Your livestream platform matters. Think about what is most important to you when you’re choosing a platform to teach on. Do you want your livestream to stay up until you take it down? Want access to your class to be for paying students only or open to everyone? Do you want to be able to see your students?
Consider your priorities and do a little research before that first lesson.
Know that you don’t have to stick to just one platform. Dance Break facilitator Jess Grippo uses multiple platforms.
“I open up a Zoom room. People can join if they want to see me and each other and allow me to see them. They join the Zoom room and then I broadcast the Zoom room to Facebook, but you can take part in it through Zoom if you want.”
4. Communicate requirements. How much floor space is needed for the class? Do students need a bar? A mirror? A partner? Is there a cost for the lesson? Are students required to download an app to participate in your online dance class?
Make sure to specify any important information before you begin the class.
5. Consider collaborations. Roger and Mané Plaut like to teach livestream ballet classes as a couple.
“We find it’s easier to teach together for the online classes because there are so many different things to think about to make sure it’s all working properly. You have to make sure that the video feed is going out, that the sound quality is good, that the music can be heard, and you have to try to respond to people’s comments if they’re having problems.”
Additionally, during demonstrations, one faces the camera while the other faces away from it. Their students like to see both front and back views. People also enjoy watching the couple interact with each other during the lesson. It adds a little extra flavor to their dance class.
If you can’t physically collaborate with another dance teacher consider virtual collabs. Think about reaching out to other online instructors to cross-promote your online dance classes.
6. Test Your tools first. Fast internet connection and the right video equipment are both important factors for a successful livestream session. Roger and Mané experienced lag-time in the beginning but were able to fix the problem by upgrading their router. A good webcam or a smartphone with a high-quality camera is often essential for video.
Through trial and error, Lindy Hop and Balboa teacher Laura Keat found that her webcam was unable to keep up with her footwork. “Sometimes when we danced if we moved too fast the movement could be blurred whereas my iPhone camera is better for movement.”
Audio is a factor as well. If the mic on your camera isn’t picking up your voice well you might need to invest in an external microphone.
7. Promote your class in advance. Give people the opportunity to plan to take your dance class! Many teachers create a Facebook event page prior to the class and invite students, friends, and family. You can then share the event page to relevant Facebook groups. Some teachers even create their own Facebook group for their lessons. This can create a sense of community with your students or can be used as a medium to hype your classes. Got an email list? Send out a newsletter with your class dates!
There are many things to consider before teaching an online dance class, but there are some things you won’t know until you try! Planning is important but it’s okay to be flexible and change things as you learn.
For a little inspiration check out our Epic Online Dance Classes article.
In recent weeks, pandemic regulations have changed the face of dance instruction. With public spaces closed and social gatherings forbidden, many dance teachers have turned to a method of teaching they’d never considered before: the online dance class.
Being unable to go to your favorite local dance class can be a bummer, but now you have unprecedented access to an incredible number of talented dance teachers!
Here are some of our favorites:
Solo Jazz with Stina
Stina Dallons is New York City based swing teacher now teaching live solo jazz classes every Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday at 7 PM EST. Stina’s classes are streamed via Facebook live on her personal Facebook page. Classes are donations based, so you just pay what you can. Stina gives half of her donations to You Should Be Dancing Studios and the other half to charity.
Swing Classes with Laura Keat
Acclaimed Lindy Hop and Balboa instructor Laura Keat has taken a temporary break from teaching at large swing conferences to offer one-on-one instruction and workshops for Bal follows. She’s also working on launching instructional videos. Information about Laura Keat’s classes can be found on her website.
Dance Breaks with Jess Grippo
If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to cut loose and dance intuitively then consider tuning into Dance Breaks with Jess Grippo. This published author, entrepreneur, and ballet teacher currently hosts Dance Breaks every Wednesday at 1PM EST. Jess’ Dance Breaks are free but donations are welcome.
Follow Focus with Natalia Eristavi
Love Lindy? You can now learn from international Lindy Hop instructor Natalia Eristavi! Natalia is creating online instructional content for swing and jazz dancers via her Patreon page. There are three tier options you can subscribe to receive online dance instruction from Natalia.
West Coast Swing with Jérome & Bonnie Subey
Want to learn some solo WCS drills via Facebook live? Then join Jérome & Bonnie Subey in their online dance dojo! Classes are available to anyone, but a donation is requested. Suggested donation is $10. Check out the Subey’s Facebook page for upcoming online dance classes!
Low Intermediate Ballet Bar Classes with Mané and Roger Plaut
Washington D.C. based couple Mané and Roger are a dynamic duo with decades of experience and they want to teach you ballet! This charismatic teacher team offers hour-long lessons every Tuesday and Friday at 7 PM EST. Classes are $10 or 4 classes for $35.
Structured Swing Instruction with Syncopated City
Want to work through a comprehensive library of exceptionally produced lessons at your own pace? Want live coaching and access to a community forum? Consider a subscription to Syncopated City. For $25 a month you’ll receive instruction from experienced professionals on floor craft, bodywork, solo or partnered movement, and more!
West Coast Swing Phil and Flore
Want a West Coast Swing class every Wednesday? Tune in to Phil and Flore online from Montreal at 7 PM EST on Wednesdays. Take 4 classes for $43 from this Canadian based couple of international West Coast Swing champions.
Wine Down-Dog with Jes Ann Nail
This chill Vinyasa yoga class is perfect for any dancer. All you’ll need for this 45-minute flow is your yoga mat, a glass of wine (or other drink of your choice), a quiet space, and $10. Jes Ann also teaches a variety of dance classes including solo footwork drills and more. Follow all her classes on her Facebook page.
Want more options for epic online dance classes to take this Spring? Check out our website’s curated list of upcoming online dance classes!
Roger Plaut and Mané Rebelo-Plaut have been married for almost thirty years. They first met through mutual friends in the New York City dance scene. Back then they probably didn’t anticipate they’d move to Zurich, Switzerland, together to work as professional dancers. They certainly didn’t anticipate teaching live stream ballet classes together from their home outside Washington, DC.
“We have two cats, and sometimes the cats run into the space and participate in our class. People get a kick out of that,” Roger says with a smile. The Plauts are professional dance instructors who have figured out how to work from home during recent pandemic related shelter-in-place orders.
“This is a way that we can bring people together, even if it’s virtually. They’re working on their ballet technique and getting some exercise but they’re also getting a little bit of a human connection.”
Both Roger and Mané have been teaching dance since they were teenagers. Through decades of experience, they’ve learned dance is good for the body, but that it’s also good for the brain.
“We realized the discipline of dance helped us tremendously after ending our performance careers. We went back to school and it was incredible. I felt the difference. We were much better students,” Mané explains. “When you’re a dancer, you have to be self-motivated if you want to improve. Your teacher can’t do it for you. You also have to think so many things at the same time that you train your brain in a different way.”
“Dance is very good for your mind,” Roger agrees, “for keeping your mind active, for fighting off dementia.”
Roger and Mané are grateful to be able to continue to share dance education with others despite the logistical restrictions. They explain that it is a challenge not being able to see their students to give them corrections, but that some appreciate the online format.
“Some people actually said that they didn’t want to be seen. We’re getting students who haven’t done ballet in a while and maybe would prefer not to be judged.”
Many of their students also enjoy that the Plauts are teaching as a team, which is a rarity.
“One of us usually faces front and one faces back and then we switch. People love that, and love the fact that we interact with each other. We kind of, you know, we have a few jokes once in a while, so I think part of the reason people like it is not just because they’re getting value but they’re interacting with us as people.”
Roger and Mané are currently teaching their low-intermediate ballet barre classes from 7 to 8 PM EST on Tuesdays and Fridays. A class with this dynamic duo will cost $10 per class or 4 classes for $35. Once you’ve registered for class you’ll just need to hop on the stream, make sure you have something stable to hold onto and room to move your legs and arms around.
Interested in classes? Check out their Facebook page for more information.
Roger and Mané’s Must-Have Dance Tools:
1. TheraBand Resistance Bands: Roger recommends you use resistance bands to strengthen your feet and calves. “There’s all sorts of different exercises that you can do with them.”
2. Bosu Half Moon Ball: Mané likes to use this tool for balance. “I actually use it while I’m at my computer. I stand on it at my standing desk. It’s a great way to work on your abs. It’s perfect.”
Follow Mané and Roger