5 Best Practices for Virtual Dance Education
The pandemic has transformed performing arts education around the world and has required instructors to embrace the virtual classroom to sustain their dance careers. But this shift to remote creative work isn't just temporary; it's the future!
The Changing Dance Economy
Estimations show the e-learning market worldwide is forecast to surpass 243 billion U.S. dollars by 2022. In 2016, the self-paced e-learning product market amounted to 46.67 billion U.S. dollars and is projected to decrease to 33.5 billion U.S. dollars in 2021.
Over the last year, educators have experienced access to a global community of students that has allowed them to expand their businesses and 4x their revenue in ways never before possible.
With the re-opening of studios, however, instructors who have experienced the benefits of virtual education must now explore new ways of teaching to accommodate both their in-person and virtual class offerings.
Technology has changed the possibilities within teaching and learning, classes, which prior to the digital era were restricted to studio classes no longer have to be designed in that manner.
Dance educators who never taught virtually can now tap into the opportunities and benefits that virtual dance education provides.
Moving your dance classes from the studio to home was probably a difficult adjustment. After all, the living room isn’t exactly the best place to teach a great pas de bourrée!
Best practices to kickstart your virtual dance classes
Regardless of whether you choose to now host your virtual classes at home or in a studio, or whether you’re completely new to virtual education, here are some best practices our team of expert dancers has compiled to help you be successful in the inevitable future of virtual dance education.
1. Check your space
Don’t dance in the garage just because it has the most open space in your house. Your space plays an important role; being visible is your responsibility and remember, every pixel counts. Choose a background with a solid color — preferably white so that your students can easily see your movement.
Move any unnecessary objects out of the way and take note of any mirrors in your space, as the mirror can reflect clutter in the room.
2. Your costume counts.
Students should be able to see your whole body from head to toe, even with all your stretches and movement. Wear fitted clothing that outlines your form and complements your chosen background (we suggest deeper colors that contrast your natural skin color).
High-contrast shoes & socks draw attention to footwork, and hip scarves help students see your hip movements without confusion.
3. Mirror, mirror on the wall.
Sure, there are options like ManyCam that could help ease the virtual directional challenges, but nothing seems to work — especially for the technically shy. If you have the luxury of a mirror in your space, all you have to do is face the mirror and ask your students to follow along.
For best results, set up your laptop or the webcam behind you so that your body is between your setup and the mirror.
If you don’t have a mirror, don’t sweat it; a week's practice and you’ll be able to train yourself to address this challenge with simple commands!
All you have to do is say the opposite of what you are demonstrating: raise your left hand and say “right.”
4. Let’s talk about latency.
It’s important to be at peace with latency before you transition to virtual dance education. Latency is the time it takes for data to reach its destination; this is measured in milliseconds and can be affected by propagation delay, amount of time it takes for the first bit to travel over a link between sender and receiver, or routing and switching, also sometimes because of queuing and buffering.
Zoom has a latency of ~135 milliseconds, so your students may look like they're performing out of sync, but this is just the time it takes for the data to travel from various sources to you.
Yes, this can be quite frustrating so you may want to ask your students to send you a recording every couple of weeks to make sure they're on beat.
5. Go big and go home
What will astonish you is the global community you now have access to. Along with the global benefits, growing dance business online turns out to be cost-effective, has a wider reach, and is convenient and easy to access. It is a customized form of learning and is flexible according to your needs.
Tools that enable virtual classes
You'll have many tools available to you; Zoom has been the hot topic of the pandemic and has profoundly transformed the entertainment industry over the last year. These tools, however, were built for the corporate sector and largely ignore the custom needs of the creative industry.
And as a result, many creative businesses have approached the limits to what they can achieve online. Corporate conferencing tools weren't built for you, and they weren't built for your dance classes — imagine teaching your dance class in a corporate conference room, instead of a studio (no thanks!).
But what if there were an easier way than hacking it through with these little tricks?
A platform built to cater to the needs of instructors
Versai is the first video conferencing tool, specially curated to serve artists and dancers all across the globe. From having an inbuilt music system to being able to group students for efficient teaching, trainers can now grow and build their business hassle-free.
Reducing the online friction significantly, using Versai not only enhances a trainer’s global brand and revenue but also allows them to access their students in a much more intimate manner. From automatic mirroring settings to providing a clear layout of the student-teacher panel, the grasping of steps becomes much more visible and clearer for both parties.
With Versai, dancing becomes an all-rounded experience for the trainer and blooming dancers.
We understand that you need a place to sell...and a place to do work. We're bridging that gap with a tool that was built just for you.