What the rush to transition to virtual revealed about the dance world?
Dance artists and groups hurried to the internet this spring as - spread, competitive, and hopeful to a fault. Some tried interactive webcasts on Zoom, while others uploaded the film to YouTube.
Panel discussions, involving speakers and spectators from a variety of nations were organized by festivals and presenters.
Anyone comfortable with social media by the end of April might easily spend 40 hours a week watching local, regional, national, and international dancing.
Global dialogues encouraged information sharing and multicultural competence, just as brutal policing in the United States reignited a national racial justice movement.
Dance fans received access to a diverse range of performances, which not likely assisted some of them in overcoming feelings of loneliness and nervousness.
Dance performers were among the hardest damaged by the shutdowns and faced the longest wait for recovery—but at what cost?
The fact that everything was free to consume was alarming from the start. This art genre is already undervalued. There was a desire to demonstrate support through viewership, but there was also a sense that the work was being overlooked.
Difficulty in monetizing online content and classes
The main concern was that whatever the dance instructors or organizations were teaching on online platforms, couldn't be monetized. Instructors switched to platforms like IG Live and YouTube streaming but everything put out there was free to consume, and they couldn't monetize the time they were putting in.
This led, to massive losses!
The light at the end of the tunnel has diminished, prompting several groups to cancel their fall and winter seasons for 2020–21. Apart from class fees, practically all sources of earned income dried up, and competition for donations transformed every day into Giving Tuesday.
Since everything transitioned online quickly, it got very difficult for the instructors to figure out the pricing for the online classes.
They were unsure if the value of the classes should be the same or cheaper because it was online.
Yet the education being received was no different. Initially, studios started pricing cheaper, now many of the major dance studios across big cities are pricing their virtual offerings within 10% of their in-person offerings.
Who does all of this online stuff benefit?
Every weekend, there used to be a plethora of entertainment, but consumers now rarely watch anything on video. But it's great to see so many creative people going for it now, making work with the technology available to them.
Instructors adapting to the 'new normal'
Not everyone leaped online the same way. a lot of instructors avoided sharing their choreography onscreen, even though their creative process included video shoots for the projections in their tours.
Yet, they had to pressure themselves to make regular appearances during virtual conferences and participate in online discussions.
Peer pressure, more than anything else, is what drove so many companies to produce so much content so quickly, creating a pace that was difficult to maintain as the pandemic progressed.
Some organizations were better prepared to explore the medium's possibilities and develop, while others, such as dance groups, tried to stay up with them.
Virtual content creation comes at a price that not every company can afford. This is another example of a systematic unfairness that many companies suffered.
The concept of "choosing" to go virtual also returns to equity.
Some organizations are more concerned with pleasing their stakeholders or board members. They will do what they believe is expected of them.
Organizations of color, which have traditionally been undercapitalized and had restricted access to resources, are disproportionately affected by this lack of choice.
The motivation to go virtual is almost entirely self-imposed, with audiences and funders often allowing dancers to determine what (and how much) to produce while distancing constraints were in place.
The longer this goes on, the less valuable live performances become, or whether we'll discover that their absence makes the heart grow fonder.
However, it is a practice, and both dancers and spectators will have to exercise that muscle to regain it.
How did technology enable instructors moving online?
With the paradigm shift to online classes, the dance industry has witnessed enormous potential with virtual offerings that the performing arts world is now realizing.
The pandemic has changed the way the world perceives the online dance industry. More than an art, dance has become a form of self-care. It has helped people, relieve and come out of the zoom fatigue. Zoom and other virtual dance learning platforms are here to stay for a multitude of reasons.
There are certainly great advantages, but many people are concerned about the obstacles and shortcomings of this "new normal" in dance pedagogy.
The virtual platforms, made each choreographer, a tech person more than an instructor.
The transition needed a lot of remodeling of the classes and course. Of course, online dancing education has been thriving for decades. Students can use their smart gadgets to learn hip hop, salsa, Bollywood, or practically any other style they want.
However, many of these platforms focus on elementary abilities or one-on-one training in "command mode," as it is known in movement learning. In other words, instructors "break down" dance sequences as students strive to imitate the moves.
Some internet venues, on the other hand, are interactive. Students can use these to request clarifications, advanced variations, a review of the previous content, or proposed adjustments for injuries or other physical issues.
This type of virtual, real-time experience lends itself to private or semi-private forms, therefore it costs more than a download of taped masterclasses where students work through predetermined material on their own.
These types of classes are excellent introductions to the world of dance. They can also be a valuable source of money for dance teachers who desire to expand their teaching.
New opportunities for instructors
For years, choreographers and researchers have experimented with virtual, synchronic classes. The technology that allows numerous people in different time zones and locations to dance separately/together opens up new possibilities and debates.
Students are able to connect with others who are far removed from their particular geographical home in a variety of ways as a result of this.
The shift to online comes with a plethora of opportunities as well.
Along with the global reach, the instructors can tap into a lot of benefits, helping them monetize their time as well as the content that they put up for viewers.
With the transition, a lot of organizations implemented the 'hybrid model' of teaching dance.
The dance companies can monetize and earn revenue from a wider audience, and not just be restricted to the studio or online classes.