At my studio, Studio Deep Roots, we have two beloved dance and movement spaces. My classes have been primarily held in the Warehouse Studio, which is our larger space, and is also our performance space for haflas and music events. When COVID-19 closed down the studio, I quickly set up our live streaming classes in the smaller studio--The JewelBox--as it was easier to control environmental factors that would effect the quality of the stream and our comfort as instructors, such as light, sound, and heat.
Over many weeks of tweaking and fine-tuning the details, we were able to come up with both sound and visual quality for our classes that has been great. Students have reported our classes as some of the highest quality they have experienced in streaming classes--in presentation and content--and that is high praise indeed given the massive influx of opportunities they have right now. It made all the hard work worthwhile.
Bonus: it's plug n' play! So any teacher who comes to rent our space can--with a little tutorial on how to turn on the proper lighting--plug their laptop into the system and be able to stream their high quality dance classes from this space using this great equipment. Check it out.
No matter what platform you are teaching on, you most likely have run into issues at one time or another with trying to find the right lighting for teaching dance, yoga, or other movement online. Any number of these common complaints sound familiar?
The joke among my students and me is "New Week; New Tweak!" It's like a game of spot the differences from a newspaper or magazine, now coming to you LIVE in your living room. LOL If it's not some new piece of tech--like a new camera, upgrading the WiFi, or an improved lavalier mic--it's a new way we're setting up the space to make it easier for students to see us on whatever device which they are trying to study with us.
In this slideshow, look at the evolution of backdrops in our teaching. From a bland beige we blend in with too easily, to vibrant colors, and even a move to a new studio space. You can see how the different colors and textures of a background, in combination with what we choose to wear each week, can make a big difference.
What tweaks have YOU introduced to your online classroom since you began? I'd love to hear other ideas and inspirations!
Everywhere you look right now there is some dance teacher experiencing an issue or complaint with Zoom and their audio. If I had a dime for every time I ran across a post about these frustrations, our studio would be set up for the rest of the pandemic, let me tell you! If you are one of these teachers, I thought I'd break it down into some simple concepts so you can at least understand the issue, and maybe you can start to find the solution that is right for you. In a future blog post, we can look at answers (or perhaps you will be empowered to employ better Google-fu than you felt able to before!) Here we go...
In short: Zoom doesn't like processing sound from multiple sources. In fact, it is specifically designed NOT to. It was optimized for office environments, where it wants to prioritize sound from a single source at a time, and actively suppress or de-prioritize sound from any other source. Think of all those clickety-clackety keyboards, or conference rooms with squeaky chairs. Zoom was offering a solution to certain problems. Unfortunately, they created problems for us dancers when we tried to use it for our unique use-case.
Shay is the owner, director, and headmistress of Deep Roots Dance, Studio Deep Roots, and Deep Roots Live! Sharing the exciting and surreal journey into teaching online during the time of COVID-19, and the joys of staying connected to community when it seems the world is literally trying to keep us apart.