Out of all of the social media tools available, YouTube is arguably the most valuable to a dancer. This subsidiary of Google is a video-sharing site that is user generated and appeals to the inherently visual – like dancers. This site enables you to upload as many videos as your heart desires (e.g., class combos, performances, tutorials, interviews) as long as they aren’t longer than 15 minutes.
Maximize YouTube by Creating a Channel
One of the useful features of YouTube is that it allows you to create a user channel. A channel can serve as a one-stop-shop to view all of your uploaded videos. In essence, a YouTube channel can be used as a dancer’s online resume or portfolio.
A bonus to creating a YouTube channel is that other users can subscribe to your channel and receive notifications when you have posted a new video. What does that mean? YouTube becomes your personal PR representative by inviting subscribers back to your channel. That doesn’t take you off the hook though. When you add a video, make sure you let your Facebook friends and Twitter followers know.
Nothing is Going to Sell You like Your Work
If you’re looking to get an agent, post a video of yourself in a favorite class, ideally with a notable choreographer in the industry. This provides viewers with a sneak peak at what you’re capable of. You never know, it might land you your next big gig.
Got a demo reel? Definitely post that, even if your agent already has. Depending on how much you work, you can break it down to the previous year or compile all of your work into one reel. Better yet, make both! Check out Answers4Dancers for examples of “killer reels.”
YouTube is Free but Quality is Not
If you’re looking to raise the quality of your work investing in a good camcorder and a software editing program is a good idea.
The Flip Ultra HD camcorder was designed for dancers. It is not only reasonably priced and sleek enough to fit in your dance bag, it also has a flip-out USB arm plugs directly into your PC or Mac.
A great feature of the Flip Ultra HD is that it has built-in software that lets you easily e-mail videos, edit individual clips, make custom movies, capture still photos from video, and even upload videos to YouTube.
In my opinion, the best part of this camcorder is the stand-up design. This allows you to place it on the stereo and easily jump into the shot with your dancers.
Tips for Posting Videos on YouTube
Give credit where it’s deserved: When posting a class combo or performance, make sure to list the dancers’ names performing in the video. This will mean more to the dancers than you realize. Also, if there is someone who helped edit the clip, do not forget to mention them. It’s okay to get help! In fact, I encourage it. It is a great way to learn from experts and expand your artist network.
Also, make sure mention the artist and title of the song in the clip. This is important for two reasons:
- It’s just polite. The artist obviously inspired you – let them inspire others.
- It creates an association between you, the song and the artist. If it’s a good routine, you can bet the next time the viewer hears that song on the radio they will think of you (and probably taking your class).
Remembering or forgetting attributions makes a big impression. The viewer will learn a lot about your personality and values through these mentions, or lack of.
Gratitude will take you a long way in life – and this industry. I know you do not want to be remembered for being a greedy dancer so do not make this easy mistake.
It’s not narcissistic, we want to see you: I know a lot of humble dancers that will not record themselves in their choreography clips. Your clips can include a couple other dancers but please get in there too. We’re watching because we want to learn from you. So just get your butt in there, OK?
Silence the chatter: It may be bumping in the studio but it’s not for the viewer. The acoustics in dance studios are not ideal for a camcorder. Instead, mute the sound from the clip and lay a sound track over it. It’s more complicated but the quality of the music makes a world of difference for the viewer.
Be short: Adding a visual intro is a great way to set the stage for your clip but keep it brief. Provide the basic information, proper attributions and then get on with it. We want to see the good stuff. Kevin Maher’s “In the Dark” clip is a good example of this.
Mirrors are not your friend: Record yourself from the audience’s perspective. If you set up the camcorder from behind you, the reflection in the mirror is distracting and just plain unflattering. Reserve that angle for your own choreography archive.
Take a look at this clip of Tucker Barkley‘s class combo to “Kiss Kiss” by Chris Brown. Choreography? Amazing. Dancers? Phenomenal. Angle? Not so hot. Can you see how distracting this angle is? Good thing for Tucker he’s so talented that it makes up for everything. He’s the exception to the rule.
I should probably mention this clip is 3 years old so that explains a lot. Yes, it’s an oldie and out of focus but still pretty damn awesome. The 312,655 views of this video makes me think I’m not the only one who feels that way.
The who, when and where: Whatever you do, do not forget to list yourself as the choreographer, and when and where viewers can take your class!
YouTube Channel’s to Check Out:
Kevin Maher – Kevin’s channel is a no frills channel but the quality is there. The videos are crisp, from a flattering angle and he consistently thanks his students who show up and work hard for him every week. In addition, he always thanks the people who help edit or create the clips. Very classy, Kevin.
Rhapsody James – Rhapsody’s channel is raising the bar for choreographers by creating clips of class combos that are music video quality. She also incorporates similar backgrounds images that reinforce her brand. This is one choreographer who really gets it. Bravo, Rhapsody.