Dancer and choreographer Matt Steffanina conducts a hip-hop tutorial on his YouTube Channel (courtesy Steffanina)
Not sure how to find solid dance training options on the internet? We asked the pros for their top tips.
1. You can’t trust everything you find on the internet. “YouTube is like the Wild West of dance,” says Jon Arpino of CLI Studios. “An 8-year-old can go online and watch another 8-year-old do aerials, but that’s not the right way to learn those tricks.”
2. Look for reputable sources. For example, you might seek out videos from performers and choreographers who teach on the convention circuit, or at a big-name studio like Broadway Dance Center in NYC or Millennium Dance Complex in L.A. These people are likely to be offering advice that’s correct and safe.
3. Also, keep in mind that a video might work for a friend, but not for you. Is the movement being broken down in a way that makes sense? Is the level appropriate? CLI Studios divides its courses by genre and skill level. Choreographers Matt Steffanina and Mandy Jiroux both note that their YouTube tutorials are designed to be accessible for beginner through advanced dancers. But not every person putting material online is as thoughtful about their content.
4. When in doubt, ask your regular teacher for guidance. “Our dancers will often show us things and ask, ‘What do you think?’ We’ll watch the video, and maybe do some additional research,” says Jami Artiga of The Dance Zone. “We also keep a list of apps that we’ll recommend for stretching, injury prevention, nutrition, and other supplemental needs.” With your teacher’s seal of approval, you can breathe easy knowing you’re getting the right info.
For more tips on how to make the most of online dance training, click here.
A version of this story appeared in the February 2018 issue of Dance Spirit with the title “Search Smart.”