So You Think You Can Film in Class

Last year I wrote a blog post called, So You Think You Can Film in Class. I wrote it because I had attended a recent tap festival that I was teaching at and the phone situation was out of hand! I saw dancers taking class with phones in their bras and pants pockets, whipping them out to film a teacher’s breakdown moment out of fear that they may not be invited to film a breakdown at the end of class. Even wilder, I saw people walk into a class that they weren’t taking, did not register for, did not pay for, and film it!

When did this become acceptable? (1:15)

At what point in time did it become acceptable to bring your phone into the studio and/or film a teacher without their permission?

Filming in the middle of a class without the teacher’s consent is disrespectful to the teacher and distracting to the other students. I think the best learning environment is one where we have respect for the teacher, their material AND the other dancers who have paid for the class. Artists spend so much time honing their craft as well as their teaching philosophies and they have every right to protect their material and choose how it is shared with the world.

In-Studio Etiquette for technological advances (2:40)

Before filming any footage in the studio, consider the following:

  • Did the teacher give you permission to film?
  • Where is the footage going?
  • Did the teacher give you permission to share the footage?
  • Is the footage for your eyes only?
  • How much is this technology helping me?
  • Is it possible that you’re hindering your education by filming all the time?

Is throwing the camera away the solution to retaining class material? (3:47)

Removing the phone from our hands allows students to be engaged in other ways. Maybe by getting a dance journal and writing corrections, ideas and a recap of lessons. Try to enjoy the moment: absorb the art through your eyes rather than through the screen of your phone. (This is a concept that can be applied both in and out of the studio)

Benefits to being actively engaged in class, NOT through a screen (4:25)

Breakdown footage may give us new footwork, but our time in the studio with a teacher gives us the opportunity to experience what a video just can’t capture. Taking class gives us a chance to absorb a teacher’s energy and vibe, be inspired by the things they say, learn from their stories and bits of history that they share, and so much more. No screen can give you that!

What can we do about this together? (4:50)

  • Teachers can cover this topic in their etiquette discussions with their students
  • Event organizers can protect the artists who refuse filming in their classes by helping to enforce the policy
  • Artists can consider clarifying at the start of classes if filming is unacceptable or welcome, and if you allow it, at what time

I want to hear from you! (5:22)

If you’re a teacher, what is your filming policy? Students, have you found it distracting to see other dancers filming during your class, or have you maybe been the videographer in class? Please comment and share your experiences and I will look forward to reading them!

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