Need Choreographic Inspiration? Try Your…Treadmill!

If you’re not “Uptown Funk”-ed out yet, you need to see this video of Carson Dean dancing on a treadmill (his YouTube video description reads, “The best cardio workout! Don’t believe me just watch”—nudge-nudge wink-wink, Carson). But this is more than just a cardio workout: It’s a smooth hip-hop dance, with a couple of grands battements thrown in.

This video then prompted me to look up some of my other favorite treadmill-dance videos. (Duh. The vicious YouTube vortex strikes again.) Remember the band OK Go’s video for “Here It Goes Again”? They did it all in one take! And it was choreographed by Trish Sie, who’s created stuff for Pilobolus and directed Step Up: All In.

My treadmill search then led me to this little gem that reached its peak popularity a few months ago: Guy on a treadmill in a gym, doing sweet, sweet moves. With absolutely no inhibitions. Some genius overlaid “Mack the Knife” as the background music. Perfect.

Which then led me to this little video here—an advertisement for NordicTrack. According to the YouTube description, choreographer Jason Celaya used 12 YouTube and Vine stars and 40 dancers to star in the “world’s largest treadmill dance.” (There’s also a fun saxophone cameo, which appears unrelated.) Definitely a great workout.

Teachers Trending
Maks and Val Chmerkovskiy. Photo courtesy Dance With Me

Listening to Maks and Val Chmerkovskiy riff together makes it crystal-clear why each has mastered the art of partnering in the ballroom—they've long been doing this dance in real life as brothers and business partners.

Along with their "Dancing with the Stars" pedigree (and a combined three mirror-ball trophies between them), Maks and Val (and their father, Sasha) also run Dance With Me, a dance company hosting six ProAm Dancesport competitions annually and running 14 brick-and-mortar studio locations across the U.S.

Last year, the pair launched an online component, Dance & Co. The online video platform offers beginner through advanced instruction in not only ballroom but an array of other styles, as well as dance fitness classes from HIIT to yoga to strength training. "DWTS" fans will recognize such familiar faces as Peta Murgatroyd, Jenna Johnson, Sharna Burgess and Emma Slater, along with Maks and Val themselves.

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Teaching Tips
@jayplayimagery, courtesy Kerollis

In the spring of 2012, Barry Kerollis was abruptly forced into treating his career as a small business. Having just moved cross-country to join BalletX, he got injured and was soon let go.

"I'd only ever danced with big companies before," the now-freelance dance-teacher-choreographer-podcaster recalls. "That desperation factor drove me to approach freelancing with a business model and a business plan."

As Kerollis acknowledges, getting the business of you off the ground ("you" as a freelance dance educator, that is) can be filled with unexpected challenges—even for the most seasoned of gigging dancers. But becoming your own CEO can make your work–life balance more sustainable, help you make more money, keep you organized, and get potential employers to offer you more respect and improved working conditions. Here's how to get smart now about branding, finances and other crucial ways to tell the dance world that you mean business.

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Teachers Trending
Courtesy Oleson

American dance educator Shannon Oleson was teaching recreational ballet and street-dance classes in London when the pandemic hit. As she watched many of her fellow U.S. friends pack up and return home from their international adventures, she made the difficult choice to stick with her students (as well as her own training—she was midway through her MFA at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance).

Despite shutdowns and shelter-in-place orders, she was able to maintain a teaching schedule that kept her working with her dancers through Zoom, as well as lead some private, in-home acro classes following government guidelines. But keeping rec students interested in the face of pandemic fatigue hasn't been easy.

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