Where Performing on the Subway is Legal—and Encouraged!

A dance scene from last year's PLATFORM

On April 1, New York City–based dance group Shakedown Dance Collective will perform at the New York Transit Museum on a vintage subway platform that’s no longer in use. Maybe this sounds like a typical day in NYC (where it’s not unusual to have your subway commute interrupted by singers, musicians, rappers, amateur gymnasts and break dancers), but this performance is actually part of a really cool program put on by the museum called PLATFORM. The Transit Museum invited people from all disciplines—visual and performing arts, academic fields, you name it—to submit a proposal for this year’s PLATFORM series, which will showcase the selected performances for the public. (Check out this New York Times article to get an idea of what last year’s PLATFORM looked like.) The only requirement is that the performance has to be inspired by or about public transportation.

What makes Shakedown Dance Collective’s inclusion in this year’s PLATFORM all the more sweet is that the company had originally planned to perform a short routine on some Manhattan subway trains and platforms last winter, but a preemptive phone call from NYC’s Metropolitan Transit Authority, citing insurance and liability issues, shut it down before it even happened. Now, in a cool twist of events, Shakedown dancers (who are a mix of professionals and complete novices) will get to perform—on a subway platform, no less—as part of a curated showcase!

You can find out more about Shakedown and its unusual mission here.

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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@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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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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