Dance Video Tips for Artists Canceling and Postponing Performances

by | Mar 17, 2020 | Video Tip

As we continue to hear news about postponed or canceled events and performances, and theatre and museum shutdowns, we urge you to please keep engaging with your audiences with love and empathy.

These uncertain times are stressful in more ways than one.

I wrote to my team on Friday — at NSP we pride ourselves on being positive, calm and expert troubleshooters… I am so grateful for this during times like these when we must be creative and forward-thinking and willing to be open to change.

There are a variety of ways you can stay engaged with your audience, even without a theater to gather in:

Consider Livestream

I have already written about this, but I want to reiterate. As the whole world shifts to virtual ways of connecting, we need the arts to follow suit. Email us if you want to brainstorm ways to share your work with audiences live while they cope with the new circumstances.

Host a Watch Party

Again, technology is your friend right now! Consider hosting an online Watch Party of a pre-recorded performance (especially of family-friendly shows!!) to give your fans a way to engage with art at home. (Check out what Capacity Interactive has to say about your digital marketing right now — don’t go dark, we need you!!)

Invest in Your Professional Development

Look into online learning opportunities like Dance Education Laboratory’s new App, Dance Maker (available for Apple here; available for Android here) to shore up your skills as a dance educator during your times outside of the classroom.

Offer professional development or online learning to others.

Do you run your own workshops? Can you make them available virtually to an audience who needs them right now? Again, if our video services can help, let’s brainstorm.

Ask them to join in advocacy for the arts.

There are many resources online to urge Congress to act, to support artists who temporarily are out of work… Visit arts service organizations like Dance/USA and Dance/NYC and share these opportunities to support artists widely.

As creatives, we might feel stifled by this moment in time, unsure of how to keep creating.

I always look for outside inspiration when I’m feeling stuck. Here are a few things you can do:

Watch a Dance Documentary

It’s likely you are spending more time at home right now, and it’s easy to turn on Netflix and play a favorite tv show on repeat. If that’s what you need to find comfort, do it! You can also choose a documentary film about dance. One idea is to watch PS DANCE! online to remind yourself of the incredible power of dance in the classroom.  

Keep Moving

We were very inspired to see Vail Dance Director Damian Woetzel doing pliés in his kitchen with his dog and Tiler Peck stretching at home (on her kitchen floor with her dog, too — LOL). You can take online dance classes with Dancio (we have filmed some of these classes!) or follow your own routine. Just keep moving!

Browse Jacob's Pillow Dance Interactive

I’m incredibly proud to be part of the Jacob’s Pillow Archives team, preserving performances with video and uploading decades of historic footage to their online video library. Watch and learn some dance history!!

Check out what your colleagues have been doing.

Sometimes, we’re so wrapped up in our own creative process we miss out on the wonderful things our peers are making and sharing. Google the Vimeo or YouTube channel of your favorite choreographers or dance companies and watch their work. Send them a love note if you see something inspiring! They’ll be happy to hear from you!

Stay inspired. Stay healthy. Keep in touch if you need us.



Nel Shelby is Owner & Filmmaker for Nel Shelby Productions, her New York City-based company dedicated to dance videography and editing. Nel shares her mission to preserve and promote the art of dance with her husband, Christopher Duggan, a dance and wedding photographer. They collaborate on projects with dance companies of worldwide renown, up-and-coming choreographers, dance educators, dance schools and more. Nel is Video Producer at Jacob’s Pillow and Vail Dance Festival and is also the proud Director and Producer of PS DANCE! — a New York Emmy-nominated documentary about dance education in NYC’s public schools.