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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Cameras in the classrooms - adult perspective


Serendipity

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Some debate has gone on regarding this elsewhere. As an adult who dances at several studios, some with cameras, some without, it was unnerving at first, but since the cameras are small, they quickly become unnoticeable. And I must say that I prefer that the cameras are used rather than seeing people constantly waving and weaving about at a display window.

 

One studio I go to has one-way glass in their windows, so we really can't see out, but they can see in. Another has blinds that can be adjusted so that people can see in but we really can't see out (to my relief!) and two have cameras. One studio's classrooms are way in the back, away from the waiting room, and parents aren't allowed back at the classroom area. The other has them right out in the main, open area, and parents congregate there to watch their little ones. It does block the space but it's better than their being at the windows because of the narrowness of the corridor.

 

I know from overhearing and observing that parents are most interested in watching their own child. I dance with kids in many of the schools and rarely do I hear comments from parents about myself (apart from an occasional "I can't believe you can do all that!!" LOL!).

 

Some have said that it does protect the adult in the class and in this litigious society, that is one consideration but I know that in the places I attend, that's not the main reason. These cameras were a boon in that one studio where there was major disruption/distraction from people wandering back and forth, waving and making faces through the windows. Now we can pull the blinds and pretend no one exists outside of our little classroom (and I do mean little! LOL!).

 

As an adult, what's your take on this? Does it make you uncomfortable knowing you're on display, if you have cameras in there? I found this quite an amusing way to deal with it. Look for the post by "Katielovesballet" on this thread:

http://dancers.invisionzone.com/index.php?...=49540&st=0

 

As I said, I'm glad they are there if only to minimize parental/student disruption/distraction. What do you think?

 

Reason for edit: To fix the URL that was mangled by the previous edit.

Edited by Serendipity
removal of gratuitous sniping. Please use the appropriate channels for issues with moderating decisions.
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The studio I regularly attend does not have monitors. But when I go to NYC and take classes, one of the studios does. People can sit in the lobby and watch the entire class. Also, they have huge windows and people sit outside and watch. I don't care at all. I know that people may be watching but so what. If they have nothing better to do than make fun of people, that's their business not mine. It doesn't affect me in the least.

 

As far as classes with children in them and monitors, if the parents don't like it, then they should just take their children elsewhere for classes. Since it's a performing art that we are learning I don't have a problem with it. If I did, I'd attend another studio. Since I'm not a professional dancer, I also don't care if people see me making mistakes. But plenty of professionals attend the studio in NYC with the monitors so they don't care either. In fact, for some of them maybe they dance better knowing that someone important could be watching. You never know who is capable of getting you an audition or a job.

 

There is something big-brother about recording or monitoring activity--however, because it's a performing art I think it is less offensive. Performers need to feel comfortable with other people watching them. You WANT other people to watch.

 

And I just wanted to add from the performing artist's perspective, that if nobody watches you, you're BORING and you have no stage presence! If someone wants a professional career in any performing art they better not be boring...

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I'm a bit surprised at the acceptance both of being observed by strangers, and the willingness to be videoed in ballet class. Maybe those people posting are on a professional track and their classes in their mind are preparation for performance. For me, my ballet classes are "me" time, where I want to do my best and my relationships are ONLY with the teacher and the other class members - not with any stranger who may be walking by, who may or may not be sympathetic at my attempts to tackle one of the most difficult arts possible.

 

Being videoed for feedback, especially of rehearsals before a performance is quite acceptable, and in the latter case I sometimes do this on behalf of the class, having first got permission from EVERYONE in the class, and giving assurances that only class members will be able to download it. But a routine class?? Why?

 

Jim.

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I have to say that I tend to agree with jimpickles, I am not young anymore and am not even hoping for an audition anywhere, so other than my teacher and the examiners in the exam I would prefer not being "on display". Fortunately these cameras are not really going to be something that are put up in the studio's I dance in, funds will just not ever allow, but for someone who has never invited anyone (other than my husband who was doing the videoing of just me in a private class before exams) to watch me dance, I cannot say that I would be too keen at all.

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In the US does permission have to be sought from the children's parents/guardians before video monitoring can be used? I think here (UK) there would have to be 100% agreement from everyone before such a thing could be put in place. I may be wrong, but certainly it is a huge issue in the two schools my children attend (regular schools, not dance schools)

 

I don't know why I'm even thinking about this, as until last year we didn't even have toilet facilities or any means of getting a drink of water at the dance studio. Video monitoring seems extremely high tech! lol

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My current studio has large 1 way mirrored glass windows on 1 of it's studios and french doors on the other (those 2 studios do have blinds, but they are rarely used.) I honestly don't mind parents watching- I don't think they really care about anyone in there but their own daughter. Sometimes I catch them watching me, but it's rare. I prefer the mirror to the doors, because I can forget about it- even though I know there are always rows of chairs filled with parents watching.

 

My last studio used to have 1 observation day every 6 weeks. I liked that better, because I could focus on class for 5 weeks and not even think about the parents. However, since they often brought personal video cameras on observation day, I would tend to skip class that week. I don't want to be on recorded.

 

At my current studio there are very rarely people who video tape or photograph (for themselves) their daughters dancing. When I see this I try to stand as far away from the doors as possible, but that puts me near the outside window- where any passersby could see me. (But having ice skated at a mall rink, i'm pretty unconcerned about that.)

 

My biggest insecurity is I've heard parents talk behind my back about "needing someone to speak to my parents, for my healt"- because I'm VERY overweight for a middle schooler. I'm quite short, so no one thinks twice about me being in class with the kids, but I'm definetly the fat kid. Whenever this comes up again, I'll try to say something like "my husband x..." and then they are shocked I'm an adult, and while I'm still a little overweight for an adult, it's not nearly as unhealthy as if I were a child.

 

The actual studio though does not tape anything. Except the recital, I presume.

 

In the US does permission have to be sought from the children's parents/guardians before video monitoring can be used?

I don't think it's near UK standards (where I've heard you can't tape a kids football game, for fear of taping other children too)... but a studio would just put on their entrance forms "classes will be videotaped" and you'd either have to agree or not take class there.

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Well in the studios where I dance there are little peep windows where people can look in to see what is going on. When waiting outside before class, I often take a look in other classes just to see who is teaching, what they are doing and if it is an adult class, who is there. If you are in class, it’s hard to notice if anyone is looking in. It certainly isn’t in any way a distraction. I’ve never been in a class that has been filmed.

 

Sometimes we do get an “audience,” usually a tot who has accompanied mom to class. I can’t remember one of our tot audience members ever being disruptive. Amazing because my kids could never have been so quiet for so long.

 

Personally, I could care less who watches me in class. If anything I welcome it as an audience seems to make one a little more attentive and perform better.

 

Film? I also could care less as long as you don’t make me watch it.

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The studio I was referring to with the monitors is a huge enterprise in NYC. It is one of the more famous studios. The monitors are in the lobby and everyone who comes in could stop and watch the classes if they wanted to on the monitors or sit outside the class and watch through the wall size windows. I think the studio does it for marketing purposes but then I never asked why it is set up that way. It doesn't bother me otherwise I would just go somewhere else that doesn't have monitors.

 

I'm not a professional dancer per se, although I have danced professionally (i.e. gotten paid) to do it in musicals and operas. I am a professional singer so of course I am used to be viewed by an audience. Nevertheless my training as a young adult (late 20s) in dance was at a university and we always had to do dance exams, midterm and final, in front of the whole class, so there it was required as well to dance/perform in front of others, even though that wasn't public. I found dancing an exam in front of your peers more stressful than dancing in a musical for 2000 people!

 

I am not the greatest dancer and definitely not in ballet, but I just don't care what other people think, not even those in my classes. If I were doing a private lesson then I definitely would not want that broad casted for the world to see because those lessons are expensive and what we are doing is specifically for me--I would not want anyone else benefitting from my private lesson that I paid for. But a class, anyone could take it so I don't have a problem being watched.

 

Being filmed is a different story because I would want to be compensated (whether I looked good or not) in any video that I am in and that is not being used for archival purposes.

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I am really glad that where I dance neither cameras nor windows exist (sometimes a door is open and someone takes a look). If I want that people look at me, I can participate in performances. In class I just want the teacher to look at me (and I try not minding about other students).

 

My SI I regularly take is in big gyms and everyone who desires can walk in and watch. I remember stupid mums sitting out there and commenting during class also on MY dancing. Thank God the teacher kicked them out. Maybe I should be easy about people behaving like that but I cannot help, I just cannot stand it!

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I don't think it's near UK standards (where I've heard you can't tape a kids football game, for fear of taping other children too)...

 

Yes, that generally is the case (both video and still photos).

 

Thanks for the clarification regarding the US.

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There's a difference between the video monitoring and videotaping. You can have cameras with monitors without a videotape ability, so that circumvents that issue.

 

Most places in the US have inserted right into their paperwork a waiver for videotaping pupils. Our regular schools, for example, has the thing as an "opt out" - in other words, if you don't say you don't want your child photographed or videotaped, then it's automatically okay. I know at least two of the schools I go to have that as their policy, as well. At the ones with adult classes, however, it's not even suggested that we sign any waivers. They don't do videotaping of the adults at all, from what I have observed, apart from any performances the adults may be in.

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