Can you imagine taking class with Julie Kent in the comfort of your own home? Or warming up before rehearsal with master teachers from American Ballet Theatre (ABT) and New York City Ballet (NYCB)? Now, no matter where you live or what you do, Dancio brings ballet class from some of the best teachers in the world straight to you! The new company offers these online classes, which you can take on your own time, from anywhere you are.
Caitlin Trainor, founder of Dancio and also artistic director of Trainor Dance, knows the struggle of finding time to take class before rehearsal and, thus, started Dancio as a result of her personal experience.
“One day, I turned to the internet in search of a quick online class to warm up, assuming there would be an abundance of them,” she recalls. “I was sucked into the vortex of offerings on YouTube and lost my afternoon to sorting through what was available, finding nothing that hit the mark in terms of relevance and quality. I thought to myself, ‘How does this not exist?’ We have the Daily Burn for fitness, YogaGlo for yogis, Netflix for entertainment and nothing for dancers. And then I thought, ‘I can make this!’”
And so she did. And right now, Dancio offers four ballet classes, each available for a 48-hour rental period for $3.99. Trainor plans to expand to offer a full library of classes and will then launch subscription services. She says this will allow “users to access all classes and services for a cost equivalent to about the price of one live class per month.”
In addition, she says, “We are also developing a mix-and-match tool that will allow users to mix and match exercises from different teachers, like an iTunes playlist, only with pliés, tendus and so on. Imagine being able to do tendus with Julie Kent, a Graham floor exercise and a Cunningham back exercise.”
Dancio’s four debut ballet classes are taught by Julie Kent, artistic director of The Washington Ballet; Carlos Lopez, a ballet master with ABT; Craig Hall, ballet master with NYCB and currently on the company’s interim leadership team; and Lauren King, a soloist with NYCB.
“We selected these teachers because they are extraordinarily accomplished artists who can really teach, and because each artist represents a unique perspective,” Trainor explains. “Each class is distinctive and offers different artistic elements and challenges, including dazzlingly fast legwork by Lauren, precise musicality by Craig, seamless progressions by Julie and glorious jumps by Carlos.”
Trainor continues, “The reason that we focused on ballet for the debut class collection is that there is such a large population of ballet dancers across the country in all kinds of studios, from competition studios to the Metropolitan Opera. Also, even considering the different types of classical ballet, it is a highly codified traditional form with less variability than in other genres, which allows us to satisfy a broader population.”
Dancio will offer classes from other dance styles in the near future. There are plans to expand its library to include classic and contemporary modern dance, African and Indian dance, creative assignments for composition and improvisation, and somatic modalities such as Feldenkrais Method and Alexander Technique.
“I want dancers to be able to dance whenever and however they want and to be able to find the perfect class quickly and easily, be that online or in person,” says Trainor. “Over time, I want Dancio not only to serve the practical need for class any time a dancer wants it but also to bring the idea of sharing culture to our field. Why can I buy silk from India but not learn Bharatanatyam without traveling? I’m excited to reach the point when the top teachers around the globe are teaching on Dancio. I want to see what the artists do when they have access to movement ideas from around the world.”
By Laura Di Orio of Dance Informa.