M&E : 019 Put That D%#@ Camera Down!

In this solo episode, Michael discusses some issue surrounding the filming of instructors during classes and while social dancing at swing dancing events. When, if ever, is it necessary to get consent? Does filming at Lindy Hop events have an economic impact on organizers? Does intellectual property play into class recaps, or can anyone really own the dance?

7 thoughts on “M&E : 019 Put That D%#@ Camera Down!”

  1. I agree with everything you said about privacy and intellectual property, but my main concern with filming in class, from a student perspective, is that it often cuts into the time we have to actually practice dancing. Often a dancer will break away from a partner to record a routine or will ask the instructor to dance with a particular student for a recording. What annoys me most is when someone asks me to stop dancing so that I can record them dancing with someone else. When I’m paying for a class, I consider this a waste of my time and money.

    I never record in class, but I will look at videos online posted by instructors and others to reinforce what I’ve learned in class or perhaps pick up something new. Although I usually don’t expect to pay for YouTube videos, back in the day when instructors sold instructional tapes and dvd’s, I had no problem buying them. They never were, and shouldn’t be, substitutes for live learning experiences, though.

    • Hi Pat,

      Thank you for your thoughts, and I agree that cutting into practice time is another side effect. And yes, videos are never my substitutes, but rather, supplements to my on-the-floor-training. I still have a box full of old tapes/DVDs collecting dust!

  2. I have many thoughts about this from different perspectives.

    One is regarding the recap of a lesson. It’s far from a memento for me. Fairly often, I’ll learn to do something reasonably well in a class and even have a chance to work it into social dancing shortly after while it’s still fresh. Then, a few weeks go by and I’m on the dance floor trying to remember “What was the Balboa move I learned in that class?” It’s not that I forgot how to do it. I just forgot what it was. If I see someone do it, it comes right back. Hence, the recap. I do keep a journal of moves with brief descriptions. I even have a list on my phone of those that I know, but often forget to use.

    Another regards learning from videos. I don’t consider that a substitute for a class, but rather a way to get more from a class. This is especially true if it’s a 32 bar routine or some short pattern that is difficult to get into muscle memory. I prefer to memorize the basic step sequence first and then take a class to get the tips and techniques and to work out problems. Now, I’ve seen people who can see a sequence once or twice and know it. I’m getting better at that, but that’s not me yet. Someone can be an accomplished dancer, but still not pick up choreography very fast. Dissecting videos beforehand can make up for that.

    I just finished a ten week intermediate Lindy series. Near the end, I suggested that they might consider doing a “precap” of what was going to be taught the following week. So, if I was seen making a video of the recap at the end of a class I didn’t take, it would probably be because I planned to take that class later and I wanted to get familiar with the steps first.

    • Hi Ron,

      Thank you for your thoughts, and I completely agree with all three of your points.

      I hope the biggest take away for listeners (and readers) centers around the idea of consent. I hold the opinion that teachers aren’t obligated to offer recaps, though I am happy to provide that of my own volition OR more importantly, when a student asks. I think when students feel like they’re owed the footage, I bristle. When someone whips out a camera and begins filming me without my expressed consent, I bristle.

      I, too, have filmed class recaps over the years (and still do for my own classes) for all of the same reasons as you have stated. Even the best memories need help.

      I found that people reacted to my blog post on this topic as if I was outright opposed to filming of any sort, which is not the case at all. Rather, I want people to examine the transactional vs. relational nature of filming as a part of our Lindy community.

      Thank you for contributing to the conversation and talk soon,


  3. Thank you for an interesting podcast.

    Re the rock star issue, I have given this some thought myself. I will open doors for a teacher with their hands full, and offer up my space in line in the ladies room when a class is due to start. I do this because teachers are at an event to work, and I try to be helpful and respectful of that. I always have at the back of my head that it may be that my behaviour can be interpreted to fall under the category of “sucking up”. This is not my intention. I also go out of my way to say thank you for the class, and specifically comment the material if I can. My reason for this is to aim to be generally supportive, but again I am aware there is a risk of it being misinterpreted. Both by the teachers themselves, and other students.

    Re filming, that is an interesting issue. As a follow, I never film class recaps unless there is particular footwork or rhythms for the follow that I feel a video is helpful for me to be able to recreate them later. But honestly, do I watch them? Not as often as I think I’m going to, haha 🙂 So to go and write it down straight away, or to film my own feet while counting out loud, I find is a much better way for me personally to remember and ultimately to learn.

    I was once filmed in the way you mention. I asked a guy to dance, and as it turned out he was a teacher and has his own school. Someone was filming us (mainly him of course), and I asked to get the video sent to me as a souvenir. But there are several ways of looking at this, so thank you for making me aware of that. I would never film others on the social floor, but will watch other dancers with interest.

  4. i wanna talk about the one subject i totally disagree with you on. and that’s putting a video recap on youtube.

    now i of course don’t think every lesson you teach should be put on youtube, but i think a few is not a bad thing, because i see it as free advertising for you guys. let me explain why.

    there was a workshop where going on where i’m from. i looked up the instructor, there were a few lesson recaps, and i automatically thought i wanna take private lessons with this guy. i liked his style, teaching method, and moves.

    another example i’m trying to figure out if i should join y’alls website, but there are no video recaps of lessons to help me decide the same. to see if i like your leading and teaching style. or your moves

    • Hi Raul,

      Thank you for your thoughts, and I hear what you’re saying. What’s difficult about the argument of “it’s free advertising for you,” in having others post their videos of us is that we are not in control of our advertising message. So, regulating how many and who gets to post our videos other than ourselves would be impossible to implement. Fortunately, we have a couple solutions for all of this….

      1. We have a YouTube channel with some of our sample lessons from our website available, for free.
      2. Annual Members to our site have access to something called “The Combo Collection,” which is a library of our video recaps from workshops over the years.

      Beyond video recaps of our classes, there are plenty of YouTube videos of Evita and I performing, which also gives people a sense for our style and approach to the dance. So I’m not convinced that people who want to know more about us would struggle to learn about us.

      Of course, we would recommend that you check out our channel by typing in “evitaandmichael website” to see samples of our teaching and what’s great is that these are professionally filmed, edited and presented in a way in which we intended. Thank you again for your perspective, and we hope you take a moment to check out what we have to offer.

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