Whether you were raised by a dance mom in a competitive studio, joined your high school dance team as a freshman, took ballet as a little kid or have never danced in your life, there is a good chance that you have come across a dance routine on your YouTube recommended list.
Of course, some of them are better than others, and the ones that make professional-level skills look easy were probably filmed at an elite studio. Here are a four examples of dance studios that have completely conquered professional creativity, both online and offline.
1. The Playground LA
The Playground LA has made a name for itself on YouTube and Instagram alike. The majority of their videos are filmed in consistent locations and styles, and the iconic, large, red, LED letters “PLAY” are featured in the background of each video along with a red brick wall, making the studio extremely easy to recognize on social media.
Although the studio itself does not have an active YouTube channel, the world-renowned choreographers and dancers that work there act as its advertising agencies. The impeccable combination of dance influencers like Maddie Ziegler, Kaycee Rice, Jade Chynoweth and Matt Steffanina alongside choreographers like Brian Friedman, Nicole Kirkland and Phil Wright result in an unmatchable array of talent, and therefore high-quality content. Plus, many of these individuals post their videos on their personal social media, which increases the Playground’s viewership worldwide.
Talent isn’t the only factor that plays into the Playground’s massive audience, though. Every video demonstrates impressive video editing skills, curtesy of videographers like Tim Milgram. The raw footage depicts dancers prior to editing, and added graphic designs, perfect ambient lighting and appropriately choppy transitions enhance the visuals of the dances.
Believe it or not, filming choreography is not an easy feat. The next time you watch a YouTube video or TV show, notice how the angles and shots vary. Typically, one shot does not last longer than 10 seconds in order to keep audience’s attention. Choreography, however, requires mostly wide shots because the full body of the dancer must be in the camera frame at all times.
Despite all the wide-angle shots, the videos from Playground LA definitely maintain the viewers’ attention. While filming, the camera swiftly follows the movements of the dancer. The faster the choreography, the choppier the video, and the slower the choreography, the more intense the video.
2. Millennium Dance Complex Los Angeles
“Unity in diversity” is one of Millennium Dance Complex’s mottos, and this ideal is held true in both the choreography and inclusive media presence that the studio presents. The videos are edited similarly to The Playground’s, and they often also share choreographers. However, what makes Millennium rise above is the consistent inclusion that they feature in their videos.
Nearly every video contains an intro segment showing clips of the featured masterclass being taught — with every dancer included. Although not every class participant is featured in the main small-group portion of the videos, the others are often in the background cheering them on. The excitement from the class enlivens the performers and beams through the screen to the audience.
In one of their most recent videos, a Laurieann Gibson combination to J. Cole’s “Middle Child,” Gibson gives a brief motivational speech to her class.
“What good am I if I can’t continue to be in that [step]?” Gibson said. “’Cause I really don’t care about the step if you’re just doing it to do it. I don’t need that because I’m not that. I’m something else. I’m something far greater, and I have to inspire you and teach you to be more effective with who you are.”
Gibson preached self-confidence to the class, the rehearsal-turned-sermon undoubtedly exemplifying the inclusion that MDC represents.
3. R3D ONE Dance Studio
A lot of dance talent resides in Los Angeles, and few foreign creators are internationally recognized. However, R3D ONE Dance Studio, located in Budapest, Hungary, surpasses the cultural norms of Hollywood to be a creative hotspot.
Considering their location, it is incredible how R3D ONE has curated an international fanbase. Their YouTube channel has over one million subscribers, and some of their videos have as many as 33 million views.
Like Playground and Millennium, R3D ONE incorporates funky editing into the series of wide-angle shots as well as occasional colored graphics and transitions. The dancing, however, differentiates itself from the other dance studios in a unique way: Each routine consists of moves that are, for lack of a better term, simple. The dance moves are so easy that anyone could learn them, but the execution of the moves is what makes R3D ONE stand out.
Some dance studios showcase advanced skills, such as acrobatics, turns, leaps and jumps, but if the simplest movements are not executed sharply and in unison, the routine will not be appealing to the audience. R3D ONE basically defines execution through its sharp, entertaining simplicity.
4. Expressenz Dance Center
In all honesty, Expressenz Dance Center lacks the visual aids of the other studios in terms of video editing. However, video enhancement isn’t necessary when you have raw talent. Their synchronization is incomparable, and their superior skills outweigh even professional-level troupes.
Even the “minis,” or the dancers ages 2 to 5, are shockingly skilled, as they demonstrate insane flexibility, turn ability and leg strength. It is obvious from their performances that Expressenz dancers rehearse hours upon hours each week.
The majority of their YouTube uploads are basic videos from dance studio competitions like Hall of Fame Dance Challenge and Starpower, but the easy, still shots work in Expressenz’s favor. From an extreme wide angle, and because of their near-perfect unison, the viewer is able to fully grasp the choreography that is displayed in each routine.
Synchronization tells stories, and that is exactly what Expressenz offers. And as a result, the studio’s talent encompasses the dreams of every young studio dancer.