Hubbard Street Dance Chicago - Live Streaming in Dance (1 of 3 interviews)

Source: Vimeo (Image available for noncommercial use)

Source: Vimeo (Image available for noncommercial use)

Live streaming has become a popular marketing mechanism for many industries, and AMT Lab has covered this topic extensively to understand how arts organizations are taking advantage of its benefits. Earlier this year, I gave readers a summary of what Facebook Live is and how to use it, and in April, AMT Lab published Sofia Stucchi's white paper about how it is being leveraged by museums. 

A graduate of Appalachian State University's undergraduate dance program myself and appreciator of many forms of dance, I reached out to organizations across the country to find out how the art form is using live streaming to increase audience engagement and expand organizational reach. I heard back about its benefits from two renowned dance companies, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and the Pacific Northwest Ballet, as well as Cennarium, an online platform offering high-definition streaming access to performing arts productions from around the world.

Over the next few weeks, I will share the interviews I conducted with each organization who felt live streaming has something to offer for dance. First up is an interview with Sofia Pilar, the Marketing Coordinator of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. 

Jane Bowers: When did your organization use live streaming for the first time?

Sofia Pilar: We first used Facebook Live for our Fall Series in 2017 (November 17–20, 2017).

JB: What type of content does your organization typically live stream? (ex. performance, dress rehearsal, studio rehearsal, etc.)

SP: We have used live streaming during studio rehearsal and during donor events in the studio, always in preparation for an upcoming Chicago Series.

JB: How many viewers typically watch your organization’s live-streamed content?

SP: We have had 14.2k views on Facebook (which means viewing of 3 seconds or more).

JB: What resources, financial or other, are necessary to produce high-quality live-streamed content?

SP: We have used a digital camera with a tripod, but most recently we purchased a live streaming video camera (Logitech C922x Pro Stream Webcam). We also have needed a handheld microphone. Further we need someone who can mix our audio. We have contracted someone to manage this for $200-$500, but have started to execute this in-house.

JB: What challenges have you faced while live streaming, and how have you overcome them?

SP: We have faced connectivity issues, as well as sound. During our first stream, our camera died. Luckily we were able to switch cameras and begin the stream over. In the Spring, we faced audio issues, but we were able to mix the audio live to try to remedy the situation best to our abilities. Something we continue to discuss is how to keep the stream interesting. While the dancers are rehearsing there can be moments of quiet discussion, which we cannot pick up in the stream. We have tried to engage in dancer interviews, or involve production team [in various ways].

JB: Do you feel that your organization has benefited from live streaming? Why or why not?

SP: I believe live streaming has helped overall branding and awareness. I don’t believe it is that effective in producing ticket sales, but we connect with audiences that are not able to see our company. It also offers a behind the scenes look for our LCDS and Youth dancers.

Check out Hubbard Street Dance Chicago on various social media channels:

Has your organization used live streaming recently? How did it go? Let us know in the comments below!