Ian Eastwood Started an Intense—and Important—Convo About Class Videos

December 5, 2017

You’re obsessed with class videos. We’re obsessed with class videos. The passion, energy, and talent showcased in these clips, which give us an insider-y peek at the commercial dance world’s hottest classes, are totally irresistible.

But at what point does the phenomenon go from being a good thing to a bad thing for dancers and the dance world? Is the focus on filming distracting from the work dancers are supposed to be doing in class? Are overproduced videos presenting a dangerously misleading picture of the dance world? Is the pressure to be a class video star becoming too much for dancers to handle? These are some of the questions A-list dancer and choreographer Ian Eastwood—no stranger to the class video himself—has been asking on Twitter. And they’ve sparked a lively, important debate.

Eastwood started the discussion with a rant about highly produced class videos, whose slickness seems to imply that the purpose of class was the video:

Then he posted an example of what is, in his opinion, the class clip done right—simply, with some teaching footage included:

Eastwood started getting “Amens” left and right, with dancers chiming in that the trend made them feel uncomfortable and intimidated in the studio, which should be a safe space. He also responded to critics who wondered what was wrong with editing footage to make it more entertaining, or wished he’d sought out opposing points of view before venting publicly.

Before long, the thread had caught fire, with big names starting to weigh in:

Keone Madrid had some particularly eloquent thoughts on the subject:

Clearly, the issue is striking a chord with dancers. What do you think? Has the class video evolved into something toxic? And if it has, what can we do to fix the problem?