"What if you could learn from the world's best dance teachers in your living room?" This is the question that Dancio poses on their website. Dancio is a new startup that offers full length videos of ballet classes taught by master teachers. As founder Caitlin Trainor puts it, "these superstar teachers can be available to students everywhere for the cost of a cup of coffee."
For Trainor, a choreographer and the artistic director of Trainor Dance, the idea for Dancio came from a sense of frustration relatable to many dancers; feeling like they need to warm up properly before rehearsals, but not always having the time, energy or funds to get to dance class. One day while searching the internet for a quick online class, Trainor was shocked to not be able to find anything that, as she puts it, "hit the mark in terms of relevance and quality. I thought to myself, how does this not exist?" she says. "We have the Daily Burn for Fitness, YogaGlo for yogis, Netflix for entertainment and nothing for dancers! But then I thought, I can make this!" And thus, Dancio (the name is a combination of dance and video), was born.
Trainor's vision for Dancio is to "to develop a library of affordable, convenient classes for movers of all stripes, taught by the very best teachers from around the globe." At this early stage, the site is just focused on ballet; classes taught by Julie Kent, Carlos Lopez, Craig Hall and Lauren King are available. Each class is taught to two to three professional dancers and is filmed in a brightly-lit studio free from distractions. The classes are described in detail by dance writer Mindy Aloff. If readers sign up for Dancio's email list now, they'll be sent barre with Julie Kent for free.
Each class is $3.99, and as the business grows viewers will be able to opt into a subscription service offering unlimited monthly access to the fast-growing library. And if you like Kent's pliés but prefer Hall's tendus, don't fear—the service will eventually include a tool to allow users to mix and match exercises from different teachers, which Trainor compares to making an iTunes playlist. For Trainor, this is just the beginning. She hopes to expand Dancio to include classic and contemporary modern dance, African and Indian dances, composition and improvisation exercises and somatic practices such as Feldenkrais Method and Alexander Technique.
For dancers who live in remote areas or don't have the means to attend master classes, Dancio offers a whole new level of access to celebrated teachers. "I can only imagine the impact that this will have on each dancer's personal growth, development and conditioning," says Trainor. "Over time, I believe that this access will truly strengthen the field as a whole."