If you do something great it will be copied. It happens in every single industry. From fashion designs to football plays to technology products… designs are mimicked, plays are stolen, and products are replicated. It happens in dance as well. Other studios may see your work and decide to use your concepts or phrasing in their own pieces. What an honor and accomplishment! You set the standard, create the trends, and have become an influencer in your industry. You are in great company with the likes of Choreographer Legends who have come before you having had their work stolen or duplicated. At some point, you may have even borrowed some phrasing from them yourself.
Media is everywhere these days. Live streaming is now the norm at most comp events… so anyone can view your work on stage from wherever they are in the world (and they can easily record their screens while watching). Many comps post winning videos on their websites or social feeds. Parents shoot clips on their devices in hopes you will let them share to their own feeds. But will you?
Your fears are valid. You work too hard to have your ideas stolen by the studio down the block. Plus, you don’t want your competitors to see what they will be up against. Having a sense of mystery around your team can be fun and alluring. If you already have a strong reputation, others will be on the edge of their seats waiting to see what you will bring each season. You may have even invested a great deal in guest choreographers who have crafted stunning and unique pieces for your team giving you an exciting competitive advantage for the coming season. If you share your videos prior to the end of the competition season, you risk exposing your newest innovations too soon.
Broadway shows and many other ticketed events maintain a strict “no devices” policy. They are protecting their product. People pay to see their shows. But as a studio owner, you have more to consider since your choreographic works are not your primary product. In most cases, you are not charging audiences to view your choreography. Your key product is trained dancers. There is no better advertisement of your product than your creatively crafted, mega-rehearsed competition routines performed by some of your top trained talent. Your true value and greatness comes from things that cannot be stolen… how you train and rehearse your dancers, how you endlessly come up with creative concepts, how you build strong relationships with your dance families, and how you nourish an exciting and rewarding learning atmosphere. You deserve to reap the benefits of the effort, dedication, and thought put into your comp routines.
Is protecting your work from plagiarism worth losing out on the exposure you will gain from sharing videos online? Once the moment passes, you miss out on valuable publicity. Students and parents are eager to share videos across their social networks. They want to show friends and family what they are up to while it is still relevant. It brings them joy and they associate that positive feeling with your studio and the act of competing, increasing their overall satisfaction and desire to compete again. In turn, you breed a dedicated client base who broadcasts to your target audience, generating new leads for you. Each share is, in essence, a referral to your business. Repeated exposure to your work creates a perception of preeminence among existing clients and throughout your community. This kind of buzz and energy around your studio results in a booming enrollment of eager dancers and content parents.
Great work isn’t always meant to be locked up and hidden away. It’s delightful and motivating to produce choreographic works that are adored, shared, and praised. It will spark the creativity to generate your next brilliant idea. Others will remain chasing behind you attempting to beat you at your own game… but they won’t do it as well. You will have made your mark and time-stamped your creations across the web. You will be moving forward with laser focus on your craft not waisting an ounce of energy on your competitors.
This all sounds nice so long as it aligns with your goals, but it’s not for everyone. A smaller, more exclusive company may not be looking for widespread publicity. A highly competitive studio may find greater value in protecting their signature style and artistic concepts. A newer team may want to remain private as they train and work to develop their own unique presence.
We respect your decision to share or not to share. Your success is our success. In today’s media-driven world, we felt it was time to offer you the necessary tools should you find benefits in sharing your videos online. This season, VIP is providing quality video hosted for you with easy sharing options for your adoring clients to showcase your business across their networks. We have added the Compliments Feature to further enhance the experience. And plans for future features that enable studio promotion are in the works as we feel that competitive studios should prosper from participation in comp events. Of course, you can opt to turn off public viewing, allowing access only to those in your studio with the sharing features disabled. That choice is yours. The tools are there for you to decide how and when you will use them. As with any decision, define your goals and go with the option that helps you achieve them.
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