Website Essentials

panta rei dans lullaby

Video - Panta Rei Danseteater 'Lullaby'

Norwegian dance company Panta Rei Danseteater, late last year, conducted a little experiment whereby three dance makers created two pieces with the same name based on the same idea, featuring three male dancers and two musicians, to see what the outcome was.

June 2nd, 2016

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by Michelle Lefevre

Over the last couple of years dance company websites have steadily improved in a small number of cases. However there are still some fundamental shortcoming in the information provided and the way the information that is there is presented to the viewing public. Here we offer the five ‘must haves’ for your dance company website.

Give Us Some Video!

Dance, for those of you who missed it, is a movement based medium and as such we would very much like to see what you can do as a company rather than read an awful lot of text that makes about as much sense as French foreign policy. Internet video is no longer a new thing and as such the technology and tools to make it happen are available and a lot of them are either free or very low cost.

Make sure you shoot your work with a good camera, if you don’t have one then hire one, keep the camera steady and not to far away then use a tool like QuickTime pro from Apple (just $30 US) to compress the video for the Internet. There is a full guide of how to do this right here on Article19.

Pictures Pictures Pictures

Venues, journalists and lots of other people do need access to high-resolution copies of publicity photos. If they are available on your website then they don’t have to be asked for and you can get on with your business of the day without fielding a dozen phone calls from people like us asking for them.

Performance shots, rehearsal shots and company headshots all have their uses in making articles in the press and publicity brochures created by venues look a lot better.

Please don’t make the mistake of password protecting the information, nobody likes having to sign up to get anything so basic so put them in your media/press section and make sure they are up to date. Also; nobody wants to download massive image files so compress them using the JPEG format at high quality and leave them at their original size. A good photo for printing will be about 3000 pixels wide and 4Mb in size.

Tell Us Who You Are

Artistic policies are all very well but most people, including us, just don’t care. Talk to your audience in personable language about your company and what you do. Press quotes and other media orientated gibberish should be left to politicians so we can mock them and pick holes in their language.

Here in the Lab we get a lot of this type of information and we really don’t care what The Guardian said about your work and from our discussions with many people, they don’t care either. Keep it real!

It’s also nice to have biographies of the dancers so we can learn a little about who they are and what they have done in the past. Photos of the dancers are also nice.

Finally it may be good to include some kind of regular diary entry either from the dancers or from the director. It keeps people up to date and once again provides a more human approach to communicating with your audience or potential new audience.

Some News Is Good News

Many dance companies fail to keep their news pages up to date if they have one at all.

If there is an update it is usually written so thoroughly devoid of charm and wit that that you may as well let the editorial team at write it.

News pages on a dance company website are not the Guardian or Newsnight. Once again, be personable and engaging with your public.

Your website may well be read by a lot of young people, they do have a strong interest in dance after all, so you must remember your audience. Don’t be patronising and have a separate “kids” section though. Children are far more sophisticated when it comes to computer technology and media than a lot of adults so resist the temptation to talk down to them and make everything bright green or yellow.

What you think constitutes news for your company can vary but if you think you have something to share then share it. Increases in funding and administration staff leaving are the stuff of comas so please do spare us that particular type of info.

Tour Dates

Article19 has a listings page but to be honest it is not a huge priority for us, there are bigger fish to fry. Listing when and where your company will be performing, even if it is only a single show is some crappy town hall in the backwaters of Ipswich, makes no difference.

Get the information on there. Every visitor to your site is a potential ticket buyer for your show but they wont be if they don’t get the information they need. Try not to rely on a third party, like us, promoting every date and time where you will be performing.

Ensure you list the venues name, telephone number, address and if possible the ticket prices and a link to any online booking for a particular venue.

Listings don’t need to be hi-tech. A simple chronological list will suffice so people can quickly find the information they need.

And Finally

Rubbish web site design is all around us. £700 should buy your company a well presented and clear website with crisp, well presented information and all the other things listed above can be provided by any competent designer with ease.

There are many technologies around for updating websites with no technical knowledge that are either free or very low cost. Both Contribute from Macromedia and Movable Type from SixApart are easy to set up and configure. No excuses can be accepted for not keeping your online presence up to date!

Remember, we are always watching and we never sleep, get it right or we’ll make fun of you!

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