Nicole Voris

I love Etsy.  I have shopped the sight for years and will spend many hours browsing the app.  I love that they are a company that facilitates the connections and commerce between artists and a their fans.

That's why I was so excited when Etsy asked us to be a part of their #DifferenceMakesUs campaign.  This is an awesome campaign that encourages you to share the things that make you unique!  If you share a photo on Instagram of a one of your favorite items and hashtag #DifferenceMakesUs, then enter here,  you could win a $1000 gift card to Etsy!

If you haven't seen the video we collaborated on with Etsy on check it out!

Beach Photos / Sep 2016


Oliver Endahl

Hey guys,

I currently have a beach theme happening on the Ballet Zaida Instagram account. ( I started the theme to promote the newest Ballet Zaida Film, The Tide )

As I'm sure you've noticed, there's a lot of dance photography on social media nowadays. And a lot of photos take place in similar looking urban areas. Something I enjoy about the beach theme is that I think it looks very California.

Here's some recent beach photos I captured at Venice Beach, & on a beach over at Palos Verdes. 


Dance photography on the beach is great. Whether you have no clouds in the sky, or a totally overcast day, the shots you get from the beach usually end up gorgeous.


Ballet Zaida: The Tide

Nicole Voris

On Monday we released our latest film, The Tide. We are so proud of all of our work, and this piece is no exception.  It gives me chills every time I watch it.

The music is by Ken Mankin & Ariel llies.  We had never worked with spoken word before, but this amazing piece, with poetry by Ken Mankin and music by Ariel Ilies, was perfect to start with. 

Oliver, Stephen, and I have known and worked together for almost a full 10 years now.  Stephen is Oliver's and my best friend.  We all know each other so well that we completely trust one another.  When we work together it's pretty spectacular because we really know what the others are thinking.

As a partner I completely trust Stephen.  I can through my body at him and I know he will never drop me, plus we also make something really cool.  The day we made this we filmed a lot of different lifts just in case we would need them.  Not all of them made the final cut, but we did some work that I have never seen done before.  Stephen and I just allowed our bodies and gravity to work together to make new exciting partnering.

We hope you enjoy the film!  If you do please like, comment and share! 

The Grand Paradise

Nicole Voris

Oliver and I spent the weekend in New York City.  We had a wonderful time, got to spend time with family and friends, see art, and work with incredibly talented people.  I wanted to use this post though, to tell you about an amazing show we got to experience.

Oliver and I have been wanting to attend an immersive theater show for a while now.  When we planned our trip to NYC, one of the first things I did was buy tickets to The Grand Paradise.  If you don't know what immersive theater is,  it's a lot like what it sounds like.  As opposed to going to a theater, sitting in seats, and watching the show take place on the stage, with immersive theater, the entire building is the stage and you get to be in the story.  

Jessy Smith, foreground, and Erik Abbott-Main in “The Grand Paradise.”     CreditSara Krulwich/The New York Times

Jessy Smith, foreground, and Erik Abbott-Main in “The Grand Paradise.” CreditSara Krulwich/The New York Times

The Grand Paradise is a show set in a 1970's beach resort.  I don't want to give too much away, but the show explores themes of growing as a person, exploring desires, and the philosophy of being human.  The dancing, singing, and acting was incredible.  What I found so amazing about it is that the show blurs the lines of reality.  I didn't expect that I would lose the sense of being just an observer.  I truly felt that I was a guest at this beach resort and was interacting with their quirky staff.  

What to expect at an immersive theater show:

- Dress comfortably.  It goes against theater logic to not wear a fabulous outfit and heels, but you really want to be comfortable.  You'll be moving around a lot, and often in the dark.  I chose to wear a 70's jumpsuit to fit in with the theme of the show.  For shoes I chose to play it safe and wore white sneakers, but I would have been fine in flats or clogs.  Oliver wore nice jeans, a nice shirt, and nikes and was comfortable moving around. 

- Be prepared to be separated from your group.  Embrace it!  For Grand paradise we generally were separated into groups of 2-4,  if you're lucky you may get a one on one experience with a performer, which a few people in our group (myself included), got to do.  I encourage you to embrace getting lost with a few strangers.  It helps make the world feel more real.  At the end you can all get together and relay what you got to do and experience!

- Push yourself out of your comfort zone.  Myself and all the people who attended with me were all performers, so I think we fell into the participation easier.  I could tell some other audience members weren't as comfortable.  I encourage you to embrace the strangeness and not to be self conscious.  It'll make your experience so much better!

Elizabeth Carena and Tori Sparks.  Photograph by Third Rail Projects.

Elizabeth Carena and Tori Sparks. 
Photograph by Third Rail Projects.

The Grand Paradise is now playing through December 31st.  I highly recommend seeing it!  If you do see it or have already seen it let us know what you think in the comments!  If you've seen other immersive theater shows let us know about your experiences there too!

To learn more about the show and buy tickets follow the link below:

The Grand Paradise

Behind the scenes July Video Project

Oliver Endahl

Hey everyone,

Today I wanted to share some of the process of the July Video Project. 

As you recall, I posted 1 video every day during the month of July to the Ballet Zaida Instagram, Facebook & YouTube accounts.

As I revealed after all the videos went online, all the videos were shot using an iPhone 6S Plus. 

The reason I used a smart phone to film the videos was to show you that anyone can make beautiful art, & that doing artistic endeavors is not out of your reach. 

To film the videos, I used the basic "Camera" App that comes pre-installed on the iPhone. (There are various video recording apps for the iPhone available, but I chose to use the basic camera app because I wanted to use the app everyone had access to.) 

There are some videos where the camera is totally still and only the dancer is moving, but for the videos where the camera is moving around the dancer, in order to stabilize the camera and achieve a smooth gliding effect, I used a Glide Cam HD 2000 

During the indoor video shoots, I would put on some music, give the dancers a general direction, and have them move to the music playing. (The music I played during the filming was not the music that was eventually featured in the videos)  

I played a lot of Ólafur Arnalds. This was fun, because on top of my verbal cues giving the dancer some guidance, the sound of the music also gave the dancer a general mood. If the song was slower & more solemn, the dancer would move more in that way. 

What's also nice about shooting in-doors is that during the video you can continuously give verbal cues to the dancers as they move. So for one shot you can be like, "Get back to back & utilize your port de bras" (port de bras is a ballet term that means "an act or manner of moving and posing the arms") Then after a bit you can say "Now separate & try some leg extensions" as featured in this video below. 

If it was an outdoor shoot though, like this one on the beach, I would tell the dancer some verbal cues before we started filming and a general vibe, but then during the filming the dancer couldn't hear me due to the waves and the distance. So we would shoot a take for 60 seconds or so, and then I would jog over and give her a new cue before starting another take. 

Also, moving for both the dancer and the camera man outdoors is no easy task. I found just walking while filming is incredibly difficult, much less dancing gracefully. 

For each video, I would film around 5 - 15 minutes of footage.

After arriving home from the shoot, I would offload the video onto my computer and use Final Cut Pro X to edit it.

The editing mainly consisted of me chopping up clips and putting them in various orders. So if I filmed a clip that was 60 seconds long, I would watch the clip and cut it down to 5-30 seconds and then place it in my main timeline of the video, along with a few other clips.

Once I had a few clips I liked lined up, I would experiment with overlaying music. This was my favorite part, because you can have the same clip of dancing and put it to one piece of music, but then you can try a different piece of music and it will completely change the tone and vibe of the video. 

Other than putting the clips in a specific order that had a good flow, the rest of the editing to the videos is very minimal. Once again, I wanted to showcase that you don't have to have professional camera knowledge, or intense video editing skills to make beautiful art. Everyone can do it. The editing to the videos I did was just a small contrast boost. 

(I'm familiar with Final Cut Pro because I've used it in the past, but you can definitely use other movie editing apps such as iMovie to create great videos) 

The music for the videos was a mixture of myself, Joshua Piper, and Benjamin Stewart. Each of us has a unique style that you can really hear through the music. 

All the music from myself, Joshua and Benjamin is available to download for free. Just visit our SoundCloud pages and you can download all the music from there. The reason we gave away all the music is because we want people to download it and experiment with making their own dance videos.

I actually started out by making music through Garage Band on the iPhone. (There's some songs in those videos I made entirely through the app) 

The July Video Project was a really fun event for me. I had a blast working and creating with all the different dancers. One video in particular was created a little later on during the project, but I'm a huge fan of it. Here's a bonus video featuring dancers Sarah Hay ( @SarahHayOfficial ) and Christian Novopavlovski ( @NovoPavlovski ) The music is Waltz in C Minor by Joshua Piper. Available as a free download at his SoundCloud. www.SoundCloud.com/HeavyPiano

All of you can make amazing art, and technology has made it easier than ever to create. Try and experiment with things. Take photos, make videos, make music, just experiment & have fun! You've got nothing to lose. 

-Oliver Endahl