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!

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! 

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.

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



Nicole Voris

The latest film will be called "Replay."  The song was composed by Joey Contreras and the piece was choreographed by Michelle Thompson. You can learn more about them on our film page

They will both be writing blog posts about the piece before we release it. Check back in here to learn more about it.

So even though this is the latest film we have put together, it was actually one of the first films we started working on.  Back in 2013, Michelle and I started working on some material.  We decided it would work well with this new song Joey had sent us.  We were really excited to put it together, but we were on a bit of a time limit.  Michelle was pregnant with her second son at the time and we wanted to finish it before she had her new baby.

Meet Oxford.  He is now 2. 


We actually did get to film the material before Oxford was born. Unfortunately we didn't feel like the footage we got was good enough.  It was a very difficult decision for us because Steven Myers had done some incredible lighting in one of the Ballet Austin studios.  It just didn't feel like the piece was finished yet.

Here are some photos from that filming. I'm glad we can still at least share some photos from that day and the amazing lighting!



Last year we finally decided it was time to re film the footage.  At the wedding of mutual dancer friends, we and Michelle met someone who had recently worked at Velocity Dance Center in Seattle.  We felt really drawn to the space and decided this was the place. We also decided to add a corps and change the color scheme.

Over the course of the last few months I have been rehearsing the material, sending footage to Michelle, and she has been responding with notes.  She also created new choreography that we sent to the corps so they'd be familiar before we arrived.

In January we flew up from Los Angeles and Michelle flew over from Manhattan and we met with three lovely ladies who live and work in Seattle.  We really appreciate the time and hard work of Erin Crall, Alice Cao, and Imana Gunawan.  We rehearsed Friday and filmed Saturday.  I'm so excited to share this wonderful work with you.  We are very passionate about our films and distributing them to the world.  Please like and share to help us reach as many people around the world as possible.

Projects you care about are important.  Even if it takes years.  Since the time we started this project Oxford was born, Oliver and I got married, we moved to Los Angeles, and Michelle and her family moved to New York. The piece was really good two years ago, but here two years later, with such much personal growth among us, I think it is incredible.  I hope you enjoy watching it!




Griffith Park

Nicole Voris

Before we moved to LA I really had no idea what to expect.  I had only spent a few days in the actual city of Los Angeles, and those were spent downtown.  I basically only had visions of tall buildings, dirty streets, and traffic.

Los Angeles has surprised me in so many ways and easily became my favorite city that I have ever lived in.  I am so happy to call this place home.

One of the best surprises was Griffith Park.  When we lived in Austin we were lucky enough to live right off the greenbelt.  It meant that we were only a five minute drive from a beautiful hike.  When moving to LA I was sure that was something I would lose.  Griffith park completely surprised me.  It's over 4,000 acres of land right in the middle of LA.  It is also home to this sign which I'm sure you've seen ;)

The park actually has a really strange and dark history including ghost stories, a criminal, prisoner camps, and other violence.  You can read about it on the wikipedia page.   I'm glad that despite all that, the park can now have a positive presence and influence over the city. 


I really love hiking here.  We usually start at the very bottom of the trail and make our way up to one of the peaks.  You get a 360 degree view of the surrounding city and on clear days you can see the ocean.  It's not an easy hike and I usually complain for the first 10 minutes.  It's so worth it to get the top though.

Griffith has been called the Central Park of Los Angeles, but it's actually much more wild than the Manhattan landmark.  The trails are all dirt, and vary in difficulty.  Theres also a ton of wildlife, including a mountain lion that managed to cross two LA freeways in order to settle in the park.   I've seen deer close up as well as smaller life, like bunnies and snakes. 

The park is also home to free museums and art.  The Griffith observatory is a free museum and national leader in public astronomy.  I suggest completing a hike then heading on in to see this awesome public facility.

Griffith Observatory 

Griffith Observatory 

Another one of my favorite parts of the park is the abandoned zoo.  It was left as a zoo in 1966, but you can still hike and explore the old cages.  During the summer the Independent Shakespeare company performs for free four days a week. (I suggest making a donation if you take advantage of this great opportunity.)  This last summer Oliver and I saw Romeo and Juliet.  They did a fun 1980's style and I absolutely loved it.  I can't wait to see more from them.

These are just a few things you can do in Griffith park.  There's even more, but these are the things I've taken advantage of.  If you live or visit LA I highly suggest taking some time to explore this awesome park!

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