Husband and wife team Didier Duffas and Valentina Zatevalneva dreamed of building their own digital dance academy - Neva Ballet. Their goal was to make it possible for people around the world to experience the magic of dance for fitness and health. Focused on classical dance techniques and the strength and beauty of Russian ballet, the classes would be open to anyone with the desire to learn.
The Right Tools for the Job
There were just a few hurdles standing in the way of their dream. Neither one of them had built a website before and they had no previous developer experience. Additionally, for video they needed a way to create a high quality recording for playback. They wanted something simple to implement, that would be cost effective and easy to manage. They started with Wix and Zoom. Wix's easy-to-use interface made it possible for them to create their own ecommerce site and Zoom allowed them to live stream all of their classes to a small group.
There was just one problem - the live streams. While they were great for live teaching, they wanted to offer customers a high quality playback of each class as well as create a backup if anything happened with their Zoom recording.
This led them to api.video.
Api.video offers high quality HLS live streams that look great in playback, customizable players, easy implementation and reasonable prices. With these three tools combined, their digital dance academy began to take shape.
Building the Dream
"Our job is to provide to our customers online classes in different disciplines based on ballet and all the physical preparation of ballerinas. Valentina used to be a ballerina in the national state ballet in Russia," Didier said.
To bring the couple's vision to life, Didier set up an ecommerce website with Wix and then turned to setting up their classes. For the video recording implementation, he set up Zoom meetings with recording enabled. Next, he created a live stream with api.video, then added it to the Zoom meeting. Any time Valentina opened Zoom to start live streaming a class, she would speak with the class, then when it was time to begin, she cut everyone's mics but her own, started her live stream with api.video, and then with Zoom.
Didier described the typical class set up for us: "The teacher has the camera filming giving the lesson and at the same time she can see the gallery of Zoom for the images of the students. All our members are not doing live at the same time and we advise them to make live classes sometimes just to participate so we can give feedback. But we mainly use the replay and that's the reason why also we use api.video -- "
They decided to offer the Zoom playback alongside the high-quality api.video playback. Students had access to either playback as many times as they wanted for one week after the class.
With their implementation together, the digital dance academy Neva Ballet was born. They have now been in business for one year, and they offer classes in nine different disciplines, with subscription and a la carte purchasing models available. They have multiple channels for their live streams, and they've not only made it possible for students to take classes from anywhere, but to do so affordably. A monthly subscription to classes starts at 35 euros while others charge double with lower video quality. Individual classes start at 15 euros. Another perk the couple found is that they can teach the classes from anywhere.
They also found their no-code implementation tremendously valuable because it meant they could manage the site on their own.
"We never had any developer. I didn't know how to make a website one year ago. I do everything by myself...It's really cool...For us it's very important because we are autonomous and we can do things...ourselves," Didier told us.
By not needing a developer except for some help with a menu arrangement in Wix, Didier said they are able to keep costs low, quickly respond to problems and implement improvements.
“It would be very complicated for us if we had to ask a web agency or web developer to work for us. Since one year I have made so many changes and we are really in A/B testing mode. I put something, I see a change, I correct it," Didier said.
The couple hopes to grow their digital academy over time, with more classes and teachers, and they look forward to doing so with the help of api.video.
"api.video will help us to evolve." --Didier Duffas
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