Dance Studios

Videos, films and photography

About This Project

Madeleine Twyman runs the Durham School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance (DSBCD) and the Blue Institute in Whitby, and she has very big ideas. Her dance school is for elite dancers and she offers programming and lessons like a true entrepreneur. We have been asked by DSBCD on several occasions to film and photograph the team. The first video is a short documentary about a social experiment Madeleine did with her dancers where she challenged them to reduce screen time during the season to see the impact it would make on the dance. The second and third videos are social media posts we shot in between photos. We were able to pack in a lot of shots into a half day shoot and now Madeleine has hundreds of high quality photos of her team, a few promo videos and some stand alone slow motion video shots all to post on social media.

Working with Madeleine is a dream. She’s a brilliant artist, leader and choreographer and her art blends perfectly with ours. We hope to make more content with her for years to come.

We have also had the pleasure to get creative with her dance crew while filming them in slow motion in a few locations. We visited the Whitby Waterfront shortly after the Covid-19 lock down was eased and took photos and video shots while the team was dressed in all white. And before the lock down began we visited their studio near Thickson and Dundas and lit up the studio with DJ lights and video lights to capture some dancing at 180fps. These are totally awesome social media posts and in a single day we can film a lot of material to create a variety of these videos.

When Covid-19 rocked our artistic world, live dance showcases were put on the back burner and adjudication went online. Madeleine invited Colin to light and film her solo dancers at her studio using his Rage Evo gimbal with his widest lens to submit for competition in the largest dance competition in North America. To give the dances the most cinematic look, Colin travels around the dance floor with the soloist using his judgement on timing and rhythm (and experience filming Madeleine’s choreography) to anticipate where the dancer will go next. The final product gives a more immersive look at a dancer as opposed to the traditional ‘zoomed in tripod shot’ that dance showcases tend to lean on. We hope you agree. Here’s a look at one of the dances from Madeleine’s spring 2021 showcase.

Empty Cup Media has also worked with choreographer Lindsay Daniels at Maxwell Heights for a number of years making video content for her high school dance program. Lindsay had the idea to weave short videos in between dance numbers during live performances. So each year we would think of a handful of short video ideas, and then Colin would visit the school to film candid classes and conduct interviews with students. Some of the videos were short commercials for the program, others about the social benefits or the dance curriculum program offered.

This is a short art video about dance and the impact it has on the students at Maxwell Heights in Oshawa.


In 2021, Colin and Lindsay worked on their first collaborative dance film project together. They started with a song, then listened to it 100 times and broke the song down into chapters. After that they could begin to break up the dance into sections where we could break the linear performance of the dance and just put a ‘cut’ to have the dancers in a new location. It was filmed over 2 evenings when the school was closed and it was made for the 2021 Remembrance Day event the school put on.




Whitby, Courtice

Crew Members

Director, Cinematographer: Carla Sinclair

Cinematographer, Editor: Colin Burwell

Photography, Promo Videos