Q: I want to make an opening speech at my recital to encourage studio spirit and pride, since it's definitely lacking at my studio. What can I say without making it sound like a commercial?
A: As the director or owner, you have the opportunity each day to establish your studio culture. Your recital is a great place to generate excitement about what makes being a student at your school special. If you share your studio commitment and vision—rather than try to convince people of anything—it will not feel sales-y.
If you want your team to feel proud and enthusiastic about being a part of your program this year, start by acknowledging them: staff, theater personnel, parents, volunteers and dancers who take part in making the performance happen. Genuine appreciation and thank-yous are key. Once you express your appreciation, share a short but heartfelt sentiment. Think about how you can honor and acknowledge the work of the students, the commitment of the families, and the artistry and talent of your teachers and choreographers. You may even share some specifics from the year that your unique group of students can relate to personally. If you have a theme or event that your studio rallied around this season, mention it!
You can minimize the selling aspect by inviting your dancers and families to stay connected to the studio throughout the summer via your social-media channels and a studio-specific hashtag. Encourage them to look through and save their recital program, which can include marketing materials or ads about your summer and fall programs inside.
It takes focus and energy to build student and family engagement at your studio. Carry this enthusiastic tone forward in all of your communications—e-mail, in-person, social media—and your future announcements and recital acknowledgements will feel natural.
Kathy Blake is the owner of Kathy Blake Dance Studios in Amherst, New Hampshire. She and Suzanne Blake Gerety are the co-founders of DanceStudioOwner.com.