When Lindy Fabyanic opened her school, Dance Conservatory of Charleston, she called on friends and former colleagues to find guest teachers and build her faculty. "I started texting my network to see if they wanted to come teach workshops or master classes," says Fabyanic, former dancer with San Francisco Ballet and New York City Ballet. "It was so heartwarming to get their positive responses and feel their support."
Whether your studio is new or well-established, the easiest and most effective way to find potential candidates is to reach out to people you already know. A strong, trusted faculty will ensure that students receive the best training and experience possible. But it can be challenging to recruit highly qualified teachers if you don't have direct access to a large network of professionals in your area. Even when you find the right people, how do you retain them in a competitive market? Try these creative and expense-free strategies to help build the right team for your school.
Attract Quality—and Keep It
If you can't afford to offer a salaried position or high hourly rate, try to provide other perks, such as free rehearsal space or the opportunity to take unlimited classes. "We let our teachers work at other studios as long as there are no conflicts," says Rodriguez. "I don't like the closed-door policy, because they'll learn from other experiences and bring that knowledge back into the Joffrey Academy." Rodriguez also keeps an extensive substitute list so teachers have the freedom to pursue their other professional interests. "They might still be performing or choreographing, and we don't want to stop them from their creative outlet as artists."
People are often happy to be part of a quality organization where they feel respected and appreciated. Just as word of mouth can be the best marketing tool to attract new students, it can also help bring in excellent staff and faculty. "It's important to have happy teachers who feel valued," says Fabyanic, "so they go into the studio and do a good job."