It could be argued that half the battle of owning a dance studio is getting people to follow the rules. To ensure your business will run like a well-oiled machine, it helps to have clear expectations in place for students and their families—and, most important, to make sure everyone knows them from day one. Of course, every school is unique, and behavior that may be acceptable to you might be out of the question for someone else. "There are so many studios out there," says Dana McGuire, a studio co-owner in North Kansas City, Missouri. "Know and stand by what you're about." Here, four seasoned studio directors discuss the issues they consider non-negotiable.
What are the consequences for disruptive behavior or for bullying? Would you ever dismiss a dancer—or parent—from the school entirely? You'll prevent potential fallout from a tricky situation by having clear penalties in place up front.
You may also choose to monitor social-media use. "We have a strict social-media policy," says Dani Rosenberg, co-owner of Rhythm Dance Center in Marietta, Georgia. "When we see something questionable on a dancer's feed, like inappropriate language or photos, first we'll talk to the kid, and then we'll talk to the parent." If there's a third strike, she says, the dancer will be asked to leave.
Never tolerate mistreatment of your faculty, either. "We once had to ban a parent who yelled profanity at our staff, in our lobby," says Petrou. "Don't scream at us or use foul language—that's one of our biggest rules."