Studio Owners

Looking for an Alternative to Discounts? Try a Loyalty Program

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Cary-Grove Performing Arts Centre co-owner Amy Krigas instituted a pointsbased loyalty program when she opened her Cary, Illinois, studio 20 years ago. "I don't give scholarships to boys for free. I don't give sibling or multiclass discounts," she says.


Instead, parents earn one point per class, per season. "If you have five kids taking one class or one kid taking five classes, at the end of the season, you would get five points," she says. Once they've accrued 10 points, they receive a $75 credit which can go toward anything studio-related. "Some people stock these up and have $300 waiting at registration," says Krigas. "Some people use their credit to buy recital tickets. Some apply it to their monthly tuition payments." Once a family has earned their credit, they receive an e-mail from the studio that thanks them for being loyal customers and alerts them that a credit has been added to their account. "Quite often," Krigas says, "people write back and say, 'What a great surprise! I totally forgot about this.'"

To keep her summer camps full, Krigas offers half a point for each weeklong summer camp that a student is enrolled in. "People make out like bandits!" she says. "But it gets them to take summer classes. People who take a whole bunch of classes in the summer wind up earning a credit for the fall."

Teaching Tips
A 2019 Dancewave training. Photo by Effy Grey, courtesy Dancewave

By now, most dance educators hopefully understand that they have a responsibility to address racism in the studio. But knowing that you need to be actively cultivating racial equity isn't the same thing as knowing how to do so.

Of course, there's no easy answer, and no perfect approach. As social justice advocate David King emphasized at a recent interactive webinar, "Cultivating Racial Equity in the Classroom," this work is never-ending. The event, hosted by Dancewave (which just launched a new racial-equity curriculum) was a good starting point, though, and offered some helpful takeaways for dance educators committed to racial justice.

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Higher Ed
The author, Robyn Watson. Photo courtesy Watson

Recently, I posted a thread of tweets elucidating the lack of respect for tap dance in college dance programs, and arguing that it should be a requirement for dance majors.

According to onstageblog.com, out of the 30 top-ranked college dance programs in the U.S., tap dance is offered at 19 of them, but only one school requires majors to take more than a beginner course—Oklahoma City University. Many prestigious dance programs, like the ones at NYU Tisch School of the Arts and SUNY Purchase, don't offer a single course in tap dance.

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Teaching Tips
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After months of lockdowns and virtual learning, many studios across the country are opening their doors and returning to in-person classes. Teachers and students alike have likely been chomping at the bit in anticipation of the return of dance-class normalcy that doesn't require a reliable internet connection or converting your living room into a dance space.

But along with the back-to-school excitement, dancers might be feeling rusty from being away from the studio for so long. A loss of flexibility, strength and stamina is to be expected, not to mention emotional fatigue from all of the uncertainty and reacclimating to social activities.

So as much as everyone wants to get back to normal—teachers and studio owners included—erring on the side of caution with your dancers' training will be the most beneficial approach in the long run.

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