Q: I have a competitive studio in a highly saturated area. Two different studios are advertising auditions within the community for a new minis competition team. It feels like they're soliciting my minis clientele. How do I handle this?
A: Unfortunately, not all studio owners see soliciting the same way. To me, soliciting is when you contact someone else's clientele, whether in person, over the phone or even by using Facebook, to advertise your studio. Many directors feel it's all right to promote open-call auditions for their competitive teams. I, personally, do not. Our competition team is by invitation only—and only my studio's students are eligible.
I don't believe you can tell another studio owner how to ethically conduct him- or herself. I have had teachers approach my students at competitions and hand them their business cards. I have also had them walk up to my dancers and ask them if they've ever considered changing studios. One year at a competition, another studio hung a banner in the changing room, inviting students to their summer intensive. In that case, I didn't confront the owner—I just went to the competition director and had him handle it. (No competition wants solicitation to happen at their events.) Always conduct yourself with high morals and hopefully others will follow.
But if a parent or student contacts you unsolicited, that's a different story. If a student or parent from another studio's comp team calls our studio or comes in to inquire about classes, I will give them the studio tour and meet with them to answer their questions—but that's all, until their dance year is finished. Only if their studio's season is over and they have had their year-end performances will I allow them to come and take class.