Ask the Experts: Minis Competition


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.

Teachers Trending
Alwin Courcy, courtesy Ballet des Amériques

Carole Alexis has been enduring the life-altering after-effects of COVID-19 since April 2020. For months on end, the Ballet des Amériques director struggled with fevers, tingling, dizziness and fatigue. Strange bruising showed up on her skin, along with the return of her (long dormant) asthma, plus word loss and stuttering.

"For three days I would experience relief from the fever—then, boom—it would come back worse than before," Alexis says. "I would go into a room and not know why I was there." Despite the remission of some symptoms, the fatigue and other debilitating side effects have endured to this day. Alexis is part of a tens-of-thousands-member club nobody wants to be part of—she is a COVID-19 long-hauler.

Keep reading... Show less
Teachers Trending
Annika Abel Photography, courtesy Griffith

When the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis last May catalyzed nationwide protests against systemic racism, the tap community resumed longstanding conversations about teaching a Black art form in the era of Black Lives Matter. As these dialogues unfolded on social media, veteran Dorrance Dance member Karida Griffith commented infrequently, finding it difficult to participate in a meaningful way.

"I had a hard time watching people have these conversations without historical context and knowledge," says Griffith, who now resides in her hometown of Portland, Oregon, after many years in New York City. "It was clear that there was so much information missing."

For example, she observed people discussing tap while demonstrating ignorance about Black culture. Or, posts that tried to impose upon tap the history or aesthetics of European dance forms.

Keep reading... Show less
Studio Owners
Courtesy Tonawanda Dance Arts

If you're considering starting a summer program this year, you're likely not alone. Summer camp and class options are a tried-and-true method for paying your overhead costs past June—and, done well, could be a vehicle for making up for lost 2020 profits.

Plus, they might take on extra appeal for your studio families this year. Those struggling financially due to the pandemic will be in search of an affordable local programming option rather than an expensive, out-of-town intensive. And with summer travel still likely in question this spring as July and August plans are being made, your studio's local summer training option remains a safe bet.

The keys to profitable summer programming? Figuring out what type of structure will appeal most to your studio clientele, keeping start-up costs low—and, ideally, converting new summer students into new year-round students.

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.