Ask the Experts: Separating Work and Family Life

Q: I run my dance studio with my daughter, and sometimes it feels like there’s no separation between our personal lives and work lives. How can I keep the two separate?

A: My husband, my two daughters and myself all work and live together. My husband Barry runs the studio, and my two daughters, Dana and Jessie, do the majority of the teaching with me. We are all blessed to be making a living doing what we love. But yes, it is very hard to separate our personal lives from work. There are those days when the pressure of working and living together becomes too much, and everyone heads to a different part of the house.

It helps that we each have our passions and interests outside of dance. The girls love to travel and get away in the summer months. My husband plays hockey, goes golfing and plays cards with his buddies. I spend time with friends of mine from high school every week, grabbing lunch and shopping. They keep me grounded and take my mind off the studio.

My daughters and I have started taking classes together that have nothing to do with dance, like cake decorating. It’s a great opportunity for us to bond outside of the studio. And my husband and I just returned from a nondance-related trip (only our second in 34 years of marriage—try not to wait that long).

My best advice is to have outside interests and schedule your own downtime—and encourage your daughter to do the same. Balance, I am learning, is the key to happiness.

Joanne Chapman is the owner of the award-winning Joanne Chapman School of Dance in Brampton, Ontario.

Photo by Dan Boskovic, courtesy of Joanne Chapman

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.