Ask the Experts: Summer Income


Q: I need to generate more income over the summer to help cover studio expenses and benefit my comp dancers. What have you found works best?

A: Keeping revenue coming in during the summer holidays is so challenging. In the past, we've done day camps. They're good for growing your recreational program. But we needed more—to generate more income and to continue to develop our dancers.

Two years ago, we started offering private and semi-private classes of one to three students, maximum, over four weeks in the summer. Dancers can sign up for half-hour classes in their choice of dance genre (and many end up scheduling privates in two or three genres). It's a great way to offer your younger teachers the chance to make a little extra over the summer, and all private classes include a studio rental fee, which helps with our summer rent.

We also hold four weeks of bootcamps, which are conditioning/stretch and strength, as well as open ballet classes. Students can either pay as they go, or sign up for all four weeks at a reduced rate. (Once again, we include a studio rental fee per student.)

Finally, we offer a three-day workshop called the Canadian National Dance Intensive, which we recommend for our full- and part-time dancers. To help offset the cost, we partner with two local studios. This allows us to bring in some of the best names in the industry, from New York and L.A. This combination of offerings helps our comp kids stay in tip-top dance shape over the summer—it's truly worth the time and energy invested.

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

Teacher Voices
Getty Images

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Much of this setup is the result of my attempts to recreate the most important aspects of an in-person dance studio: I have a barre, a floor and as much space as I can reasonably give myself within a small apartment. I do not, however, have a mirror, and neither do most of my students.

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After the birth of her daughter in 2018, engineer Lisa McCabe had reservations about returning to the workforce full-time. And while she wanted to stay home with the new baby, she wasn't ready to stop contributing financially to her family (after all, she'd had a successful career designing cables for government drones). So, when she got a call that September from an area preschool to lead its dance program, she saw an opportunity.

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