Ask the Experts: Studio Business, Competitions and Technology in the Classroom

How do you find space in your class schedule to accommodate both competition dancers who attend three-plus classes a week and recreational students?

It takes careful planning and often several schedule adjustments to achieve a balanced class offering. Your schedule should reflect the type of student you want to attract and keep. For example, if your goal is to offer a wide variety of classes for beginner dancers, be sure you have options both on weekdays and weekends for them to choose from.

Two of the biggest scheduling factors are teacher availability and how many classrooms you have. Start by creating a visual layout of your studio and a comprehensive list of classes you will offer. We suggest plugging your more intensive dancers’ classes into your weekly schedule first.

It helps to know the best start times for classes in the afternoons and evenings. We recommend you research when school ends, how far the majority of your students travel and what times work best for working parents. Also consider your preschool programs carefully, since some run best in the mornings, whereas others may fill faster after work hours. If your studio has been around for a while, pull reports from past years to see what classes and times have been popular.

Even after the start of classes, it’s important to be attentive to your students’ needs. You may need to add some recreational classes, for example, for those who come in later, after fall sports. You can also add a note on your website to let parents know you are happy to take suggestions for class days and times before finalizing your schedule.

Kathy Blake is the owner of Kathy Blake Dance Studios in Amherst, New Hampshire. She and Suzanne Blake Gerety are the co-founders of DanceStudioOwner.com.

Photo by B Hansen Photography, courtesy of Suzanne Blake Gerety

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