Ask the Experts: Costume Order Changes

Q: We just found out that a costume we had chosen for a class won’t get here in time, so we quickly picked a different one. Now parents are furious. How should I handle this? The situation was beyond our studio’s control.

A: Parents and students often become invested and attached to a costume once you show them the picture from the catalog. Those new to dance or unfamiliar with the costume process may perceive this switch as poor handling of the ordering process and blame you for their child’s distress. Because social media, texting and waiting-room chatter make it easier than ever for negativity to spread, we suggest you acknowledge their disappointment and explain what happened as soon as possible—in writing.

Consider writing: “Although your children’s costume was chosen in November and ordered in January, with a confirmed ship date in April, the company representatives just informed us that the costume is back-ordered due to unexpected problems with their material supplier. This means they are now unable to meet our deadline. Fortunately, we were able to find a costume with a lovely flowing skirt, similar to the original’s, from another company—with all sizes in stock. This costume is of equal value and quality and meets our artistic requirements. We thank you for understanding. We know that our dancers will look beautiful onstage.”

In rare cases, we have had to take additional customer service measures by applying a small credit to each dancer’s account when the replacement costume falls far below the class’ expectations. In the future, you might benefit from adding a disclaimer at the bottom of your costume order form that states: “Costumes are subject to change, depending on vendor availability and/or delivery time.”

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

Photo by B Hansen Photography, courtesy of Suzanne Blake Gerety

Allie Burke, courtesy Lo Cascio

If you'd hear it on the radio, you won't hear it in Anthony Lo Cascio's tap classes.

"If I play a song that my kids know, I'm kind of disappointed in myself," he says. "I either want to be on the cutting edge or playing the classics."

He finds that most of today's trendy tracks lack the depth needed for tap, and that there's a disconnect between kids and popular music. "They have trouble finding the beat compared to older genres," he says.

Keep reading... Show less
Teachers Trending
Courtesy Lovely Leaps

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.

The invitation to teach wasn't completely out of the blue. McCabe had grown up dancing in Southern California and had a great reputation from serving as her church's dance teacher and team coach the previous three years (stopping only to take a break as a new mother). She agreed to teach ballet and jazz at the preschool on Fridays and from there created an age-appropriate class based on her own training in the Cecchetti and RAD methods. It was a success: In three months, class enrollment went from six to 24 students, and just one year later, McCabe's blossoming Lovely Leaps brand had contracts with eight preschools and three additional teachers.

Keep reading... Show less
Courtesy Shake the Ground

Dance competitions were among the first events to be shut down when the COVID-19 pandemic exploded in the U.S. in mid-March, and they've been among the last able to restart.

So much of the traditional structure of the competition—large groups of dancers and parents from dozens of different studios; a new city every week—simply won't work in our new pandemic world.

How, then, have competitions been getting by, and what does the future look like?

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.