Ask the Experts: How Do I Get Parents On Board for a Holiday Show?


Q: I want to do a holiday performance and need some advice. How do you get parents on board? How do you keep it economical? What other money makers do you do at your holiday show other than ticket sales?

A: Parents tend to get on board with a holiday performance when you pitch it as an optional opportunity for their children to gain more onstage experience and to demonstrate all that they have learned up until this point in the year. If you set an expectation that the performance will be economical and seek solutions to fulfill that promise, the parents will be happy.

One way to do this is to have your students rent costumes for a small fee rather than buy them outright. The fee should be based on the price of the costumes, how long you plan to use them, and what it will cost you to clean, repair and store them.

Some studios choose a simpler solution by adding holiday accessories like gloves, scarves and hats to the student's already existing dancewear. Another creative costume solution is to have your younger dancers wear holiday pajamas, while the older dancers wear black leggings with ugly sweaters.

When doing a holiday performance, keep in mind your hard costs like theater rental, production and staff. You can generate additional performance revenue beyond ticket sales with things like selling teddy bears in dance outfits with a balloon, flower bouquets or concessions at the show.

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
Dancer Diary
Claire, McAdams, courtesy Houston Ballet

Former Houston Ballet dancer Chun Wai Chan has always been destined for New York City Ballet.

While competing at Prix de Lausanne in 2010, he was offered summer program scholarships at both the School of American Ballet and Houston Ballet. However, because two of the competition's winners that year were Houston Ballet's Aaron Sharratt and Liao Xiang, dancers Chan idolized, he turned down SAB. He joined Houston Ballet II in 2010, the main company's corps de ballet in 2012, and was promoted to principal in 2017. Oozing confidence and technical prowess, Chan was a Houston favorite, and even landed himself a spot on Dance Magazine's "25 to Watch."

Keep reading... Show less
Mary Mallaney/USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance, courtesy Osato

In most classes, dancers are encouraged to count the music, and dance with it—emphasizing accents and letting the rhythm of a song guide them.

But Marissa Osato likes to give her students an unexpected challenge: to resist hitting the beats.

In her contemporary class at EDGE Performing Arts Center in Los Angeles (which is now closed, until they find a new space), she would often play heavy trap music. She'd encourage her students to find the contrast by moving in slow, fluid, circular patterns, daring them to explore the unobvious interpretation of the steady rhythms.

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.