Studio Owners

Ask the Experts: How Do I Maximize Studio Space and Revenue During the Summer?

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Q: I'm trying to think of ways to maximize studio space and revenue during the summer. What has worked for you?

A: We do private and semiprivate classes four to six weeks out of the summer. During these weeks our staff sets up 30-minute sessions of jazz, acro, tap or ballet that run from noon to 5 pm, two to three days per week. These classes can be private, or shared by up to three dancers. Each 30-minute session costs $40, and of that, the studio gets $10. With four studios running at once, we get $80 per hour, and the teachers get the rest.

In order to sign up for these private classes, dancers must also register for classes held in the evening between 5 and 8 pm on the same nights. These classes are $15, and the total is split between the teachers and the studio. These weeks of classes are very popular. The parents even line up on sign-up day to get a space.

We also do a three-day intensive during the summer for our more competitive dancers, where we bring in reputable outside faculty. We run this in conjunction with two other studios to help offset the cost and space. Many studios also do birthday, superhero and princess day camps for the little dancers during the summer, which help bring in extra money, as well as some new dancers for the fall.

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Despite worldwide theater closures, the Universal Ballet Competition is keeping The Nutcracker tradition alive in 2020 with an online international competition. The event culminates in a streamed, full-length video of The Virtual Nutcracker consisting of winning entries on December 19. The competition is calling on studios, as well as dancers of all ages and levels, to submit videos by November 29 to be considered.

"Nutcracker is a tradition that is ingrained in our hearts," says UBC co-founder Lissette Salgado-Lucas, a former dancer with Royal Winnipeg Ballet and Joffrey Ballet. "We danced it for so long as professionals, we can't wait to pass it along to dancers through this competition."

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Robbie Sweeny, courtesy Funsch

Christy Funsch's teaching career has taken her from New York City to the Bay Area to Portugal, with a stint in a punk band in between. But this fall—fresh off a Fulbright in Portugal at the Instituto Politécnico de Lisboa, School of Dance (ESD), teaching and researching empathetic embodiment through somatic dance training—Funsch's teaching has taken her to an entirely new location: Zoom. A visiting professor at Slippery Rock University for the 2020–21 academic year, Funsch is adapting her eclectic, boundary-pushing approach to her virtual classes.

Originally from central New York State, Funsch spent 20 years performing in the Bay Area, where she also started her own company, Funsch Dance Experience. "My choreographic work from that time is in the dance-theater experiential, fantasy realm of performance," she says. "I also started blending genres and a lot of urban styles found their way into my choreography."

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Courtesy Meg Brooker

As the presidential election approaches, it's a particularly meaningful time to remember that we are celebrating the centennial of the 19th Amendment, when women earned the right to vote after a decades-long battle.

Movement was more than a metaphor for the fight for women's suffrage—dancers played a real role, most notably Florence Fleming Noyes, who performed her riveting solo Dance of Freedom in 1914 to embody the struggle for women's rights.

This fall, Middle Tennessee State University director of dance Meg Brooker is reconstructing Dance of Freedom on 11 of her students. A Noyes Rhythm teacher and an Isadora Duncan scholar, Brooker is passionate about bringing historic dance practices into a contemporary context.

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