Teaching Tips

Ask the Experts: How Do You Stretch Your K–12 Budget?

Getty Images

Q: What are some ways to stretch your K–12 budget?


A: Whether your school's budget comes from the government or tuition, the amount your dance program gets will likely depend on the priorities of your principal, which is why I believe advocating for your program will always be a big part of your job. The main budgetary needs for K–12 are performances, field trips and guest choreographer/teacher costs. Costumes tend to be the biggest line item, but, depending on your school, theater access, lights, sound and crew may also be your responsibility.

While it's ideal to use the resources your school offers you, you will most likely need to raise some funds for your budget on your own to stretch your program. Most teachers I know use the income from the previous year's box office to pay for the following year's costumes and other performance costs. Some ask the PTA for funding, while others look to the student and parent body for skills, like graphic design or costume making.

One of the most creative funding ideas I've heard came from New Jersey–based teacher Heather Warfel-Sandler. To expand her program, Heather used a resource she had that is in demand—space. Heather created Choreographers in Residence Program (CHIRP), which offers professional dance companies free space for rehearsals and performances in exchange for working with her students. This can include technique classes, learning repertoire, watching rehearsals or even working behind the scenes on a production, thus connecting her students not only to the local dance community but to the greater dance world.

Teachers Trending
Photo by Yvonne M. Portra, courtesy Faulkner

It's a Wednesday in May, and 14 Stanford University advanced modern ­dance students are logged on to Zoom, each practicing a socially distanced duet with an imaginary person. "Think about the quality of their personality and the type of duet you might have," says their instructor Katie Faulkner, "but also their surface area and how you'd relate to them in space." Amid dorm rooms, living rooms, dining rooms and backyards, the dancers make do with cramped quarters and dodge furniture as they twist, curve, stretch and intertwine with their imaginary partners.

Keep reading... Show less
Music
Getty Images

Securing the correct music licensing for your studio is an important step in creating a financially sound business. "Music licensing is something studio owners seem to either embrace or ignore completely," says Clint Salter, CEO and founder of the Dance Studio Owners Association. While it may seem like it's a situation in which it's easier to ask for forgiveness rather than permission—that is, to wait until you're approached by a music-rights organization before purchasing a license—Salter disagrees, citing Peloton, the exercise company that produces streaming at-home workouts. In February, Peloton settled a music-licensing suit with the National Music Publishers' Association out-of-court for an undisclosed amount. Originally, NMPA had sought $300 million in damages from Peloton. "It can get extremely expensive," says Salter. "It's not worth it for a studio to get caught up in that."

As you continue to explore a hybrid online/in-person version of your class schedule, it's crucial that your music licenses include coverage for livestreamed instruction—which comes with its own particular requirements. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about music licensing—in both normal times and COVID times—as well as some safe music bets that won't pose any issues.

Keep reading... Show less
Teaching Tips
A 2019 Dancewave training. Photo by Effy Grey, courtesy Dancewave

By now, most dance educators hopefully understand that they have a responsibility to address racism in the studio. But knowing that you need to be actively cultivating racial equity isn't the same thing as knowing how to do so.

Of course, there's no easy answer, and no perfect approach. As social justice advocate David King emphasized at a recent interactive webinar, "Cultivating Racial Equity in the Classroom," this work is never-ending. The event, hosted by Dancewave (which just launched a new racial-equity curriculum) was a good starting point, though, and offered some helpful takeaways for dance educators committed to racial justice.

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.