Studio Owners

Ask the Experts: Should I Build a Bigger Studio?


Q: We're about to build a new, bigger studio, but I'm terrified! Will it feel like we're taking a step backward, having to pay more instructors and higher monthly fees?

A: With each of our expansions, we've realized that the only way we can effect positive change is with some necessary growing pains. Remember that expansion doesn't always mean increased profitability—at least not at first. Just as you did when you first opened your studio, you must expect that it will take time and resources to reach your new studio's full capacity.

The best way to alleviate your worries is to have a clear plan in place, with a timeline and projections for what it will take to cover expenses and eventually become profitable. We recommend you meet with your accountant and/or bookkeeper to understand the financial impact an expansion will have on your operating expenses. Although your payroll, rent and utilities will increase, you'll also have the opportunity to offer more classes to a wider range of students. If you haven't already, we recommend you survey your current students to learn what additional styles or class times they'd like to see offered. This allows you to set a schedule that not only provides your current students with more classes or styles but also allows you to build your new student enrollment.

Be prepared to put time, energy and financial resources into the launch of your new space. Create some excitement and celebration around the opening! Tell the story of your growth. People love seeing before-and-after photos—take some and share them on social media. Post your new class schedule far in advance. This excitement will translate into referrals.

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

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
Higher Ed
The author, Robyn Watson. Photo courtesy Watson

Recently, I posted a thread of tweets elucidating the lack of respect for tap dance in college dance programs, and arguing that it should be a requirement for dance majors.

According to, out of the 30 top-ranked college dance programs in the U.S., tap dance is offered at 19 of them, but only one school requires majors to take more than a beginner course—Oklahoma City University. Many prestigious dance programs, like the ones at NYU Tisch School of the Arts and SUNY Purchase, don't offer a single course in tap dance.

Keep reading... Show less
Teaching Tips
Getty Images

After months of lockdowns and virtual learning, many studios across the country are opening their doors and returning to in-person classes. Teachers and students alike have likely been chomping at the bit in anticipation of the return of dance-class normalcy that doesn't require a reliable internet connection or converting your living room into a dance space.

But along with the back-to-school excitement, dancers might be feeling rusty from being away from the studio for so long. A loss of flexibility, strength and stamina is to be expected, not to mention emotional fatigue from all of the uncertainty and reacclimating to social activities.

So as much as everyone wants to get back to normal—teachers and studio owners included—erring on the side of caution with your dancers' training will be the most beneficial approach in the long run.

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.