Q: How do you handle students who have financial hardship? Do you offer reduced tuition or scholarships?
A: When we have a student with great passion and talent whose family cannot afford to pay for dance education, we try to find that dancer some financial help. Because most parents don't want anyone else to know their financial business, we award scholarships discreetly, asking that the arrangement only be between the family and ourselves. Some studios hold auditions for financial-based scholarships, but I'm hesitant—I feel it should be handled on an individual basis and not public knowledge.
I give the option to some families to subsidize their dance fees by helping out around the studio, running the snack bar, editing music, painting and cleaning in the summer. But don't forget that you're running a business. There have been times when I've been taken advantage of. I once gave a family in need a break on their fees only to find out that they all went away on a fabulous summer vacation for two weeks! When things like that happen, it's easy to feel used. My father used to say, “People who get something for nothing feel it's worth nothing." So I keep that in the back of my mind and always protect myself.