Ask the Experts: What Are Your Summer Rituals at Your Studio?

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Q: I'm looking to create some summer rituals and traditions at my studio. What are some of the things you do?

A: Creating fun and engaging moments for your students, staff and families can have a positive impact on your studio culture. Whether it's a big event or a small gesture, we've found that traditions build connection, boost morale and create strong bonds. I reached out to a variety of studio owners to gather some ideas for you to try this summer. Here's what they had to say.

"We do a team-appreciation dinner in June after our recital. The dancers are allowed to bring one parent each. It's a lovely meal at a local Italian restaurant where we get our own room and bring our studio speaker for music. We play a slideshow of team events and highlights from the season. The kids have a ball!" —Jane O'Donnell, Center for the Performing Arts, North Andover, Massachusetts

"We do a teacher camping retreat (in campers, not tents!) in the middle of August with the staff and their family members. In the past we've been able to use the time to get our songs and costumes selected, and even got a little bit of preschool choreography done. It's a really great time." —Shawna Seale, Footnotes Dance & Fitness, Lewiston, Idaho

"We rent the local water park for a private appreciation event for our dancers and their families. It holds 1,200 people and costs us just over $1,000. It's totally worth the money to see how much the parents appreciate it."
—Brooke Hardebeck, Studio B Dance, Lafayette, Indiana

"We hold an appreciation party for our Teacher Training Program attendees. We take them out to do activities like see a show, play laser tag, go mini golfing or attend an amusement park or arcade." —Joe Naftal, Dance Connection, Islip, New York

"We do a Nationals kick-off party each summer. The girls dress semiformal, and we have a potluck where everyone brings something. We give out awards, show a slideshow of the year, give senior gifts and dance!" —Becky Chaisson, Spotlight Dance Academy, Westford, Massachusetts

"We have a faculty retreat scheduled for three days at the end of July at a spa club near the studio. It includes lunch, drinks and pool time to help welcome new faculty and get everyone excited for when classes begin early August." —Tasha Wells,
St. Augustine Dance Academy, St. Augustine, Florida

"We do a team banquet at the end of the year. It's a red-carpet, dress-to-impress event. The dancers even get invitations mailed to them. We have an ice cream bar, and each girl gets some type of award. They also give their moms a rose and a thank-you card for all that they do during the season."
—Amelia Burkey, Positive Image Dance Studio, Genoa, Ohio

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Scott Robbins, Courtesy IABD

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