Best Studio Practices: It’s summertime and the living is easy—or is it?

Studio owners and dance teachers have long lamented the summer months as a traditionally slow season. With students leaving town on vacation or for outside training, studios are often faced with less than sunny prospects for revenue and clientele. However, the forecast for your studio need not be bleak: With strategic attention to planning, programming and pricing, summer can offer a great opportunity to grow your business and diversify your offerings.




Smart planning during the school year can alleviate enrollment and financial woes. Try gearing your spring recital to generate enough income to offset any projected summer losses. And this doesn’t just mean ticket sales. What can you sell during the show to earn extra? Flowers or programs are great options. 




Avoid having to pay teachers for too-small classes by cutting down on the number of classes offered. And it may even be best to shut down altogether during the month of June and reopen in July. A June break gives students, families and instructors a chance to recharge and reinvigorate. You can even rent out your studio during this time.


Since advanced students often travel elsewhere for training during the break, you may want to cater your offerings to recreational or younger dancers, groups that may build up your clientele for the fall. On the other hand, added advanced programming may encourage advanced students to stick around. Recruit outside instructors for intensives and consider introducing classes in genres not normally on your schedule, such as tumbling or Irish step dancing.




When setting prices for the summer curriculum, keep in mind that you'll be competing with area day camps, recreational activities and other studios’ programs. Keep it as affordable as possible, and remember to be realistic about the time commitment that students and their families can make during the summer. Offering a range of pricing and scheduling options may attract clients hesitant about buying classes they may not be able to use.


Based on “Strategies for Surviving the Summer” by Jen Jones


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If you're considering starting a summer program this year, you're likely not alone. Summer camp and class options are a tried-and-true method for paying your overhead costs past June—and, done well, could be a vehicle for making up for lost 2020 profits.

Plus, they might take on extra appeal for your studio families this year. Those struggling financially due to the pandemic will be in search of an affordable local programming option rather than an expensive, out-of-town intensive. And with summer travel still likely in question this spring as July and August plans are being made, your studio's local summer training option remains a safe bet.

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