Budgeting for Guest Choreographers

Q:  I want to bring in a guest choreographer to work with my competitive team, but my budget is limited. How much will it cost, and do you have any money-saving tips?

A: Rates for guest artists depend on their experience, time spent with your students, and the number of dancers in the routine. There’s no official figure, though a professional choreographer who’s working in TV, film or onstage will charge more than an up-and-comer. Usually it’s a flat fee per dancer or routine, but don’t forget to factor in airfare, meal expenses, hotel accommodations and often an agent’s fee.

Though it may cut costs, I never house guest artists in my home. Choreographers need privacy and downtime away from the studio. Always pay for a guest teacher’s stay in a clean, convenient hotel, and book early to get a reasonable rate.

Choreographers or professors from nearby college dance departments are also great resources for your students, and if they live close to your studio, you may only have to cover travel expenses.

At my studio, the dancers in the routine cover all guest artist fees and accommodations. I charge roughly $250–$300 per dancer for a small group routine, and up to $500–$750 for a solo. Choreographers will often teach a master class at your studio to get a sense of your students’ level and style—opening this class to other studios can help offset the fees for your dancers.

It’s expensive to work with guest choreographers, but it can definitely enhance your competitive team. It’s a great opportunity for dancers to grow as artists and work on picking up an unfamiliar choreographer’s style. Remind parents that it’s an important part to their child’s dance training to prepare them for professional life.

Joanne Chapman is the owner of the award-winning Joanne Chapman School of Dance in Brampton, Ontario.

Photo courtesy of Dance Teacher Summit

Teachers Trending
Alwin Courcy, courtesy Ballet des Amériques

Carole Alexis has been enduring the life-altering after-effects of COVID-19 since April 2020. For months on end, the Ballet des Amériques director struggled with fevers, tingling, dizziness and fatigue. Strange bruising showed up on her skin, along with the return of her (long dormant) asthma, plus word loss and stuttering.

"For three days I would experience relief from the fever—then, boom—it would come back worse than before," Alexis says. "I would go into a room and not know why I was there." Despite the remission of some symptoms, the fatigue and other debilitating side effects have endured to this day. Alexis is part of a tens-of-thousands-member club nobody wants to be part of—she is a COVID-19 long-hauler.

Keep reading... Show less
Teachers Trending

Annika Abel Photography, courtesy Griffith

When the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis last May catalyzed nationwide protests against systemic racism, the tap community resumed longstanding conversations about teaching a Black art form in the era of Black Lives Matter. As these dialogues unfolded on social media, veteran Dorrance Dance member Karida Griffith commented infrequently, finding it difficult to participate in a meaningful way.

"I had a hard time watching people have these conversations without historical context and knowledge," says Griffith, who now resides in her hometown of Portland, Oregon, after many years in New York City. "It was clear that there was so much information missing."

For example, she observed people discussing tap while demonstrating ignorance about Black culture. Or, posts that tried to impose upon tap the history or aesthetics of European dance forms.

Keep reading... Show less
Studio Owners
Courtesy Tonawanda Dance Arts

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.

The keys to profitable summer programming? Figuring out what type of structure will appeal most to your studio clientele, keeping start-up costs low—and, ideally, converting new summer students into new year-round students.

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.