Studio Owners

Try These Revenue-Building Tips to Build Your Summer Biz

Summer campers at Center Stage in North Carolina. Photo by Kristi Hedberg, courtesy of Center Stage

Does your studio slow down when the weather warms up? If you don't offer a summer session, June through August can be a cash-flow challenge. One popular—and easy—strategy is to offer weeklong camps instead. We spoke to three professionals to learn how they make summer camp work.


Fair Haven and Rumson, NJ

Vanessa Berry, owner


•Weeklong morning camps that run from 9 am to 12 pm; each week covers a different genre or theme—ballet, princess camp, tap and pointe intensives—to satisfy various age groups and interests.

•One-day (three-hour) workshops arranged by age group or skill level.

•Three-week session of advanced technique clinics in the morning, grouped by level.

•Three evenings a week, the studio remains open for other classes.

Why it works The three-hour, weeklong camps are compatible with families' summer schedules. “I find most swimming or basketball camps run one week, too, so families are comfortable with these schedules," says Berry. “We're in a seaside community—a mom told me she loved that time frame. She could do grocery shopping and then pick up her daughters and go to the beach." The week-at-a-time schedule also allows families to fit classes around their vacation trips.

Flexibility is what makes the summer work: It extends to the mix of classes and rules for enrollment. Each of Berry's two locations has multiple rooms, so any given morning, multiple camps for different age groups can go full-swing. Registration runs from February 1 until the day before camp. “The most intense time for signing up is April," says Berry. “But if we have room, we'll accept students the morning of the first class."

Staffing Since teachers' employment remains constant yet flexible, with summer hours, they are happy and loyal. “All of our staff remains busy, with 50 to 60 kids at the studio each day," says Berry. As enrollment grows, she brings in teaching assistants and junior students.

Benefit for students “We had our biggest summer ever this year because we targeted programming to what parents want," says Berry, who opened up the 9 am to 12 pm schedule to the senior dancers in the form of advanced technique clinics. “Everyone kept up their skills," she says. “In fact, they gained. If I have them for three solid hours for five days, that's 15 weeks of a regular class. They learn so much when they have that concentrated time."

Business boost The morning schedule brought new students to the studio, including kids visiting relatives. “We now have people who return each summer just for the class," says Berry.

Rhythm Dance Center in Georgia offers "TWIRL Dance and Play Parties." Photo courtesy of Rhythm Dance Center


Marietta, GA

Becca Moore and Dani Rosenberg, owners


•Weekly themed play parties for youngsters

•Open classes geared toward intermediate and advanced dancers. Genres—ballet, tap, conditioning, Pilates, musical theater—change from week to week. “We may post some social media and send a mass e-mail to current students," says Rosenberg. “Some classes have eight students and some have 48. We do this twice a week and avoid holiday weeks." Students can pay by class ($12.50) or buy a class card and get a discount: five classes for $50, 10 for $90.

•Diehard Dancer Incentive: Any student who takes 20 open classes over the summer receives a T-shirt, a shout-out on social media and a free class with a guest teacher of their choice during the year. “They're getting better as dancers," says Rosenberg.

Why it works The weekly change of genres for open classes means many students end up taking more than one class. Play-party themes—usually based on children's characters, like Disney princesses—also change each week, encouraging more repeat business. “The key is changing it up every week so kids get to try new things," says Rosenberg. “We publish themes ahead of time and don't require preregistration for parties—they can show up and pay the day of. It's a great time to try different styles before they commit to a class for the season."

Staffing “I try to offer teachers two classes so they aren't driving to the studio for just one class," says Rosenberg. Teachers who work a special event, like a party, get a flat fee. High school–age assistants receive credit toward their tuition or competition team account.

Benefit for students The studio offers half-off summer class registration for new and returning students if they sign up by a certain date. Because requirements for themed parties are minimal—little ones can wear sneakers or socks, no dance shoes required—registration is high.

Business boost “We know our party themes and schedule in February," says Rosenberg. “The kids see it and immediately want to preregister, which gives a kick-start to summer cash flow. When they see how fun it is, they often end up registering for fall classes."


Asheville, NC

Michele Lee, owner


•One-week summer camp themes on popular books, movies and children's shows that will appeal to age groups 6 and under and 7 and up. Daily activities include crafts, dress-up, structured play and basic dance class. Each camp has plenty of variety to keep little ones engaged, including a photo shoot on Wednesday, water day on Thursday and an informal show for friends and family on Friday.

•Technique classes for elementary, middle and high school students to maintain and improve their skills over the summer. These classes vary in length depending on age: For ages 12 and up, they run for six weeks and include ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, acro and contemporary. Students ages 9 to 12 are offered five weeks of class in all the same genres. And 5- to 8-year-olds participate in a four-week program.

Why it works “Camps help market the studio to potential clients who may have little or no dance experience," says Lee. A flexible payment system entices students who may not otherwise be able to commit to technique classes. “We offer a full pass for all classes, or students may pay a drop-in fee. The full pass offers a significant discount."

Staffing Faculty earn their regular hourly rate for technique classes. Theme camp instructors get a weekly rate.

Benefits for students Campers receive a keepsake T-shirt and photo at Center Stage, along with daily take-home crafts. “We have several little ones who attend multiple theme camps over the summer," says Lee.

Business boost Reducing office hours during the summer months cuts down the operating budget—savings that pay for the studio to remain open and keep faculty working.

The Conversation
Dance Teachers Trending
Photo courtesy of Hightower

The beloved "So You Think You Can Dance" alum and former Emmy-nominated "Dancing with the Stars" pro Chelsie Hightower discovered her passion for ballroom at a young age. She showed a natural ability for the Latin style, but she mastered the necessary versatility by studying jazz, ballet and other forms of dance. "Every style of dance builds on each other," she says, "and the more music you're exposed to, the more your rhythm and coordination is built."

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored by Harlequin Floors
Burklyn Ballet, Courtesy Harlequin

Whether you're putting on a pair of pointe shoes, buckling your ballroom stilettos or lacing up your favorite high tops, the floor you're on can make or break your dancing. But with issues like sticking or slipping and a variety of frictions suitable to different dance steps and styles, it can be confusing to know which floor will work best for you.

No matter what your needs are, Harlequin Floors has your back, or rather, your feet. With 11 different marley vinyl floors available in a range of colors, Harlequin has options for every setting and dance style. We rounded up six of their most popular and versatile floors:

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer Health
Adequate dorsiflexion mobility is needed to find a supple demi-plié needed to bound into the air and land safely. Getty Images

Dancers are trained to think often about the range of motion, stability and power of their extended lines: the point of the foot, the reach of the penché, the explosion of the sauté in the air. But finding that same mix of flexibility and strength in the flexed foot is just as integral to technique and injury prevention. Without adequate dorsiflexion mobility, it is nearly impossible to find the kind of supple demi-plié needed to bound into the air and land safely.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored by Insure Fitness
AdobeStock, Courtesy Insure Fitness Group

As a teacher at a studio, you've more than likely developed long-lasting relationships with some of your students and parents. The idea that you could be sued by one of them might seem impossible to imagine, but Insure Fitness Group's Gianna Michalsen warns against relaxing into that mindset. "People say, 'Why do I need insurance? I've been working with these people for 10 years—we're friends,'" she says. "But no one ever takes into account how bad an injury can be. Despite how good your relationship is, people will sue you because of the toll an injury takes on their life."

You'll benefit most from an insurance policy that caters to the specifics of teaching dance at one or several studios. Here's what to look for:

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Teachers Trending
Photo by The Fleet, courtesy of Lion's Jaw Festival

Growing up in New Jersey, Lisa Race trained with a memorable dance teacher: Fred Kelly, the younger brother of famous tapper Gene. "Fred would introduce our recitals," she says. "He would always cartwheel down the stairs." It wasn't until years later, when Race was pursuing her master's degree and chose to write a research paper on Kelly, that she realized there was a clear connection between her own movement style—improvisational and floor-based—and his. "In this television clip I watched, Fred jumps up to the piano, then jumps off it—he's going up and down and around," she says. "I thought, 'Oh, wow, all this time, I've thought of my dancing as my own, but that's where it started!' Moving upside-down and into the floor. There's a thread there. I rerouted it in different ways, but there's a connection."

Now, as a professor at Connecticut College, she concentrates on how to introduce her students to that love and freedom of upside-down work—and how to best prepare them for life after graduation, no matter what dance path they take.

Keep reading... Show less
Studio Success with Just for Kix
Bill Johnson, Courtesy Just for Kix

Running a dance studio is a feat in itself. But adding a competition team into the mix brings a whole new set of challenges. Not only are you focusing on giving your dancers the best training possible, but you're navigating the fast-paced competition and convention circuit. Winning is one goal, but you also want to create an environment that's fun, educational and inspiring for young artists. We asked Cindy Clough, executive director of Just For Kix and a studio owner with over 40 years of experience, for her advice on building a healthy dance team culture:

Keep reading... Show less
Studio Owners
Getty Images

It's summertime, which means we're all starting to feel HOT! HOT! HOT!

While a warm room is certainly better than a cold room when it comes to dancing, you don't want your students to get heat stroke at your studio. To help you survive this sweaty time of year, here are tips and tricks that will keep your classrooms comfortable for an excellent class.


Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored by World Class Vacations
David Galindo Photography

New York City is a dream destination for many dancers. However aspiring Broadway stars don't have to wait until they're pros to experience all the city has to offer. With Dance the World Broadway, students can get a taste of the Big Apple—plus hone their dance skills and make lasting memories.

Here's why Dance the World Broadway is the best way for students to experience NYC:

Keep reading... Show less
Studio Owners
Getty Images

If you're not prepared, studio picture day can be a real headache. But, if done right, it can provide you with gorgeous photos that will make your students and parents happy, while simultaneously providing you with marketing content you will be able to use for years to come.

Here are five tips that will help you pull off the day without a hitch.

Keep reading... Show less
Just for fun
Via YouTube

In its 14 years of existence, YouTube has been home to a world of competition dance videos that we have all consumed with heedless pleasure. Every battement, pirouette and trendy move has been archived somewhere, and we are all very thankful.

We decided it was time DT did a deep dive through those years of footage to show you the evolution of competition dance since the early days of YouTube.

From 2005 to 2019, styles have shifted a whole lot. Check them out, and let us know over on our Facebook page what you think the biggest differences are!


Keep reading... Show less
Dance Teacher Tips
Photo courtesy of Koelliker

Sick of doing the same old stuff in technique class? Needing some across-the-floor combo inspiration? We caught up with three teachers from different areas of the country to bring you some of their favorite material for their day-to-day classes.

You're welcome!

Keep reading... Show less


Get DanceTeacher in your inbox