The start of a new calendar year—smack dab in the middle of the studio year—often brings its own challenges, issues and focuses. Here are two big questions on the minds of studio-business leaders as they head into 2019.
Are we giving our students what they really need? After taking some senior dancers to college dance auditions, Dale Lam noticed how they struggled with the modern portion. "They did fine in ballet," she says, "but then when it came to the modern part, they were fish out of water." Her approach Lam hired a modern teacher for Horton and Graham techniques at her South Carolina–based studio, Columbia City Jazz Dance School & Company. She could see the difference in her dancers after only a few months. "I feel like I'm actually getting them more of what they're going to need—providing them the education they'll need after competitions."
What to do about the demand for instant gratification? Suzanne Blake Gerety and Kathy Blake have noticed a disturbing trend with parents new to dance at their Amherst, New Hampshire, studio. Gerety calls it push-button mentality: "They think, 'If I can get Amazon to ship my package overnight, why can't I get my kid to take class just once a week and get them on pointe?'" Their approach "It's communicating to parents how it works at our studio, how you progress here and what the benefits of dance are," she says. They hold informational sessions at parent nights, including details of intensive and competition track options. They also invite alumni to help run recitals and assist with summer intensives as a way to demonstrate what studio graduates look like.
The holidays can make this time of year fly by. But successful studio directors know that December is not the time to rest on their laurels. Here are four projects to consider this month to give your business a year-end boost.
Our Dance Teacher Summit in New York City was an inspiring three days of technique classes, seminars and networking with incredible educators! Our favorite part is always the evening of the Capezio A.C.E. Awards Competition, when we present the Dance Teacher Awards. This year's awardees included Julie Kent, Djana Bell, Rhonda Miller, Sue Samuels and Stephanie Kersten.
Check out the winning Capezio A.C.E. Awards' winning number, Not for Picking, choreographed by Mary Grace McNally, below.