Help! I'm a Studio Owner Who Can't Delegate


Q: After running my studio six days a week for 20 years, it's time for me to delegate. How can I transition into a shared-workload system with my teachers?

A: Start by assessing which areas of your business you provide the greatest skill and value to—teaching, choreographing, studio outreach, parent relations—and then continue doing these tasks. From there, take time to identify your staff's skill sets and interests. For example, your office manager may be great at posting tuition payments, but someone else may be better at creating e-mail newsletter content or handling parent concerns.

We recommend you start small and first delegate low-skill tasks such as filing papers, organizing and cleaning. Then you can train teachers for the bigger roles. At our studio, for instance, our office manager creates the class schedules and annual calendar and does the billing. We also have a dance-team manager/studio assistant director who manages much of the day-to-day communication with students, oversees artistic direction and interacts with parents over any concerns.

You will be most effective with your team when you are clear about dates and deadlines related to all projects and tasks. Consider using a project management tool such as Asana, Slack or Basecamp to track and organize your internal projects. It's useful to provide a set of instructions or checklist for what is to be accomplished daily, weekly and monthly. It will take some time to set it up, but having this information in writing will make your expectations easy to follow and track.

Have regular meetings to get status updates. You can even meet virtually by using a Google hangouts or a Facebook Live video hosted in a private group.

Clockwise from top left: Courtesy Ford Foundation; Christian Peacock; Nathan James, Courtesy Gibson; David Gonsier, courtesy Marshall; Bill Zemanek, courtesy King; Josefina Santos, courtesy Brown; Jayme Thornton; Ian Douglas, courtesy American Realness

Since 1954, the Dance Magazine Awards have celebrated the living legends of our field—from Martha Graham to Misty Copeland to Alvin Ailey to Gene Kelly.

This year is no different. But for the first time ever, the Dance Magazine Awards will be presented virtually—which is good news for aspiring dancers (and their teachers!) everywhere. (Plus, there's a special student rate of $25.)

The Dance Magazine Awards aren't just a celebration of the people who shape the dance field—they're a unique educational opportunity and a chance for dancers to see their idols up close.

Keep reading... Show less
Leap! Executive Director Drew Vamosi (Courtesy Leap!)

Since its inaugural season in 2012, Leap! National Dance Competition has been all about the little things.

"I wanted to have a 'boutique' competition. One where we went out to only one city every weekend, so I could be there myself, and we could really get to know the teachers and watch their kids progress from year to year," says Leap! executive director Drew Vamosi. According to Vamosi, thoughtful details make all the difference, especially during a global pandemic that's thrown many dancers' typical comp-season schedules for a loop. That's why Leap! prides itself on features like its professional-quality set design, as well as its one-of-a-kind leaping competition, where dancers can show off their best tricks for special cash and merchandise prizes.

Keep reading... Show less
Health & Body
Getty Images

The term "body shaming" might bring up memories of that instructor from your own training who made critical remarks about—or even poked and prodded—dancers' bodies.

Thankfully, we're (mostly) past the days when authority figures felt free to openly mock a dancer's appearance. But body shaming remains a toxic presence in the studio, says Dr. Nadine Kaslow, psychologist for Atlanta Ballet: "It's just more hidden and more subtle." Here's how to make sure your teaching isn't part of the problem.

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.