I would like to focus more on the business side of my studio. Will parents and students be upset that I'm no longer teaching?

Q: I have been the sole ballet teacher at my studio since we opened five years ago, and I have built a good reputation in my community for my qualifications and teaching style. But we are growing, and I am finding myself being pulled in too many directions. I would like to focus more on the business side of things, but I am worried that parents and students will be upset that I won’t be teaching the open ballet classes anymore. Is this a wise decision? Do you have any suggestions for how I can positively present this change to my students and their families?


A: Because you have built your studio reputation on your expertise, it could be a mistake to abruptly replace yourself in that role. Reducing your teaching and focusing more time on business is best done gradually. Focus on slowly building a team of great teachers who share your standards of excellence and who will inspire your students as you do.


Determine your core strengths and interests, and assess where your time and talent best serve your business. If your passion and talent ultimately lie in artistic direction, you may want to find the right office staff to help you manage the day-to-day business. Then you can still be the manager without having to do each task yourself.


However, as your studio and faculty continue to expand, the demands of overall studio ownership will inevitably take more of your time and focus. As with any new change, introduce the transition as an exciting improvement that will benefit students and parents. For example, share the positive advantages of learning from a diverse faculty. They will trust your judgment and commitment to providing quality dance education. Your leadership will be appreciated and become the essence of your reputation.


Kathy Blake is the owner of Kathy Blake Dance Studios in Amherst, New Hampshire. She and Suzanne Blake Gerety are the co-founders of DanceStudioOwner.com.


Photo ©iStockphoto.com

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
Dancer Diary
Claire McAdams, courtesy Houston Ballet

Former Houston Ballet dancer Chun Wai Chan has always been destined for New York City Ballet.

While competing at Prix de Lausanne in 2010, he was offered summer program scholarships at both the School of American Ballet and Houston Ballet. However, because two of the competition's winners that year were Houston Ballet's Aaron Sharratt and Liao Xiang, dancers Chan idolized, he turned down SAB. He joined Houston Ballet II in 2010, the main company's corps de ballet in 2012, and was promoted to principal in 2017. Oozing confidence and technical prowess, Chan was a Houston favorite, and even landed himself a spot on Dance Magazine's "25 to Watch."

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.