Q: Should we keep our tap program next year? We only have a handful of interested students.
A: One way to increase tap enrollment is to offer it as part of your combination classes, instead of as a tap-only class. Young children want classes to be fun and full of variety. We've grown our program by introducing tap into combination classes for ages 3 to 8 (tap and ballet, tap and jazz, tap and hip hop).
After age 8, we offer tap-only classes for interested students. Placement is based on ability rather than age level, which allows you to open up the class to a broader age range. Our youngest competitive team (ages 5 to 6) typically competes in tap in their first season, and that makes parents and dancers see that tap matters.
Keep your teachers inspired, too. Sometimes a tap program suffers if the teachers aren't getting the professional development and support they need. Look for tap festivals for them to attend, and encourage them to go online to learn new combinations and teaching tips.
While it's important to make changes in class offerings to meet the demands of students, this is a prime opportunity to bring tap back into your studio culture and generate enthusiasm around the style. It may take a few years, but your tap program is worth investing in.
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.