Should I post my schedule online?

Q: I’m very paranoid about posting my schedule online. I’m a new studio, and the only studio out of four in the area that has a website. It has been the best business decision I made (people now request information and ask to be added to the mailing list), but every time I offer something new, another studio does it, too. I have adult classes, now they have adult classes. I have the only musical theater program, now one of the other studios is trying to start one, too. The list goes on, and I know it’s only right they compete against me, but how do you handle it when a studio copies your information?

 

A: Business is and always will be competitive. To stay ahead in this industry, which requires creativity and business savvy, you have to consistently innovate, reinvent and stay informed on relevant resources and trends. Consider it desirable that you are the pace-setter. And know that, while a competitor may copy your business or marketing strategies, they cannot duplicate your teaching style, personality and manner of doing business.

 

Many prospective parents or students will not trust or have confidence in a dance studio that does not make information readily available. Being progressive and professional in all business practices is the foundation for success, especially now, when instant access to information is expected. A current website with informative class descriptions, up-to-date schedules, tuition information and news invites people to register and make referrals to their friends.

 

People will always have choices. What will bring them to your studio and have it grow stems from the quality of your programs and what you do to make it a great experience.

 

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

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.

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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."

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Mary Mallaney/USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance, courtesy Osato

In most classes, dancers are encouraged to count the music, and dance with it—emphasizing accents and letting the rhythm of a song guide them.

But Marissa Osato likes to give her students an unexpected challenge: to resist hitting the beats.

In her contemporary class at EDGE Performing Arts Center in Los Angeles (which is now closed, until they find a new space), she would often play heavy trap music. She'd encourage her students to find the contrast by moving in slow, fluid, circular patterns, daring them to explore the unobvious interpretation of the steady rhythms.

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