Fundraising for your studio—whether it's to raise money for your competition team dancers, fund a much-needed renovation or offer a family in need a scholarship—can feel like pulling teeth. You've done the bake sales, the car washes, the candy bars. Why not try something new? These four owners stepped up their fundraising game with fresh, fun and, most importantly, profitable ideas.


1. Get Your Glitter On

Photo courtesy of Dance Workshop

When looking for ways to raise funds for her competition team members, Dance Workshop (Performing Arts & Zumba Studio) owner Tara Gardner was in luck. One comp parent, a professional photographer, offered to take photos of kids at their own private glitter party. Parents could pay a flat fee for a 10-minute session and receive five digital, edited photos of their children blowing, tossing or raining down glitter.

Gardner put herself in charge of promoting the event (she created a Facebook event page and opened it up to the public) and gave other comp parents assignments, like scheduling each shoot, collecting payment, assisting the photographer, cleaning up the glitter and working shifts throughout the one-day event.

Costs and materials Glitter; studio space for the shoot; Gardner also provided lunch for the photographer.

Fees $45 for 10-minute sessions

Net proceeds $1,422 in six hours/$158 for each competition team dancer

Word to the wise Gardner opened up the photography sessions to nonstudio kids in her town of Greencastle, Indiana, to reach a bigger pool of customers. “We had them done in time for Valentine's Day—they make great gifts," she says.

2. Adult Arts and Crafts

Photo courtesy of Hailey Doyle

Taking advantage of a recent trend, Hailey Doyle organized a Paint Nite last fall for adults. She contacted a local organizer in Sacramento, and the company set up everything day-of—she only needed to provide tables and chairs. She sold tickets that could be used to purchase beer and wine, plus desserts (provided by her comp team parents) and held a raffle for gift baskets she and parents put together. Local businesses donated items for the baskets—a kitchen-themed basket included a crockpot, cookbooks and cooking utensils. She assembled a studio basket, with an Elevate Dance Center T-shirt and tank top and two tickets to an upcoming show.

The paint night company required a minimum of 35 attendees, so promotion was key. She posted on the Facebook page of her studio, Elevate Dance Center, and handed out flyers for her students to take home. The evening was so successful and easy to pull off that she's planning to do another one this fall.

Costs and materials $30 per person to professional organizer; beer and wine; gift baskets to raffle off; tables and chairs

Fees $45 per ticket; $1 per raffle ticket or six tickets for $5

Net proceeds $1,280 in one night/$43 for each dancer

Word to the wise “I was nervous about selling alcohol, so I talked to some business owners who I knew did a wine-and-yoga night once a month," says Doyle. “As long as it's something you're doing in your venue, you're not advertising that there will be wine and beer, and your guests are 21—we advertised that the event was 21-and-over—it's fine."

3. Babysitting Gone Wild

Photo courtesy of Stephanie Rusinko

When Char-Mar School of Dance owner Stephanie Rusinko needed money to renovate her Lake Park, Florida, studio, she thought back to her money-making standby as a teenager: babysitting. Her first large-scale babysitting event was called “Drop and Shop": During Christmas vacation, she offered moms the chance to get some holiday shopping done, sans kids. When that went over well, she planned another—this time providing pizza, ice cream, movies to watch and dance games to play. “It was like a giant slumber party where no one sleeps over," says Rusinko. “We played old recital tapes. We got glow sticks from the dollar store, turned off all the lights and had music going for a 20-minute dance party." For the last hour and a half of the five-hour stretch, she put mats out so the kids could lie down and watch movies. She paid one faculty member a flat fee of $100 and a high school student assistant $50 to help keep an eye on the 40 attendees (ages 3–11).

Rusinko has now held five babysitting events total. “It caught like wildfire," she says. “It's so rare that parents get to go out with other parents without having to find different sitters."

Costs and materials Pizza for 40 kids, $110; ice cream, $85; arts and crafts supplies, $31; staff, $150

Fees $40 per child for five hours

Net proceeds $1,224

Word to the wise “It was also a great opportunity for us to meet new kids," says Rusinko. “We invited the kids to bring their friends. We didn't pitch any classes—we just gave them a great, comfortable environment. We wound up with eight new students, including two who'd left our studio because they'd wanted a place closer to home."

4. Ready, Set, Flock

©Thinkstock

Two summers ago, Revolution Arts Center owner Andi Gilbertson directed a particularly profitable fundraiser with her church's youth group: flamingo flocking. People paid to have the front yards of their friends (or enemies) covered in plastic, lawn-decorative flamingos. The more flamingos, the more they paid.

A flocked yard included a sign (“You've been flocked by _____!"), instructions (explaining not to touch the flamingos, because “they bite") and an order form, in case the yard owners wanted to pay to flock someone else's yard. Gilbertson and her team of volunteer flockers would pick up the filled-out order form and check for payment when they returned a few days later to remove the flamingos and place them elsewhere.

Gilbertson says it ended up being a great bonding experience for the kids who participated. “We had three teams of 10—always two adults and the rest kids," she says. “Each team went out one night a week, starting around dusk."

Costs and materials Set of 36 flamingo lawn ornaments ($29.98 for a set of 10 at Home Depot)

Fees To flock someone's yard with 6 flamingos, $12; for 12, $24; 24 or 36 flamingos cost more. People could also pay for “insurance" ($5–$15), guaranteeing that they couldn't be flocked in retaliation for a certain number of days (three days, two weeks or the entire time).

Net proceeds $6,000+, over five weeks of flocking, three nights per week

Word to the wise Deciding in what order to visit houses to be flocked took some strategizing. “I used Google Maps," says Gilbertson, who would group nearby addresses and split her flockers up into teams to visit the maximum number of houses in the minimum amount of time. “And stipulate that you can't flock apartment complexes, because they'll get mad at you!"

The Conversation
Dance Teachers Trending
Photo by spinkickpictures.com, courtesy of Mitchell

"Popular music has an overall energy that lends itself to the street-jazz style," says Derek Mitchell. But over the last eight years or so, the choreographer, who also teaches contemporary, jazz funk and musical theater, has noticed a lack of great musicality and interesting lyrics. As a result, Mitchell's music searches often gravitate toward the classic hits from artists like Prince and Janet Jackson. "Rarely do I hear a new song that makes me go, 'Oh, I want to dance to that!'"

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Teachers Trending
Students in Pulinkala's Cocoon. Photo by Robert Pack, courtesy of Kennesaw State

When Ivan Pulinkala was preparing for his interview at Kennesaw State University to create the school's first dance program, he figured the whole thing would be a lark, at best. After all, the New Delhi–born choreographer had just gotten his green card, which meant he could teach anywhere, and Kennesaw, Georgia (a half-hour outside of Atlanta), wasn't his first choice as a location. But after doing a scan of collegiate dance in Georgia, he began to change his mind. "I thought, 'Wow, if someone starts a big dance program at a public institution, the market's wide open,'" says Pulinkala. "There were some good programs, like Emory University, but they were niche—private and expensive."

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored by Harlequin Floors
Courtesy Harlequin Floors

Just like your car, your studio needs periodic tune-ups to keep it humming along smoothly. If you take the time to address a few small fixes, your business will stand out. And you don't have to break the bank, either—you might be surprised how low-cost, DIY improvements can make a surprising difference.

Keep reading... Show less
To Share With Students
Getty Images

When your students graduate and move to the big city to pursue their dreams, they'll almost immediately discover that there's a void left where your studio once was. Not only will they miss your instruction and daily support, but they'll miss having a physical space to work through challenging movement, polish their technique and improv with no one watching. Help them with their adjustment period by telling them about the studio spaces they can rent out when they need some one-on-one time with the mirror and the music.

Here are five for you to share with them—you're welcome!

Keep reading... Show less
Site Network
Gabriel Figueredo in a variation from Raymonda. VAM Productions, Courtesy YAGP.

This week, more than 1,000 young hopefuls gathered in New York City for the Youth America Grand Prix finals, giving them the chance to compete for scholarships and contracts to some of the world's top ballet schools and companies. Roughly 85 dancers made it to the final round at Lincoln Center's David H. Koch Theater on Wednesday. Today, the 20th anniversary of YAGP came to a close at the competition's awards ceremony. Read on to find out who won!

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer Health
Thinkstock

Q: A student of mine recently got a bad sprained ankle, and it's been weak ever since she returned to class. Are there any exercises you suggest to strengthen it?

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Teacher Tips
Photos by Kyle Froman

A few years ago, Mary Ann Lamb got a phone call from Ann Reinking, who was choreographing a production of The Visit starring Chita Rivera. Lamb was thrilled when Reinking offered her the role of Young Claire without even asking for an audition. "And then she said, 'In the first act, you're going to play Chita Rivera when she's a 17-year-old virgin,'" Lamb says, "and I'm like, 'What am I gonna do? I'm like 50 years old!' I started panicking. My dream was to be in the room with Ann Reinking and Chita Rivera, but I was scared to death I was going to make a fool of myself."

Keep reading... Show less
Dance News
YouTube

"WOD" is back for Season 3, and once again, the internet is loving it! How much do they love it, you ask? Well they've watched many of the dances millions of times, so it's safe to say—A WHOLE LOT! We did some research and discovered which dances have been watched the most since Season 3's premiere, and the results may surprise you.

Here are the top-four most viewed "WOD" videos of the season so far! Let us know your favorite over on our Facebook page!

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Teacher Tips
Thinkstock

Q: As a dance teacher, which products do you prefer, Apple or Google?

Keep reading... Show less
Unsplash

When it comes to running a thriving dance studio, Cindy Clough knows what she's talking about. As executive director of Just For Kix and a studio owner for more than four decades, she's all too aware of the unique challenges the job presents, from teaching to scheduling to managing employees and clients.

Here, Clough shares her best advice for new studio owners, and the answers to some common questions that come up when you're getting started.

Keep reading... Show less
Just for fun
Getty Images

The one thing that can unite all of us on April 15 is the fact that everyone hates doing their taxes. Though they are necessary, they are exhausting and time-consuming, and just plain no fun for anyone!

To help you cope, we've captured what doing taxes feels like through a series of dancer memes.

YOU'RE WELCOME!

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Teachers Trending
Bartlett, front and center, leading a class. Photo by Arthur Fink, courtesy of Bartlett

When Hollis Bartlett began attending NYU's Tisch School of the Arts in 2007, the modern-dance faculty urged students to explore the relationship between composed music and dancing. Coming from a studio that typically used popular tunes or songs with lyrics, rather than scores by Philip Glass or John Cage, Bartlett found this valuable, yet challenging. "Now, as an artist I can fight that rule," says Bartlett, who's danced with Doug Varone and Dancers for seven years.

Keep reading... Show less

mailbox

Get DanceTeacher in your inbox