You've seen the popular internet memes for life hacks—tricks, shortcuts and novelties to increase your productivity and efficiency—so why not try out a few for your studio? With some simple tweaks, you can follow in the footsteps of these savvy owners and save time, money and your sanity.


1. Go Paperless with Your Recital Programs.

Cynthia King was sick of shelling out money to print programs that end up on the theater floor. So instead, in 2013, she came up with a great idea. Now she projects a slide presentation of each piece's title, choreographer and dancers for her eponymous Brooklyn studio's recital. Not only does she save money and paper, she can stave off typical printing mistakes last-minute. “This past year, we had somebody from backstage run up to the sound booth and type in someone's name that was missing during the piece before!" she says. For her next recital, she plans to approach local businesses to place ads that she'll project before the show.


2. Put Your Costume Inventory to Good Use

“We just built a new studio, and the acoustics in the room are really terrible," says Cynthia King, “so I hang old costumes around the room up high on the wall. It helps absorb sound—taking out the reverb, the echo—and decorates the room."


3. Eliminate Cash Exchanges for Incidentals

“I have a few students who never remember to bring water with them, and they're of the age where their parents aren't around to give them a dollar," says Emily Harrington, a teacher at Dance Dreamworks in Kingston, Massachusetts. She used cardstock to create Ballerina Bucks: Parents can purchase a $5 card at any point, valid for five waters or snacks—students carry the card with them and no longer need to have cash on hand.

4. Inspire Reluctant Students with a Special Incentive


If you've noticed that students opt not to continue with dance at a certain age—when they begin high school, for example—consider an old-fashioned bribe to encourage registration for the following fall: Trophies! Recognize dancers for achieving multiple years of dance instruction with trophies, medals or other personalized awards, given out at key age levels. Present the awards at the end of your recital or in a special separate ceremony to give the event extra significance.


5. Boost your studio brand with a photo filter or background.


Becca Moore of Rhythm Dance Center in Marietta, Georgia, makes sure that her studio's social-media posts reflect the brand she's cultivating. Vivid colors, fun patterns, glitter and confetti convey RDC's atmosphere and aesthetic: “We're bright, fun, diverse and a little crazy!" she says. For a quick branding trick, use the same photo filter (via Instagram or another photo-editing app—Moore recommends Rhonna Designs) on every photo you post on social media. Or take a photo of fabric, wrapping paper or even a colorful studio wall to use as an original backdrop. A streamlined and consistent social-media approach goes a long way.

6. Create a Cell Phone Bucket.

After noticing that her students were asking for more frequent bathroom breaks—only to sneak a peek at their cell phones—L.A. Dance studio owner Lauren Delorey instituted a new rule. Upon entering the studio, every dancer must put her mobile device in a big bucket that sits outside Delorey's office. Although she anticipated backlash from students and parents, she reports the opposite: “The parents thought it was the greatest idea," she says. “The kids know when they're here to dance, they're here to dance."


7. Offer Students a Place to Store Their Dancewear In-Studio.

Many of Lauren Delorey's students come straight from the school bus to the studio and forget to pack the correct dress-code attire in the morning. “For ballet, they don't love to wear the pink tights and black leotard," she says. “We had a lot of issues with, 'I forgot my tights.'" Students who take several classes a week, like company dancers, can elect to store multiple sets of their dancewear in bins labeled with their names. Once or twice a week, students take home a set to be washed.

The Conversation
Dance Teachers Trending
Photo courtesy of Hightower

The beloved "So You Think You Can Dance" alum and former Emmy-nominated "Dancing with the Stars" pro Chelsie Hightower discovered her passion for ballroom at a young age. She showed a natural ability for the Latin style, but she mastered the necessary versatility by studying jazz, ballet and other forms of dance. "Every style of dance builds on each other," she says, "and the more music you're exposed to, the more your rhythm and coordination is built."

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored by Harlequin Floors
Burklyn Ballet, Courtesy Harlequin

Whether you're putting on a pair of pointe shoes, buckling your ballroom stilettos or lacing up your favorite high tops, the floor you're on can make or break your dancing. But with issues like sticking or slipping and a variety of frictions suitable to different dance steps and styles, it can be confusing to know which floor will work best for you.

No matter what your needs are, Harlequin Floors has your back, or rather, your feet. With 11 different marley vinyl floors available in a range of colors, Harlequin has options for every setting and dance style. We rounded up six of their most popular and versatile floors:

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Teacher Tips
Photo courtesy of Koelliker

Sick of doing the same old stuff in technique class? Needing some across-the-floor combo inspiration? We caught up with three teachers from different areas of the country to bring you some of their favorite material for their day-to-day classes.

You're welcome!

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored by Insure Fitness
AdobeStock, Courtesy Insure Fitness Group

As a teacher at a studio, you've more than likely developed long-lasting relationships with some of your students and parents. The idea that you could be sued by one of them might seem impossible to imagine, but Insure Fitness Group's Gianna Michalsen warns against relaxing into that mindset. "People say, 'Why do I need insurance? I've been working with these people for 10 years—we're friends,'" she says. "But no one ever takes into account how bad an injury can be. Despite how good your relationship is, people will sue you because of the toll an injury takes on their life."

You'll benefit most from an insurance policy that caters to the specifics of teaching dance at one or several studios. Here's what to look for:

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer Health
Thinkstock

Q: I have a very flexible spine and torso. My teachers tell me to use this flexibility during cambrés and port de bras, but when I do, I feel pain—mostly in my lower back. What should I change so I don't end up with back problems?

Keep reading... Show less
Studio Success with Just for Kix
Bill Johnson, Courtesy Just for Kix

Running a dance studio is a feat in itself. But adding a competition team into the mix brings a whole new set of challenges. Not only are you focusing on giving your dancers the best training possible, but you're navigating the fast-paced competition and convention circuit. Winning is one goal, but you also want to create an environment that's fun, educational and inspiring for young artists. We asked Cindy Clough, executive director of Just For Kix and a studio owner with over 40 years of experience, for her advice on building a healthy dance team culture:

Keep reading... Show less
Studio Owners
Getty Images

If you're a studio owner, the thought of raising your rates most likely makes you cringe. Despite ever-increasing overhead expenses you can't avoid—rent, salaries, insurance—you're probably wary of alienating your customers, losing students or inviting confrontation if you increase the price of your tuition or registration and recital fees. DT spoke with three veteran studio owners who suggest it's time to get past that. Here's how to give your business the revenue boost it needs and the value justification it (and you) deserve.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored by World Class Vacations
David Galindo Photography

New York City is a dream destination for many dancers. However aspiring Broadway stars don't have to wait until they're pros to experience all the city has to offer. With Dance the World Broadway, students can get a taste of the Big Apple—plus hone their dance skills and make lasting memories.

Here's why Dance the World Broadway is the best way for students to experience NYC:

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Teachers Trending
Margie Gillis (left); photo by Kyle Froman

Margie Gillis dances the human experience. Undulating naked in a field of billowing grass in Lessons from Nature 4, or whirling in a sweep of lilac fabric in her signature work Slipstream, her movement is free of flashy technique and tricks, but driven and defined by emotion. "There's a central philosophy in my work about what the experience of being human is," says Gillis, whose movement style is an alchemy of Isadora Duncan's uninhibited self-expression and Paul Taylor's musicality, blended with elements of dance theater into something utterly unique and immediately accessible. "I want an authenticity," she says. "I want to touch my audiences profoundly and deeply."

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Teacher Tips
Getty Images

Teaching arabesque can be a challenge for educators and students alike. Differences in body types, flexibility and strength can leave dancers feeling dejected about the possibility of improving this essential position.

To help each of us in our quest for establishing beautiful arabesques in our students without bringing them to tears, we caught up with University of Utah ballet teacher Jennie Creer-King. After her professional career dancing with Ballet West and Oregon Ballet Theater and her years of teaching at the studio and college levels, she's become a bit of an arabesque expert.

Here she shares five important tips for increasing the height of your students' arabesques.

Keep reading... Show less
Just for fun
Via Instagram

Happy Father's Day to all of the dance dads in the world! Whether you're professional dancers, dance teachers, dance directors or simply just dance supporters, you are a key ingredient to what makes the dance world such a happy, thriving place, and we love you!

To celebrate, here are our four favorite Instagram dance dads. Prepare to say "Awwwwwwwweeeeeee!!!!!!"

You're welcome!

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Teacher Tips
Photo by Jennifer Kleinman, courtesy of Danell Hathaway

It's high school dance concert season, which means a lot of you K–12 teachers are likely feeling a bit overwhelmed. The long nights of editing music, rounding up costumes and printing programs are upon you, and we salute you. You do great work, and if you just hang on a little while longer, you'll be able to bathe in the applause that comes after the final Saturday night curtain.

To give you a bit of inspiration for your upcoming performances, we talked with Olympus High School dance teacher Danell Hathaway, who just wrapped her school's latest dance company concert. The Salt Lake City–based K–12 teacher shares her six pieces of advice for knocking your show out of the park.

Keep reading... Show less

mailbox

Get DanceTeacher in your inbox