The culture of your dance studio should be a major consideration when it comes to hiring new instructors. After all, teaching experience isn't the only thing that matters! You'll also want to make sure an interviewee fits with your overall philosophy when it comes to interacting with students (and parents!) and teaching dance. Here are some great tips that can help you find the right match.
Dance teachers aren't dummies. As in every other industry, the importance of social media for growing a business is not lost on any of us. It's in knowing exactly how to use it effectively that's the challenge. For a group of artists who work within the confines of centuries-old techniques, it's no wonder we start shaking in our boots the second we hear words like "algorithm" and "digital strategy." What's more, the Wild West of Instagram, Twitter and Facebook is constantly changing. How are any of us supposed to feel like we have a handle on things?
Don't worry—we've got you covered. We caught up with an expert, Brigham Young University School of Communications faculty member Adam Durfee. Named Social Media Innovator of the Year for 2019 by The Social Shake-Up conference, he's spilling on the do's and don'ts that will make all the difference in engaging your audience and growing your dance studio business.
Do you have new preschool students enrolling in your upcoming dance year? These tiny dancers just beginning their movement journey are poised to become part of your studio community for the next decade or more.
Keep in mind that dance class may be one of the first times a child under age 5 has been separated from their parents. Dance class can be exciting and full of anxiety for both the parent and the child. As their first teacher, you need to set the stage for an easy, happy and memorable first experience. Here's how—with four studio rules for parents—to create an environment where preschoolers can thrive.
Enrollment is an issue that plagues brand-new and veteran studio owners alike. Without a steady stream of revenue from new students coming through your doors, your studio won't survive—no matter how crisp your dancers' technique is or how well-produced your recitals are.
Enrollment—in biz speak, customer acquisition and retention—depends on your business' investment in marketing. How effectively you get the word out about your studio will directly influence the number of people who register. Successful businesses typically use certain tried-and-true marketing strategies to recruit and retain clients or customers. These four studio owners' tricks for kicking enrollment into high gear are modeled after classic marketing techniques.
Jacki Ford recently wrapped up the first year of her new studio, District Dance NYC, a new dance training program for kids ages 3–10 in the Financial District of Manhattan.
Starting a studio at any location in the country is a major undertaking, but taking it on in New York City contains a whole other level of complexity. We sat down with the former Rockette and Pace faculty member in commercial dance to get the inside scoop on how she's done it, and what her plans are for the future of DiDa NYC.
There are a lot of things to think about when creating your studio space—floors, waiting-room furniture, wall decor, stereos, lighting, and perhaps most overlooked, mirrors. Your dancers will spend most of their time staring at themselves in those bad boys, so you better be sure they're super-awesome!
But where to start? Most of us aren't mirror experts—we're dance experts!
Accountant Jessica Scheitler, founder of Financial Groove, has noticed a recent trend. More and more of her dance-studio-owner clients are being audited because of the way they classify faculty and staff—whether as employees or contractors. "I had four or five audits come in at the same time, all from different states," she says. "That tells me something's going on."
Studio owners tend to first hire faculty as contractors, Scheitler notes, since that's the easiest route. "You cut someone a check, and you don't have to take taxes out," she explains. "But as studios grow, most teachers and staff end up qualifying to be employees in the eyes of the government. And if you're audited and the IRS finds that your staff should be paid as employees, they'll assess back taxes—and interest."
Get Dance Teacher in your inbox
We all know that we need to include agreements in our contracts that address tuition, billing and changing or dropping classes, but what about the nitty-gritty details you may not have considered? You don't want to get caught off-guard by a lawsuit or uncooperative parent simply because you didn't cover your bases.
To help you stay on top of things, here are three important things you should put in your studio contract.
Any savvy studio owner knows that bringing in guest artists is a good idea, whether for a two-hour master class or a weekend spent choreographing recital or competition routines. Your students learn new styles, get exposed to different teaching approaches and have the chance to network with professionals. But it can be a challenge to bring in the guest you want—paying for airfare, lodging, meals, hourly teaching rates, choreography fees—while keeping your bottom line in the black. And you want to keep master class fees reasonable for your dancers. But there are ways to economize, if you're willing to think outside the box.
Rarely does a week in the summer go by without at least one of your classes needing a substitute teacher. Your team of teachers has worked tirelessly all year, and after surviving Nationals (or your studio's big summer intensive) they deserve to take a family vacation or two.
But filling those classes with substitutes can get tricky in the middle of July and August. EVERYONE is going on vacation at this time of year—not just your staff teachers.
To keep you from getting left high and dry this summer, we recommend you beef up that go-to sub list, so that if one teacher can't do it, another one can. No need to cancel class—we've got you covered!
Aerial work is growing in popularity in the dance world these days. Don't believe us? Check out this Dance Magazine article! If you're a studio owner who didn't grow up with aerial training (let's face it, how many of us really did?), then you may be feeling a little apprehensive about what to look for when bringing on a new aerialist faculty member. You know exactly what you want from your ballet teachers, your jazz teachers, your tap teachers, heck—even your tumbling teachers! Aerial, however, is a whole other ballgame.
To help you feel confident you're bringing in a teacher who is safe for your dancers, we sat down with Lani Corson, NYC aerialist, circus performer, adjunct professor at Pace University and teacher at Aerial Arts NYC, to get the inside scoop on exactly what you should be looking for.