Sponsored by A Wish Come True
Courtesy A Wish Come True

With so much else on your plate, from navigating virtual learning to keeping your studio afloat, it can be tempting to to cut corners or to settle for less in order to check "costumes" off of this season's to-do list. Ultimately, though, finding a costume vendor you trust is paramount to keeping your stress levels low and parent satisfaction high, not to mention helping your students look—and feel—their absolute best. Remember: You are the client, and you deserve exceptional service. And costume companies like A Wish Come True are ready to go above and beyond for their customers, but it's important that you know what to ask for. Here are some tips to make sure you are getting the most out of your costume company.

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Sponsored by Harlequin Floors

The current pandemic has studio owners everywhere rethinking business as usual. One dirty little secret that's been exposed? Before COVID-19, many of us weren't giving our floors nearly enough attention. As Derryl Yeager, founder and artistic director of Odyssey Dance Theatre in Draper, UT, says, "A lot of times, the floor wouldn't be deep-cleaned more than once a month—and dance floors can get pretty gross!"

This new era is a perfect opportunity to start taking better care of your studio flooring—which, in turn, will help ensure a healthy, supportive surface for your dancers and teachers. We turned to two studio owners and Harlequin Floors, the global leader in advanced technology dance flooring, for advice on keeping your dance studio floors in top shape this season.

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Sponsored by CLI Studios

In the "new normal" of dance training shaped by the COVID-19 pandemic, one thing has become clear: Having a solid plan for virtual dance instruction is crucial to helping studios stay afloat. Luckily, CLI Studios has been leading the online dance education scene since 2014. And with its Studio Partnership Program, CLI has helped studios nationwide fill in the gaps in their student learning experience, often becoming a lifeline for them during the pandemic.

CLI's Studio Partnership Program, a membership-based online platform, works directly with local studio owners to keep students engaged, teachers inspired, and studios profitable, no matter what pandemic-related restrictions they may be facing. With over 800 recorded dance classes in a range of styles, continuing-education resources for teachers, and live-streaming events for students, the program includes everything dance teachers and studio owners need to create a thriving online curriculum, which opens up time and resources for those same teachers to focus on in-person training.

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Studio Owners
Gina Gibney, at the newly restored expansion of 280 Broadway in lower Manhattan. Photo by Buck Ennis for Crain's NY Business, courtesy Gibney

Gina Gibney is CEO and artistic director of Gibney, a $6 million organization that occupies two locations of prime New York City real estate, with 52,000 square feet, 23 studios and five performance spaces. But when Gibney first founded her company of five dancers in 1991, it operated out of one studio. The story of how everything went wrong that could go wrong, and yet the organization rose to became one of the liveliest dance hubs in the city, is a fascinating example of judicious risk taking. When faced with the choice in 2010 to cut back and play it safe or to take a risk and grow, Gibney took a leap. She did that again in 2013 when she had the opportunity to take over the lease of 280 Broadway in lower Manhattan, now the main location for the Gibney organization.

In August, Gibney joined Dance Teacher editor at large Karen Hildebrand at the Unity 2020 Virtual Leadership Conference to discuss what it takes as a business leader to succeed—particularly in a year like 2020. Here are six takeaways from that event:

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Studio Owners
Megan McCluskey, courtesy Lown

Looking back to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, it's clear that owners rallied admirably to shift in-person offerings to online—with very little time or support, in most cases. At the very least, your studio families have gained confidence in your ability to bounce back from any emergency.

"Our studio has navigated all of this with grit and grace," says Misty Lown, owner of Misty's Dance Unlimited in Onalaska, Wisconsin, and More Than Just Great Dancing!, an affiliation of 250-plus studios. "If they have confidence in the way we handled this, they'll have confidence that we can handle any future challenges."

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