Studio Owners
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Costumes are one of the most important parts of your annual recital and competition routines, yet the process of choosing what your dancers will wear, measuring them accurately and ordering your selections can be fraught with second-guessing. We compiled your questions and asked the experts—the costume companies, that is—for their frank advice and guidance.

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Dance Teacher Tips
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A: For those with more music training or tech savviness, I recommend using Apple's GarageBand. For anyone who's not quite ready to create a song from scratch, I recommend trying a program called Incredibox

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A: Studio owners need to shift their mind-set around pricing for costumes. There is a difference between covering costs and netting a profit.

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Studio Owners
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As much as we wish otherwise, bullying is something all dance teachers have to deal with at some point in their career. Unfortunately, it just seems to come with the growing pains of aspiring artists (sigh 🙄).

Because it's such a tricky thing to manage, we reached out to dance teachers on Facebook to see how they choose to handle unkindness at their studios.

Check out what these three teachers had to say, and let us know the things you do at your studio to stop bullying in our comments!

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Studio Owners
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Cary-Grove Performing Arts Centre co-owner Amy Krigas instituted a pointsbased loyalty program when she opened her Cary, Illinois, studio 20 years ago. "I don't give scholarships to boys for free. I don't give sibling or multiclass discounts," she says.

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Studio Owners

Generally speaking, studio owners are artistic geniuses. You people know your stuff when it comes to quality training, correct technique, effective teaching styles, healthy parent relations, current movement trends, best business practices and so much more.

But when it comes to the minute legal details that come with opening and running a studio, there tend to be a few important tips and tricks that many aren't aware of.

To keep you as informed and prepared as possible, we spoke to lawyer and dance enthusiast Sean Monson. He works at a firm in Salt Lake City, Parsons Behle and Latimer, and is the husband of renowned studio owner Jana Monson, of Creative Arts Academy in Bountiful, Utah.

Whether you're a longtime studio owner or just getting started, check out these best practices to make sure you stay on top of potential legal headaches in the future.

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Studio Owners
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Offering discounts at your studio—for families with multiple children taking class, for a dancer who takes multiple classes, for paying a year's tuition up front—can become a slippery slope for an owner. CPA Sean Dever, who also does studio-bookkeeping consulting work, likes to remind his clients that discounts aren't nearly as common in other businesses. "Say you and a group went to dinner tonight—you bought five meals. Did the restaurant give you 20 percent off for the second and third meal? How much does the Holiday Inn discount for staying a second night or bringing a second guest?" he asks. "Everything we buy as consumers is never discounted, yet studio owners all feel the need to discount. Chances are, you're discounting way more than you're actually making."

Discounting doesn't need to be a one-up from the studio down the street. Nor should it be a guessing game or a complex mathematical formula. Here's how you can determine, set and offer discounts that make sense, without ending up in the red.

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Studio Owners
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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.

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Studio Owners
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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.

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Studio Owners
Photo by Erin Baiano

Makeup and hair pro Chuck Jensen offers tips on tasteful glitter makeup, false eyelash application and a dance 'do for short hair.

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Studio Owners

Don't run everything full-out. Danie Beck's competitive dancers mark and space their routines and practice entrances and exits. "They've been dancing those numbers all season at competitions," she says. "But we do have to go through lighting and tech cues with them, since they don't have those in competition."

Give your babies longer tech slots. "Our preschoolers get 25 minutes on the stage during tech, no matter what," says Joe Naftal of Dance Connection in Islip, New York. "We think it's important for them to have that time—then they're much more comfortable onstage during the recital. Fewer will cry or not go on."

Let the cameras snap and videos roll Naftal allows parents to take photos and video during dress rehearsal, when students are in full hair, makeup and costume. (Neither are allowed at the performance.) For optimal digital viewpoints, he reserves the first 10 rows of the audience for parents of whatever number is onstage. "You're going to get a better photo and video during dress rehearsal that way," he says.

QUICK TIPS

  • Students should practice entering and leaving in a blackout.
  • Run your dress rehearsal in the show's order to get the overall timing down pat.
  • If you're designing lighting or sound cues during a dress rehearsal, seat a dependable teacher in the audience to keep an eye on students' spacing, energy, timing and precision.
  • Assign a veteran backstage dresser to keep track and warn you of any surprisingly quick costume changes.


Q: I want to make an opening speech at my recital to encourage studio spirit and pride, since it's definitely lacking at my studio. What can I say without making it sound like a commercial?

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