Studio Owners and Dance Teachers: 7 Ways to Be Back-to-Dance Ready
As fall and the new school year approaches, it’s time to start fresh and come back to the studio feeling rejuvenated and inspired. It’s a great time to set goals for the new year, brainstorm ideas for the upcoming season and find creative ways to keep your students engaged and loving dance! Here are some back-to-dance tips for studio owners and dance teachers.
#1. Switch it up a bit.
Before the new school year begins, find new music for your classes, plan out a new warm-up, choreograph some killer combinations and create recital ideas. “The students will become inspired by your renewed energy,” says Pamela Sorensen, artistic director of The Centre for Dance Artistry in Sparta, New Jersey. “I always enjoy coming back after summer break and giving a fresh new and challenging class, setting the standard for how the year is going to unfold.”
#2. Be patient as students settle into classes.
Students may be coming back from a break from dancing, some may have progressed a lot over the summer, others may be new to the studio, and you’ll find some students will actually have to move to a higher or lower level. Be patient over the first few weeks in the fall, when classes may be fluctuating. You can even consider holding a placement class of ability to evaluate students, suggests Irene Kent, director of Starbound Talent and Consulting.
#3. Offer new incentives.
Build enrollment even in the first couple weeks of the new school year. Offer a discount to students who refer a friend, post flyers or advertise in your local newspaper, or allow students to bring a pal to dance class.
“Offer promotions such as ‘have a friend sign up and get a certain amount of money off’, or ‘like us on Facebook and get a free trial class,’” suggests Carmen Siegel, director of Studio E School of Dance in Queens, New York.
#4. Get organized.
Make sure the new school year begins on a fresh, clean slate. If your studio has a boutique, check that all dancewear and shoes are in stock with all sizes, Siegel advises. Re-stock office supplies, clean up from the summer, and maybe even add a new piece of décor or photo collage from the previous year – something to grab the attention of students and parents.
“Last year, we decorated a large frame with ‘Back to Dance’ and the studio name printed on it,” Siegel says. “Post pictures on social media with some of your students inside the frame.”
#5. Establish dress code.
If your studio has a dress code, be sure it’s clearly stated to both new and returning students. Does each level have a particular leotard color? Do you want contemporary dancers to wear a certain type of shoe? Should all dancers come to class with hair pulled back?
“This is very important not only for the students but for the teachers as well,” says Kent. “It helps to teach respect for oneself, discipline for the art and respect toward the teacher.”
#6. Remember why you do what you do.
You’re a dance teacher or studio owner because you love it. You love inspiring the next generation of dancers and watching them grow and learn. As you go back to dance, remind yourself of this. It’s great to love and enjoy your job, and that energy can become contagious!
#7. Keep the freshness throughout the year.
The new dance year always begins with a bang, but it’s important to keep that fresh energy as the year goes on. “Offer new events throughout the year,” suggests Sorensen. “A new performance opportunity, a master class or educational workshop – even a fun night, such as a movie viewing. Anything to keep the students engaged and wanting to spend time in the studio.”
Guest Contributor: Laura Di Orio of Dance Informa.