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Dance Studio Business

Dancewear Store

Dancewear Store?

Dear Rhee, I have owned a school with more than 400 students for 21 years. Until last summer there was a dancewear store about 10 miles away, where my students and those from many area schools purchased their dancewear. For the last few months I have been ordering my students’ shoes and dancewear from various wholesalers, and I have been making a nice profit from these sales. Last week the space next door to my school became available for rent and the landlord offered me a very reasonable rate. The location would be perfect for a dancewear store. I figure…

Making Peace with the Mirror

Making Peace With the Mirror

by Sandi Duncan It’s a new day of classes and you’re ready to share what you know and love. You’ve chosen your music, created your combos, and put on your workout attire. You enter the empty dance space, set up your music, and glance in the mirror. “Whoa! Wait, is that me?” you wonder. “Have I really aged so much overnight? Where did those extra pounds come from?” Dejectedly you push aside the memory of feeling pretty good when you left the house at 8 a.m. No matter how you shift your bangs to cover new wrinkles or tug on…

I Made a Huge Mistake

I Made a Huge Mistake

Hi Rhee, I made a huge mistake and I’m not sure how to get myself out of it. Two years ago I lost the studio manager who had been with me from the time I started my school, 13 years ago. She was a delight to work with and I considered her my partner in crime because she had been through all the ups and downs with me. She was always loyal, and to this day she is one of my best friends. In my search for a new manager, I asked a mother of one of my students to…

Dealing with Doubt

Dealing With Doubt

by Suzanne Martin, PT, DPT Make a positive impression by nurturing a strong self-image Successful teaching demands that the instructor take command of her material and her classroom with authority. This can be tough, especially when you’re just launching a teaching career. Think about when you first started teaching. Did you come roaring out of the gate, full of confidence, or do you still sometimes struggle with doubts about your qualifications, teaching abilities, or leadership qualities? My first experience teaching ballet was as a dance major, in the children’s division. Was I prepared? No. It was trial by fire, with…

Leaps and Bounds Above

Leaps and Bounds Above the Other 4-Year-Olds

by Rhee Gold Hi Rhee, I am a dance teacher/studio owner, and I have come across the most persistent parents I have ever met in all my years of teaching dance (20-plus)—or school, for that matter. (I taught kindergarten for 12 years.) These parents have a daughter who turned 4 last spring. They are angry with me and some of my teachers because I will not allow them to enroll their daughter in the beginning ballet class for 6- to 8-year-olds. My teachers and I have tried to explain that although the child is coordinated for a 4-year-old, she is…

Teacher Talk Parent Teacher Conferences

Teacher Talk: Parent-Teacher Conferences

Parent-Teacher Conferences Q: I’ve always been very open and available to discuss a student’s progress when parents have concerns, and during optional end-of-year conversations. But I have some mothers who request parent conferences every couple of months. I have to spend time not only holding these conferences, but collecting pertinent info from multiple teachers. Should I set some sort of yearly maximum for parent conferences? —Dee Buchanan A: Our policy is that parents must email or phone in their concerns and questions. The director will then decide if a meeting is necessary. Parents cannot request meetings. Before this policy, I…

Financial Whiz Handle the Numbers

Let a Financial Whiz Handle the Numbers

Most studio owners are passionate about dance and teaching, not accounting or financial planning. “The dance side” of the studio, as we are wont to say, is what we love, and live for. “The business side,” however, is what we grudgingly plod through because it allows us to do what we love. From daily accounts receivable and accounts payable, to monthly account reconciliations, to marketing, to data entry, to preparing annual tax returns—the business side requires diligent attention if we want our studios to succeed.

3 Teachers Talk Competition Instagram

3 Teachers Talk “Competition Costs”

Taking students to competitions is an expensive endeavor. Explaining the costs involved to parents is important, and ensuring that parents follow through on their financial commitments can be difficult. Three studio owners devised plans for making the interactions surrounding competition costs as painless as possible, and they might work for you too.

Speaking Truth

Speaking Truth

It is hard to tell a student she is not ready for the next level of study—even harder if I know the student will see that her peers are advancing. But I simply will not promote a student when she is not ready. That would be unethical on my part and dangerous for the student.

The Case of the Disappearing Students

The Case of the Disappearing Students

Through my research with dance school owners, I’ve discovered that it is not uncommon for their businesses to have up to a 30 percent turnover of students from year to year. Looking deeper, I discovered that a large number of that 30 percent are recreational and preschool-age students—which means that not only are school owners losing students; they’re losing the very children who are the financial lifeblood of the school. When those numbers dwindle, the future looks a bit gloomy.

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