Summer is the Time to Get Ahead

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As dance teachers and studio owners, our summers are much different than the rest of the year. This is a time that we can get ahead, coast, or get behind. Although I am busy in different ways in the summer, I like to take time to get ahead on a few projects over the summer to help make my year more pleasant.

We do not want to just coast through summer and we don’t want to get behind, so getting ahead sounds amazing. You may be wondering what type of projects you could work on, as well as what types of jobs would help kick off your year.

This blog is a continuation from last June, with updated insights and an additional focus on refining our curriculum. Here are a few of the key projects I've been working on that I think would benefit the most:


Any area in your studio that needs to be organized to help you be more efficient is a great place to start. Throughout the year, things get tossed here and there and not always put back where they belong. Summer is a great time to tackle these organizational projects.

I recently organized my “SHOW ROOM” and it feels amazing to have it done. We cleaned out every bin, box, and shelf and organized everything we have for all of our different shows into clear totes and color-coded the labels according to where they go in the space. This took us about four hours, but now everything is all set and ready for a successful season of shows. It will be easy for anyone to locate anything they need for our shows and know exactly where it goes after they use it.

A few other great areas to get organized over the summer are: the preschool prop cabinet, classroom tool shelves, stereo areas, front desk/reception area, and costume ordering area.


I love getting a jump start on projects over the summer too. The first three we jumped on this summer were the Recital playlist for next year, all things Nutcracker, and pre-planning social posts.

For the Recital playlists, we sit and brainstorm all of the songs that go with our theme and make a playlist. From there we narrow it down to what songs fit into each genre and organize the list by genre. This gives us a headstart on the Recital and gets our staff energized and excited about the upcoming season.

For the Nutcracker project, I am setting all of the dates for rehearsals, events, and shows, updating the handbook and forms, creating cast lists, and prepping the lead auditions information. It is great to get a head start on this project. If you don’t have a Nutcracker, you could begin planning your Holiday show.

Pre-planning and scheduling your social posts is another excellent project to get ahead of in the summer. We start with scheduling all the faculty and staff birthday posts, then Holiday closings, followed by fun “Did you know” posts, and culture posts. This is a great project to get done over the summer so you don’t have to worry about doing this during the season. Once you build out your calendar for this, you can also delegate it to someone else. This year we have an alumni student who is home from college creating all of the posts. She knows our studio culture, cares about the studio, and is very creative. This took a load off of our plate and gave her a fun summer project.

Other projects that you could work ahead on are preparing lesson plans, updating your curriculum, planning your marketing campaigns, scheduling social posts, and organizing all of your competitive cast lists and spreadsheets to prepare for when registration opens.

Curriculum Review and Update

Summer is also the perfect time to review and update your curriculum. Pay close attention to notes in your lesson plans about what worked and what didn’t work. Were students learning the skills faster or slower than planned? What skills need to be added, moved to a different time of year, or moved to a different level? Use this time to adjust your curriculum to ensure it meets the needs of your students and enhances their learning experience.

Calendar Planning

One of my favorite plan-ahead activities for the summer is our calendar planning day. We have this in the middle of June. We come together as a team and plan the dates for all of the activities and events at the studio. We have four team leaders and they each come with their dates and ideas, and we put them all on a big wall calendar, in our own planners, and on our Google Calendar. We use a color-coded system for different items on the calendar to help us easily identify what type of event it is.

Once we have all of the dates for the season, we sit down and plan the communication for all of the big events. We talk about how we are going to communicate each big event and plan out the dates ahead of time that we need to launch something new or give it hype.

This activity takes us about five hours.

There are many other things you can get ahead of in the summer. Get creative and schedule in some “get ahead” time for yourself. You will be happy you did.

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Pam Simpson is the founder, president, and driving force behind Forte Arts Center, which was established in Morris, Illinois in 1993. In addition to building her business from a small, one room studio to a large, multi-location organization that offers dance, tumbling and cheer programs as well as private music lessons, Pam is a leading force in the realm of small business ownership in the dance and tumbling industries as she travels all over the country speaking to and educating for large organizations such as Rhee Gold Company, Dance Teacher Summit, and More Than Just Great Dancing. When not working on her businesses, Pam enjoys spending time with her family and visiting her daughter, who is a performer at Walt Disney World.

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