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Chasta is the artistic director and owner of Stage Door Dance Productions in Raleigh, North Carolina. She is also the founder of The Dance Exec, a website and organization that provided resources and training for dance studio owners. The resources from The Dance Exec have a new home on the TutuTix blog, giving dance studio owners an even more in-depth library of free tools and information with which to grow their business. Chasta contributes to the TutuTix blog from time to time, offering her perspective as a studio owner (and TutuTix client!).
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Resurrecting Your Recital, Part I: De-Escalation

Girls in tutus backstage

Recitals are back, baby! If you’re like me, you feel nothing but excitement for that familiar dusty, wooden smell of a theater.

Before you jump to the celebration, take some time to think about these five important tips for de-escalating stress and conflict.

1) This isn’t 2019.
Keep in mind this is a different world from 2019. We are still emerging from the pandemic, and people can be overwhelmed and stressed by the emergence of events and expectations. Be gentle with their questions, concerns, and anxieties.

2) Communicate.

Right now, you can’t communicate enough.

  • Create information hubs
  • Take it back to the basics
  • Make it easy to understand
  • Keep the information accessible
  • Make sure you’re hitting communication impressions in a variety of ways (e.g., email, social media, in-person)

3) Set Detailed Expectations.
Whatever you expect of someone right now, you need to communicate it in advance with clear, concrete, and tangible expectations and deadlines. If there are consequences for not complying, provide those details as well. Even if the expectation formerly existed, take time to re-establish these boundaries to avoid confusion and frustration.

4) Take the Lead.
People will follow your energy. If you are frazzled, stressed, and constantly complaining, your community will follow suit. Lead with love, and your community will do the same.

5) Be Present.
Your greatest tool for de-escalation is listening and addressing concerns in a timely manner. Whether involving clients or staff, do not allow your leadership fatigue to default to avoidance. Once you hear about the concerns, you can collaboratively and productively move forward.

Looking for engaging ways to get recitals back up and running? Check out Resurrecting Your Recital Part II: Reviving the Excitement!


Looking for more great ideas from Chasta? Check out the following articles:

Chasta Hamilton is the Founder/CEO of Stage Door Dance Productions in Raleigh, NC, and the Founder/President of the non-profit Girls Geared for Greatness. She authored the best-selling book Trash The Trophies: How to Win Without Losing Your Soul and continued sharing her story in her TEDx talk “You Weren’t Built to Break.” She loves sharing what she’s learned while empowering other studio owners to pursue truth, purpose, and passion in their unique journeys.

Follow Chasta on Instagram at @chastahamilton and connect with her online at www.chastahamilton.com.

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Resurrecting Your Recital, Part II: Reviving the Excitement!

children in tutus dancing on stage

Recitals are back, baby! While you may be bubbling with excitement for show days, others may need a reminder about WHY this is an exciting time.

Here are five ways to build the hype within your community, so everyone can share in the fun and celebration!

1) Make It Educational and Informative.

How can you turn your recital routines into engaging conversation points?

Maybe you’re discussing the music selection, the choreography inspiration, or the rationale behind the theme or choreography concept.

The more you can make the routine experience bigger than the dancers’ time within the studio, the more meaningful students will feel towards their performance.

2) Get the Parents Involved.

The strongest extracurricular programs celebrate the trifecta of parent, participant, and instructor.

To boost parent engagement:

  • Share the music link
  • Share a home practice video
  • Invite them to an in-studio sneak peek prior to the big performance day (this is a great way to distribute key information as well)

3) Keep the Stress to a Minimum.

Has something historically been high stress about your shows (e.g., ticketing, seating, backstage, or merchandise orders)?

Think of ways to make things as easy and fun as possible.

4) Embrace the Theme.

How can you infuse the excitement of the show into your studio’s culture?

  • Decorate the building
  • Discuss the benefits of performance
  • Celebrate the accomplishment!

5) Be Generous with Praise.

We’ve waited a long time for performances to return! Even if there are bumps and hiccups, don’t forget how important it is to spread joy through the process of performing. When dancers feel good about their performance, they’ll want to do it again. This is a win-win for our dance studios!

Looking for ways to keep things cool this recital season? Check out Resurrecting Your Recital Part I: De-Escalation.


Looking for more great ideas from Chasta? Check out the following articles:

Chasta Hamilton is the Owner/Artistic Director of Stage Door Dance Productions in Raleigh, NC, and the Founder/President of the non-profit Girls Geared for Greatness. She authored the best-selling book Trash The Trophies: How to Win Without Losing Your Soul and continued sharing her story in her TEDx talk “You Weren’t Built to Break.” She loves sharing what she’s learned while empowering other studio owners to pursue truth, purpose, and passion in their unique journeys.

Follow Chasta on Instagram at @chastahamilton and connect with her online at www.chastahamilton.com.

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F@!* and Other Four-Letter Words to Remember this Recital Season

Woman with hand covering her mouth

It’s the most wonderfully crazy time of the year: Recital Season! While we may not fully be “post-pandemic,” we are most certainly entering the most normal performance season we’ve had since 2019. Entering this new normal means that we can make adjustments to better serve our shows, our businesses, and our clients. 

And, while you may think these four-letter words are reserved for the shipping delays, the one size of a costume you desperately need but can’t find, the client that asks you in May to remind them of the recital date, or the venue that “forgets” to send the contract, they’re actually four-letter words designed to better serve YOU. 

FREE

Free is a word that needs to be eliminated from your vocabulary.

Free essentially equates to a cost to the company. 

If you added up your giveaways, ranging from complimentary tickets to t-shirts to swag, you’d probably be amazed at the amount of revenue you are missing out on. Just like lines are important on stage, your line items on your expense sheets are of equal importance. Don’t throw away unnecessary dollars!

PACK

Packs are bundles that are inclusive of multiple things: tickets, media, t-shirts, souvenirs, and so on. If you create a recital pack, it is SUPER important to itemize it out and make sure you aren’t tiptoeing into the “free zone.” 

There should still be a solid profit margin. 

COST

If you are selling “at cost,” you are operating at a loss. 

When pricing items, take into consideration the time required to strategize, collect, process, sort, and deliver orders. You should be charging enough to cover that amount of time and still earn a profit.

SELL

Make sure people understand what you’re selling (the recital and all of its components) and why it matters. The year-end performance is a HUGE event that will make a memorable impression on your clients, and you don’t want anyone to feel confused, uninvolved, or excluded. 

Clarify the fees, communicate upcoming happenings and deadlines, show them examples of what they can expect, and generate excitement that will result in people wanting to buy into the experience. 

Your attitude is an incredible sales tool! If you’re stressed, your clients will sense that stress. If you’re excited and sharing the GOOD about the process and all of the things you offer, they’ll get on board, too. 

HELP

Year-end performances are huge undertakings that require an extreme amount of time, preparation, and detailed processes. While you’re busy helping everyone around you, don’t forget to help yourself! 

  1. Don’t wait until the last minute
  2. Put processes in place and delegate 
  3. Surround yourself with great vendors that support you in achieving your goals 

Apply these tips, and you’ll walk away from your performances with only two four-letter words left in your mind: EPIC BOSS


Looking for more great ideas from Chasta? Check out the following articles:

Chasta Hamilton is the Owner/Artistic Director of Stage Door Dance Productions in Raleigh, NC, and the Founder/President of the non-profit Girls Geared for Greatness. She authored the best-selling book Trash The Trophies: How to Win Without Losing Your Soul and continued sharing her story in her TEDx talk “You Weren’t Built to Break.” She loves sharing what she’s learned while empowering other studio owners to pursue truth, purpose, and passion in their unique journeys.

Follow Chasta on Instagram at @chastahamilton and connect with her online at www.chastahamilton.com.

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A State of Grace: Balancing the New Normal

Woman in pink meditating

As we all finish our show seasons, we might have allowed ourselves a second of celebration before the reality of the challenges ahead fully set in.

While we are closing the chapter of the people that stood by us and cheered us on throughout an entire season of the pandemic, we are now facing the next phase of this weird grey space of normalization. 

And, as a business, it is TOUGH. 

If you are feeling tired, burned out, exhausted, or questioning your ability to operate in this environment, you aren’t alone. 

Frustrated woman on computer

 

In addition to recouping a year and a half of lower enrollment numbers and lost revenue, there are also the following internal business hurdles:

At the same time, on the consumer front, we are seeing heightened expectations as clients re-integrate into the extracurricular market. 

There’s also an increasing intensity surrounding the best way to address COVID protocols for children—the primary audience of our target market.  

It’s A LOT. 

Make sure you:

  • Give yourself grace
  • Know that you aren’t alone.
  • Lean into your team. 
  • Vent in safe spaces. 
  • Stay above the anger. 
  • Do wellness and mental health checks. 

Do what YOU need to do for YOU in order to maintain your presence in your business. 


Looking for more great ideas from Chasta? Check out the following articles:

Chasta Hamilton is the Owner/Artistic Director of Stage Door Dance Productions in Raleigh, NC. She authored the best-selling book Trash The Trophies: How to Win Without Losing Your Soul. Later this summer, her TEDx talk “You Weren’t Built to Break” will debut, combining her passion for performance with the necessity of resilience.

To stay connected, follow her on Instagram at @chastahamilton or @stagedoordanceproductions or via her website www.chastahamilton.com. TutuTix Logo
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Ring in that Summer Cha-Ching: Ways to Keep the Revenue Rolling During the “Off Season”

girl dancing in summer

 

The #1 way to generate revenue for your dance studio is to keep as much of your revenue in-house as possible. While summertime is typically known as the “low-revenue season,” it doesn’t have to be that way. 

With a little strategy and planning, you can reap the rewards of an excellent summer session that will likely (1) generate revenue, (2) introduce your programming to a number of new, prospective students, and (3) serve and affirm your current client base. 

 

house with opportunities

 

Below are some DOs and DON’Ts to help you rock your summer months! 

DO:

  • Survey your community to understand their summer interests and needs.
  • Mix up themes and keep the vibe FUN! 
  • Be flexible! Have a flexible make-up/ proration policy for people that may have advance, inflexible travel plans. Clients will appreciate it. 
  • Follow-up with all summer program participants about enrolling for the main dance season.

DON’T:

  • Feel like you have to operate on a similar schedule to your regular season (e.g., close for a vacation week, take a break from weekend classes).
  • Stress about discounts/deals. With it being a recovery season, don’t neglect to focus on your financials.
  • Hesitate to cancel low enrollment programming. Set a required minimum, and if it isn’t met by 30 days out, offer to transfer students into something else (Note: never cancel programming last minute if it risks placing your clients in a bind.) 
  • Wait until the last minute. Summer programming is much more enjoyable with advanced planning, communication, preparation, and strategy.

Looking for more great ideas from Chasta? Check out the following articles:

Chasta Hamilton is the Owner/Artistic Director of Stage Door Dance Productions in Raleigh, NC. She authored the best-selling book Trash The Trophies: How to Win Without Losing Your Soul. Later this spring, her TEDx talk “You Weren’t Built to Break” will debut, combining her passion for performance with the necessity of resilience. 

Follow Chasta on Instagram at @chastahamilton or @stagedoordanceproductions or via her website www.chastahamilton.com.

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Falling ≠ Failure: Three Steps for a Graceful Recovery

dancer in leaves

As dance educators, we know how GOOD it feels when our students persevere. Whether it is the music cutting out during a performance or a brave recovery after an unexpected fall, we champion and encourage their resilience, in rehearsal and in performance. 

In our industry, we’ve surpassed the year benchmark of COVID-19 shutdowns and challenges. As we continue to move into the future, we need to ensure we are championing ourselves and our teams as we continue to make decisions that will determine the future success of our studios. 

STOP MAKING EXCUSES 

During the pandemic, we’ve had a lot of things happen to our industry. In the beginning, it was scary, unsettling, and unknown.  While it can be easy to feel victimized and vulnerable, NOW is the time to take control of your circumstances and set yourself up for future success. 

  • Every day, we gain more knowledge. We have to use it to propel ourselves forward.
  • Keep in mind that the pandemic affected EVERYONE in different ways. Avoid making excuses and be empathetic in hearing others’ stories, as well. 
  • Inventory your systems, protocols, and operations and make sure everything is operating at your expected level of excellence. If you disagree with something or it doesn’t fit or contribute to the growth and development of your business: Change it! 

PICK UP THE PACE 

As things slowly start to normalize, be prepared to pick up the pace. 

  • Because there have been many months of atypical operations, prepare yourself, your team, and your students for the upcoming change of pace. 
  • As we prepare for performances, be prepared to re-educate students, families, and staff on the expectations, especially since there may still be modifications in place. Communication is key. 
  • Do not delay scheduling and enrollment cycles. Be ahead of the game. 

PRACTICE GOOD HABITS 

Over the past year, many people have formed new habits, some good and some bad. Offer training sessions to reinforce positive behavior within your community. 

  • For Goals: Are you ahead, on time, or behind?
  • For Self-Awareness: Are people making positive contributions to getting your studio back on track or are they hindering the pace/ development of the brand? 
  • For Health (Mental & Physical): Are you taking care of your mind and body? How are you supporting your return to performance? 
  • Lead By Example: Let your actions positively motivate your people. 

Keep in mind: the windshield of your car is bigger than the rear window of your car for a reason. Know what is behind you, but keep your focus forward! 

Give yourself grace for the trips and stumbles of the past and invest your energy into doing what we do best: changing children’s lives through dance! 

FALLING DOES NOT EQUAL FAILURE!


Looking for more great ideas from Chasta? Check out the following articles:

Chasta Hamilton is the Owner/Artistic Director of Stage Door Dance Productions in Raleigh, NC. She authored the best-selling book Trash The Trophies: How to Win Without Losing Your Soul. Later this spring, her TEDx talk “You Weren’t Built to Break” will debut, combining her passion for performance with the necessity of resilience. 

Follow Chasta on Instagram at @chastahamilton or @stagedoordanceproductions or via her website www.chastahamilton.com.
 
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Time to Get it Done: Bossing Up and Being Present

Girl in butterfly costume

Happy New Year! 

We are still trucking through the COVID-19 crisis and salvaging our businesses. But we have more knowledge than ever and gain more with each and every day!

It’s 2021, and that means it is time to GET IT DONE. 

One of my favorite quotes is: 

“You can’t talk butterfly language with caterpillar people.”

This year, are you a butterfly, or are you a caterpillar? The choice is in your hands and will be based on the actions you take NOW.

BOSS UP

The days of feeling defeated are over. 

Now is the time to shift frustration, exhaustion, and discontent into strong and effective leadership tactics that will pay off in the long run. What contingencies are you setting in place to make sure your programs generate revenue and run creatively, safely, and in alignment with your brand? 

Have you considered that:

  • Competitions may not happen 
  • Recitals may not happen in their traditional sense 
  • Travel opportunities may have to be postponed
  • Shipping and the supply chain may continue to face delays/disruptions (aka get those costume orders in ASAP!) 

Instead of waiting and watching and having another off-the-rails spring semester, take this into your control, and create opportunities for your clientele to heighten the return on investment of your brand. 

Prioritize YOU and align yourself with third-party vendors that help instead of hurt your cause. 

BE PRESENT

It may be easy to say

  • “I don’t know what’s happening, so I can’t do that.”
  • “This is so out of my control.”
  • “I don’t have the energy to do what I used to do.” 

These are all excuses, and they are excuses that will ultimately hurt your business. 

Leave the excuses in 2020 and start figuring out how you CAN make things happen. 

  • Set the Schedules
  • Use Project Timelines to Keep You On Track 
  • Hit the Deadlines 
  • Apply for the Funding
  • Meet With Your Staff
  • Keep Your Clients Looped In 
  • Build Excitement for The Things That Are Coming

While it may not be identical to the way we’ve formerly operated, it is important to generate a confident, forward motion that embraces the resources and opportunities we have. 

FIND YOUR MOTIVATION

If you’re feeling stuck in a rut, find some sources of inspiration. 

  • Read a book
  • Listen to a podcast
  • Call a studio owner friend
  • Heck, call a non-studio owner friend 
  • Send a survey 
  • Check out a webinar or online symposium 
  • Create a vision/inspo board 
  • Listen to a mood-boosting playlist

You’ve made it this far. 

Don’t stop now! 

Instead, let’s rev it up and work the opportunities in front of us. 

You can do it!  Be a butterfly this year!

 


Looking for more great ideas from Chasta? Check out the following articles:

Chasta Hamilton is the Owner/Artistic Director of Stage Door Dance Productions in Raleigh, NC. She authored the best-selling book Trash The Trophies: How to Win Without Losing Your Soul. Her upcoming seminar on January 17, 2021, Disruption by Design: Meaningful Change to Maximize Impact in Your Dance Studio, is a must-attend for studio owners.

Follow Chasta on Instagram at @chastahamilton or @stagedoordanceproductions or via her website www.chastahamilton.com. TutuTix Logo

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Making the Most of Your Minutes: Planning with Purpose

Daily planner with pens and scarf

We all know the song “Seasons of Love” from the musical RENT. It asks, “How do you measure, measure a year?” If you’re like me, many of my minutes in 2020 were measured through processing, applying, and mitigating public health information, applying for grants and funding, and spinning on the hamster wheel of the global pandemic while keeping my small businesses sustainable (hello, anxiety). 

While a light switch isn’t going to make 2021 this immediate, magic wonderland of yesteryear, it gives us the opportunity to move ahead with insight, focus, and control over how we are spending our time and maximizing our productivity to guarantee our success into the next season and beyond! 

INVENTORY YOUR TIME

We are closing out a year unlike any other. Like Elsa says, “the past is in the past—Let it GOOOOOOOO.” Whether you’re guilty of too much doom scrolling or simply feel paralyzed in the unpredictability of each moment, it is important to know how you are spending your time. 

Time is your most valuable resource. 

This is one of my favorite productivity exercises, which can also be shared with your staff and team. 

  • Pick a day and set up a table in 15-minute increments. 
  • Document the way you spend each 15-minute segment. 
  • Review how you’re spending your time and consider ways you may be misusing your time (aka “trim the fat”). 

MAKE A PLAN

It only takes 21 days to form a habit. Once your time inventory is complete, honestly ask yourself:

  • Is this time well-spent
  • Does this make me feel good
  • Could this be delegated
  • Am I using my time in a way that motivates my personal and professional goal forward? 

For items that need to be extracted from your daily routine, take action (this includes micromanaging, which is easy to revert to during a crisis). Lock your phone in a timed jar, set an intentional schedule for multitasking, and set aside time to make sure you are healthily recharging and energizing. Do what needs to be done to get YOU back on track. 

STICK TO IT 

Frequently revisit the way you are spending your minutes. This way, you’ll make sure you aren’t falling prey to former bad habits. If you find yourself feeling guilty that you’ve missed a journal entry or haven’t read as much as you’d like (I’m talking about myself here), make the moves to get it done. 

  • Write it down: Keep your schedule in a planner, digital or electronic, and track your time. 
  • Have an accountability buddy: Pick a team member or friend to help hold you accountable. 
  • Celebrate: When you successfully acknowledge and make small changes, they can have a huge impact. Acknowledge them! 

Remember, more minutes = more you can accomplish! As you move through 2021, this will be important as we continue to regain momentum and rebuild. 


Looking for more great ideas from Chasta? Check out the following articles:

Chasta Hamilton is the Owner/Artistic Director of Stage Door Dance Productions in Raleigh, NC. She authored the best-selling book Trash The Trophies: How to Win Without Losing Your Soul. Her upcoming seminar on January 17, 2021, Disruption by Design: Meaningful Change to Maximize Impact in Your Dance Studio, is a must-attend for studio owners.

Follow Chasta on Instagram at @chastahamilton or @stagedoordanceproductions or via her website www.chastahamilton.com. TutuTix Logo

Rocking Your Recital Dance Exec TutuTix

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How to Not Get Holi-Dazed: Avoiding Burnout and Maintaining Your Momentum for 2021

woman meditating on yoga mat with dog

It’s the most wonderful time of the year? If you feel like you’re crawling into 2021, you aren’t alone. Crisis leadership is exhausting, and we haven’t had a break since March. With holidays feeling unusual amidst an escalating pandemic, the heaviness may continue to weigh on you during this festive season. Now is the time to take a breath, inventory where you stand, and prepare for the push forward. You’ve made it this far, and you can make it to 2021 and beyond!

TAKE A BREATH

Give yourself space. When the adrenaline and/or fear kicks in, it can be easy to feel reactionary, stressed, angry, out of control, and /or frustrated. Using the tips below, monitor your self-awareness and give yourself permission to breathe.

  • Monitor your health: exercise, stay hydrated, eat healthily, and sleep! 
  • Have non-professional hobbies: find a new project, skill, or activity, and dig in! 
  • Seek inspiration: make sure you aren’t becoming paralyzed to the new reality, seek inspirational sources. 
  • Monitor your time: do you find yourself doomscrolling or plunging into the wasteland of social media? Be mindful of how you’re spending your time. 
  • Reach out: talk to friends, other businesses, and maintain your connections.
  • Self-advocate: skip the gathering, decorate for Christmas early, do whatever you need to do to protect your well-being.

INVENTORY WHERE YOU STAND

Now is a great time to review the months behind us while looking forward to the future. Make sure you aren’t only looking to the immediate future. Continue your long-term strategy, as well. 

  • Continue to mitigate: keep your studios and classrooms as safe as possible through consistent messaging, cohesive leadership, and standardized enforcement. Remind your community that it is a shared responsibility to keep the community safe. 
  • Recognize your accomplishments: celebrate your pivots and recognize the fact that you have worked really hard to get to where you are today. Take a minute to reflect on what worked, what didn’t, and how you can learn/grow from this experience in the future. 
  • Do the numbers: this may feel painful, but it is necessary for your financial planning and projections. What’s your percentage compared to past years? How long can you sustain? 

PREPARE FOR THE PUSH FORWARD

While you may want to stop, don’t. Keep going, keep planning, and keep dreaming. Never lose sight that YOU create and inspire magic! 

  • Create contingencies: There’s no need for surprises or panic-inducing situations at this point. Create contingencies and work smartly, so you do not have to rework strategies or plans. 
  • Think beyond the pandemic: When this subsides, what do you want your business to look like? How will you continue to grow, scale, and serve your community? 
  • Involve others in the conversations: Lean into your team, a mentor, a therapist, and/or a leadership coach to help you navigate the now and the future. 
  • Stay optimistic: optimism isn’t the same as always being positive. Keep your outlook in check and remind yourself that you have the power to influence others.

Looking for more great ideas from Chasta? Check out the following articles:

Chasta Hamilton is the Owner/Artistic Director of Stage Door Dance Productions in Raleigh, NC. She authored the best-selling book Trash The Trophies: How to Win Without Losing Your Soul. To stay connected, follow her on Instagram at @chastahamilton or @stagedoordanceproductions or via her website www.chastahamilton.com. TutuTix Logo

Rocking Your Recital Dance Exec TutuTix

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‘Tis the Season to Rock Additional Revenue

children at holiday party

Whew, what a year it has been! As we cruise into the home stretch of 2020 (cheers!), now is the time to think about safe and seasonal ways to focus on your community and generate some additional revenue for your dance studio biz.

CUSTOM PARTIES & PLAYDATES

This is a great menu item to consider offering to your current clients. If you already have birthday party packages available for booking, consider adding custom parties and playdates themed for the season.If you haven’t added birthday parties to your offerings, consider launching this new revenue source with seasonal highlights.

Seasonal theme ideas are endless, but may include:

  • Tutu Boo
  • Dance-O-Ween
  • Gobble Wobble
  • Friendsgiving
  • Sugar Plum Party
  • A Very Merry Holiday Jam
  • Nites and Lites Hanukkah Party
  • A Royal Christmas Affair
  • New Year’s Eve Disco Party

STUDIO EVENTS

With people traveling less this season, it is the perfect time to focus on bringing joy to your dance community. Have you thought about the following ideas?

  • Trunk or Treat or Fall Fest
  • Nutcracker-Themed Camp or Mini Virtual Performance
  • Drive-Through Lights Display at Your Facility
  • Holiday Morning Mini Camps
  • New Year’s Parties
  • Remote Parent Observation or Parent Participation

Because CDC and state/local protocols must be followed and vary from place to place, plan ahead and communicate any adaptations and safety protocols and expectations in advance.

If your event doesn’t fill up immediately, don’t stress. People are waiting until the last minute to do things right now, and that’s okay! They will appreciate your effort, and in return, you’ll gain: client loyalty/buy-in, marketing exposure/impressions, and the satisfaction of bringing joy to others!

OTHER IDEAS

Now is the time to pull out of all of the stops! After a year of pivots and constant creativity, I know we are all ready for some “downtime”, but don’t lose sight of the momentum your brand has the potential to deliver. This season, people are eager to support local businesses, which includes dance studios! Here are a few additional revenue sources you can consider:

  • Gift Cards
  • Private Lesson Packages
  • Holiday Merchandise Orders
  • Gift Wrapping Drop-Off/ Pick-Up
  • New Dancer Starter Kits (focus on recruiting January enrollment!)

Now’s the time to really get creative and get ready to start strong in 2021. Got any ideas you want to share with us? Send ’em to marketing (at) TutuTix (dot) com and let us know if we can share them in a future post!

Looking for more great ideas from Chasta? Check out the following articles:

Chasta Hamilton is the Owner/Artistic Director of Stage Door Dance Productions in Raleigh, NC. She authored the best-selling book Trash The Trophies: How to Win Without Losing Your Soul. To stay connected, follow her on Instagram at @chastahamilton or @stagedoordanceproductions or via her website www.chastahamilton.com. TutuTix Logo

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Coffee + Creativity: Gratitude Over Grump

Chasta Hamilton explains how to focus on opportunity over obstacles, the importance of leadership, as well as Gratitude Over Grump strategies you can share with your team members, students and families!

 

She’s also creating an amazing companion PDF!

 

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Rocking Your Recital From Now Till Final Curtain

Rocking Your Recital

Recital Season is upon us! For most dance studios, this is “the big game” in our industry. It is an opportunity to build community over a shared interest, celebrate your students’ progress, and impress your clients. There’s no better marketing tool than an efficient, polished, and purposeful recital experience!

In order to make it happen, you have to (1) be prepared in your organization and leadership, (2) you have to communicate expectations and standards in advance, and (3) you have to follow through.

Below are 3 tips that have helped us immensely in curating an amazing Recital Weekend Experience!

THE RECITAL ROOKIE

For many in the dance industry, the concept of a dance recital is second nature. This likely is not the case for the majority of your clients. Often, they are new to the recital experience, or at the very least, they may be new to your studio’s systems and processes.

Your clients are also probably busy and juggling a million things. They may miss an email, feel overwhelmed at the thought of making a bun, or misinterpret the correct way to put on a recital costume. That’s okay!

It is easy to react with frustration, but this season, shift the perspective and approach your clients with empathy and understanding. It will go a long way in building client loyalty!

We’ve helped educate Recital Rookies in the following ways:

  • Chat groups
  • Personal posts that are counterintuitive to your professional/personal brand
  • Language that may seem degrading to another studio or program.

THE DIGITAL EVOLUTION

Outside of the strategies listed above, consider how you can use digital opportunities to create a more interactive, modern experience for your clients.

A few ideas include:

  • Make sure studio sound stations/equipment are appropriate for modern technology
  • Implementing easy ways for families to enroll and pay for programming.
  • Transition from printed program books to digital program books
  • Create marketing materials that showcase well in digital content
  • Revise/ modernize your Recital Photography + Videography Procedure
  • Create a studio-wide motto/hashtag that generates brand consistency between digital and actual platforms

 

Looking for more great ideas on how to Rock Your Dance Recital? Check out the following articles:

 

The Dance Exec Returns: “Expert Advice from Chasta Hamilton” series is brought to you by Stage Door Dance Productions and TutuTix.TutuTix Logo

Rocking Your Recital Dance Exec TutuTix

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The Digital Dilemma in Dance Studios:  Purposeful Boundaries & Opportunities for Engagement

The Digital Dilemma in Dance Studios

With increased consumer engagement rapidly expanding in the digital sphere, how do we create purposeful boundaries and opportunities for engagement in our dance studios? The line between the personal and professional can often be blurry in this sphere, and it’s caused a serious digital dilemma. If we embrace the strategic potential of the platform versus resisting change, it can result in exciting and meaningful growth for our businesses.

THE DIGITAL DILEMMA:

The ability for us to “be connected” all the time is certainly a recognized dilemma in our society. While it is amazing to have the ability to remotely check-in, it is also putting a strain on our mental health and emotional well-being. Purposeful boundaries are necessary in order for us to continue thriving in our businesses, our creativity, and our personal lives.

In the New Year, try the following:

  • Schedule Phone-Free Times Each Day
  • Schedule Email Checkpoints to Refrain from Constantly Refreshing Your Device
  • Make Your Time Spent Online Intentional: Try to Refrain from Mindless Scrolling.
  • Set Boundaries (and Enforce Them) re: Social Media Engagement. Business Questions should be handled via email or through the office.
  • Make Sure You Maintain and Enjoy Non-Digital Activities
  • Keep Dance Classes a Digital Distraction-Free Space (for students + instructors)

 

THE DIGITAL STRATEGY:

 

  • 1-page intro to recital sheet in every student’s digital welcome packet at the start of each season
  • A detailed timeline of when to expect information, including specific dates/times for emails so they can easily search to reference materials
  • The dissemination of information by class, so families are not overwhelmed or confused by too much information at once
  • A digital, all you need to know recital guide for parents and students
  • Recital Q+A Events: In-Person and on Instagram

BUILD THE HYPE 

The recital is something to celebrate, and we plan events to make the experience an inclusive conversation piece in our programming.

While we only work on choreography in classes during the months of March, April, and May, we start promoting the Recital and its surrounding events in January with our Theme + Costume Reveal.

Other ways we hype up the show include:

  • Conversation Components to involve the family outside of the studio. For example, if your show is based around books, create a family reading list. If your show features character concepts, consider age-appropriate worksheets for a series of monthly themes.
  • Shared Choreography Rehearsal Videos so families can rehearse their routine(s) at home. This increases the students’ accountability, involves the parent in the process, and generates respect for the rehearsal process, as well.
  • A Recital Pep Rally featuring photo booths, themed stations, merchandise sales and seminars (how to make a bun, packing your backstage bag, etc.)
  • Complimentary group photos that are taken at dress rehearsal and posted to social media prior to the performance days.
  • Studio Branded step and repeat for use on show days
  • “I Rocked Recital!” Buttons that are distributed to every student prior to the Recital Curtain Call at every performance.

CREATE YOUR RECITAL PLAYBOOK 

In order for your clients to benefit from a smooth and easy recital experience, you have to enter the season calm and in control. The recital is a major undertaking, and with appropriate planning, you’ll be able to enjoy it as much as your students!

  • Set a timeline and stick to it. With our timeline, everything is finished a month prior to the show.
  • Train your staff on the general aesthetic of the show. Every routine and every recital should fit the overall brand of the studio.
  • Implement systems (e.g. hiring a stage manager to deal with the production components)  and/or vendors (like TutuTix!) to make your life easier.
  • Delegate! Everyone should know their role and assignment and expected place/location- from paid studio staff to parent volunteers. Make sure they are trained and prepared for their assignments.
  • Create consistent workflows for check-in, pick-up, stage entrance, stage blocking, and stage exit.
  • Expect the unexpected. With live theatre, everything will not go according to plan. When the unexpected arises, creatively problem solve, stay calm, and keep your focus forward.

Looking for more great ideas to navigate the Digital Dilemma at your studio? Check out the following articles:

The Dance Exec Returns: “Expert Advice from Chasta Hamilton” series is brought to you by Stage Door Dance Productions and TutuTix.

 

Chasta Calhoun's Stage Door Dance Production & TutuTix Series

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How Studio Owners Feel About Dance Competitions

dance survey - How Studio Owners Feel About Dance Competitions

Recently, we did a small dance survey and asked for your thoughts about trends on the competitive circuit. Instead of small concerns or observations, the responses were overall negative and centered around:

  • Inappropriate Costuming & Movement
  • Excessive Tricks
  • Too Many Props
  • An Abundance of Guest Choreographers
  • Lack of Technique
  • Level Confusion/ Inconsistency

As I thought about the feedback from the dance survey and shared it with my friends, it seems that some of these complaints could be improved or solved with greater accountability- on behalf of the studios and the competitions.

Solutions

(1)   Owners, Directors, and Teachers have to set the tone for appropriateness and take accountability for what they choose to put onstage. Is anyone going to argue with wanting to maintain a child’s class and innocence?

These same individuals must also strive to provide their dancers with a solid, technical foundation and artistic, creative, and original choreography. When it comes to levels, they also must be honest in registering their dancers for varying divisions.

(2)   Competitions must stand by their rules and beliefs. If a routine can only have so many tricks in a particular category, it should be upheld. If the competition promotes appropriateness as a value, it should be upheld (even though it can be understandably subjective).

Regardless, in dealing with an unregulated industry (for the studios and competitions), it is important that we all do our part to make it a positive, beneficial experience for all dancers. Ultimately, we all want it be an educational tool that improves our dancing, our industry, and its artistry.

Are you looking for more articles to make this year’s competition season as productive as possible?

Are Dance Competitions Worth It?

Dance Competition Scoring: Giving Good Critiques And Sharing Scores

Kindness at Competition Starts with Your Dance Team

Dance Competition Dates: Developing a Competitive Schedule

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Dance Teachers: Three Quick, Last Minute Convention Supplies

last minute convention supplies feat

We go to great lengths to be as prepared and organized as possible at every single event, but there are a few items we ALWAYS forget for conventions. As you’re packing up, make sure you include these last-minute convention supplies!

Scissors

Every time we arrive at a convention and are distributing wristbands, we always forget to have scissors on hand to cut the extra band. I have scissors in the spare sewing kit, but they will not work on most wristband materials.

Some conventions or competitions give out scissors as part of registration. Ask and see if the one you’re attending does! If not, make sure to grab that pair of scissors on the way out the door.

Sharpie

There is another item that is great to have on hand for travel and community/competitive performances: a SHARPIE!

This comes in handy for labeling music, forms, costumes, etc. Add it to your must-bring list!

(P.S. Make that TWO Sharpies. Someone will absolutely ask you to borrow one, and you will absolutely never get it back.)

Mobile Battery/Charger

On long weekends of competition, performance, and convention classes, it is really easy to drain the power on your device(s).

Recently, we purchased a portable battery. This device is amazing for charging on the go!

It eliminates the necessity of dragging cords, finding outlets, etc.

There are many different brands, styles, and price points available- but definitely look into it! It will make your life much more convenient!

 

You can also take a look at our more complete checklists and packing tips as you head to convention or competition:

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