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Independence Day, Lobby Edition

row of empty blue chairs against a white and red background

During the pandemic, many dance studios closed their lobbies and found alternative ways to successfully execute administrative tasks and serve their populations. 

This shift was a positive change for our dance studio locations. By repurposing our former lobbies, we now have more productive workspaces that serve a variety of functions. If you’re considering doing the same, here are a few tips for how we successfully maintain and manage this model:

1) Keep Parents Involved.
Parents are an important part of the extracurricular experience, and I believe visibility and transparency are critical in youth extracurricular activities. You want parents on your team! Early in the pandemic, we purchased the SpotTV closed-circuit monitoring system, so families could watch their child in class at all times (with sound!) via their own personal devices. This year, we will return to scheduled, in-person observations as well as an optional social/networking club for families. 

2) Educate, Respond, and Automate.
Make sure your families understand the expectation in advance. All of our trial guides and welcome packets reiterate that we have no indoor waiting spaces for parents or loved ones. Because parents are not in the building, make sure there is someone actively checking phone lines, voicemails, emails, and any communication portal in a timely manner. If systems can be automated (e.g., tuition payments, trial scheduling), do it!  This shift should not compromise your clients’ customer service experience.

3)Take Note of the Positive.
Here are a few reasons we prefer this shift:

  • Safety: At any given time, we know exactly who is in the building. 
  • Cleanliness: Our facilities (especially the bathrooms) are much cleaner with less foot traffic. 
  • Focus: With a distraction-free interior environment, everyone can focus on their respective tasks. 
  • Transparency: With the closed-circuit system, everyone operates at a high level of accountability: students, staff, and our entire team. 

4) Constantly Tweak and Evaluate.
If there’s anything we’ve learned, it is that anything can change in an instant. With each day, week, and session, we are continuing to evaluate what works best for our programming, vision, and needs. If you’ve discovered things that worked well for you, like closed lobbies, have the confidence to keep that change in place.  Evaluate it regularly and tweak it as needed. 

Ultimately, your leadership will guide you to what is best for your community. Be confident and empowered in your voice because that, in itself, is a form of freedom. 

Happy Fourth of July! 


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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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!).