I remember it so clearly…during one of my early years of studio ownership, I was sitting at the kitchen table with my head in my hands, completely paralyzed and overwhelmed. We had just crossed into the month of April and there were SO MANY things that I still needed to do in order to get ready for our May shows.
The longer I sat there thinking about my growing list, the more I became convinced I could NEVER get it all done. That’s when my husband stepped in and did what all great husbands do when they see their wives unravelling right before their very eyes: he sent me to bed and said we would talk about in the morning. Smart man.
Morning came and with it returned my ability to see past the loose ends and make a studio owner dance recital checklist list to get things in order before the real show. And, I’ve been building and refining the list ever since.
Keep reading for 30 things you can do now to have a seamless recital experience four weeks from now.
Download a printable version of the Studio Owner Dance Recital Checklist here:
Your recital is likely your largest production during the calendar year, and often can be a deciding factor whether or not parents will return with their children for the following year. Pricing your dance recital tickets correctly is an extremely crucial part of planning.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published January 21, 2015. It has been updated with current data as of February 2017.
First, decide your goal.
Are you just trying to cover production costs? Will your recital profits provide some financial cushion for the slow summer months? Are proceeds going to charity? Beginning with the end in mind will help you not only make decisions about the production, but will ultimately help you arrive at a price point that helps you achieve your objectives.
Next, figure out your cost.
Consider all of the cost drivers for the typical recital production. There’s auditorium rental (plus rehearsal), lights, sound, music mixing and licenses, security, insurance, staff payroll, tickets and programs, just to name a few.
Finally, do the math.
Use the simple formula:
Ticket Price = (desired profit + cost) / (Tickets per student x Number of students )
If you’re unsure about how many tickets per student, work with the average. In 2016, our studio clients sold about 3 dance recital tickets per student enrolled.
What do others charge?
At TutuTix, we know a lot about dance recital ticketing. Working with over 1,100 studios in the US, we’ve sold over $36 million dollars’ worth of dance recital tickets since we were founded in 2010, including $10 million in the spring of 2016 alone. Here are some interesting stats:
The average price for dance recital tickets in the US in 2016 was $13.74.
In 2016, the average studio sold more than $11,000 worth of tickets per recital season, and more than $4,600 per event (performance).
The most popular prices are $10 (21%), $15 (20%), $12 (15%), and $20 (10%), collectively, and account for more than 66% of all sales.
Can you charge more?
Apart from the overwhelming popularity of these prices, there is no identifiable correlation between ticket price and number of sales, which means that sales DO NOT SUFFER when tickets are priced higher. Further, there is no correlation between price and whether the ticket sold in advance versus at the door, meaning sales aren’t even delayed when tickets are priced higher.
There ARE compelling differences between tickets sold as general admission and those sold as reserved. Ticket buyers are willing to pay a premium for reserved seating, with reserved seats selling for an average of $14.03, over just $10.80 for general admission–an almost 30% difference! Check out our article on reserved seating here for even more in-depth information.
Need more information?
Our dance recital ticketing experts have helped hundreds of dance studios price, sell, and distribute their recital tickets. To request a professional consultation please contact us.
As recital season approaches and you begin to make decisions about ticket sales and distribution, keep these important factors in mind when making the reserved seating versus general admission decision.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published February 2015. It has been updated with current data as of February 2017.
First, a bit of a refresh:
General admission (GA) means that a ticket holder may choose any available seat in the venue.
With reserved seating, each ticket corresponds to a specific seat within the venue, and is labeled with a row and seat number.
Ticket buying patrons have commented overwhelmingly in surveys that RESERVED SEATING is preferred. Working with hundreds of dance studios nationwide, we can say with authority that reserved seating is a better solution for STUDIOS as well. Here’s why:
You can make more money. Not only does reserved seating enable you to do more granular tiered pricing (that is, charging more for the best seats in the house), but patrons are willing to pay more for a reserved seat. The average price for a GA ticket in the spring of 2016 was $10.80. Reserved seating tickets fetched an average of $14.03 during the same time period. That’s almost 30% more revenue from going reserved!
Reserved tickets sell FASTER, meaning you get money SOONER. The reason for this is easy to understand; the sooner a ticket is purchased, the better the seat! The average GA ticket in 2016 was purchased 16 days in advance. For reserved? Tickets were snapped up 26 days in advance. In other words, reserved seats sell 50% faster than GA tickets!
Recital day is EASIER with reserved seating. Although ushers may be necessary to help patrons locate their seat, you avoid the drama associated with overzealous “seat-holders.” You know who these people are. They bum rush the venue as soon as the doors open and litter your venue with everything from purses to police tape to secure seats for their party.
Your competitors are ALREADY doing it. Eighty-eight percent (88%) of the almost 500,000 recital tickets we helped studios sell in 2016 were reserved seating. It’s no longer a competitive advantage; it is now an expectation.
It costs you NOTHING extra to go reserved. With TutuTix, online seating chart setups are FREE. Studio owners need just provide our team with a legible copy of the venue seating arrangement, and we’ll build it all online in seatPOWER®, the only online seating chart specifically designed for dance. Patrons can go onto your studio’s ticketing page at tututix.com, and select the specific seats in which they want to sit.
You asked for it, and we built it – introducing the newest addition to the TutuTix editing tools, the Quick Edit Feature! You can now edit your own:
Watch the video below for a 1-minute tutorial on “Quick Edit”
TutuTix Editing Tools Video Text:
Welcome back to the TutuTix 1-minute “TutuTips” Series. You can now edit your event title, date, time and headline any time you need to. Just log in to your portal, and click any of the editable areas in your listed event.
Once you’ve made the necessary edits, simply click “Save” to populate your changes. Now once saved, your changes will show up online for your ticket buyers, so be sure to only include information in these areas that you want to be seen online.
If you have any questions or need to make changes to other aspects of your event, send us a help case or give us a call. Thanks for using TutuTix!
At a recent conference, I recently had the chance to share a presentation with studio owners on producing a profitable dance recital. I wanted to share it here; hopefully it will be of value to our blog readers as well! The major points of the dance conference presentation are below. Let us know if you’d like more detail on any of this information.
Three BIG Ideas to Make Your Recital More Profitable
Recital Fee vs. Online Sales
Many studio owners ask: “Should I charge a recital fee or just do ticket sales?” The answer is BOTH. The recital fee allows you to capture revenue at the beginning of the dance year, but a ticket sale presents an opportunity later in the year to maximize your profits in ways that add value to the experience your performers and attendees.
And that leads us to BIG Idea #1…
Big Idea #1: Bundle and Sell Online
Consumers spend more when they use a credit card than when they make purchases with cash. You can present merchandise purchase options with your ticket sales and customers will be more likely to buy, especially if they perceive that there is a bundle.
Big Idea #1: Bundle and Sell Online, cont’d.
All of our clients who sell merchandise online in advance report higher merchandise sales, with some reporting a 2x increase over previous years when they would accept cash only at the event. In addition, online sales enable you to more closely approximate the amount of merchandise you need to have on hand, so you have less inventory that goes unsold.
Big Idea #2: Inventory Management/Reserved Seating
Recognize that your seats are your inventory, and sell them in the most appropriate way to make more money. Seats in the front are worth more than seats in the back. If ticket buyers complain about a change in prices this year, explain that prices for the seats in the back are the same, but seats in the front are worth more, and therefore cost more.
So, why should you price seats according to their value?
Better experience for the ticket buyer = higher perceived value.
Offer perks for more loyal families.
Increases urgency to get the ticket = you get the money in hand sooner.
2016 Per Ticket Data
Reserved seating is a type of seating setup in which the ticket buyer can choose specific seats they want to sit in. Now, why is this important?
The average price paid in 2016 for a general admission ticket to a dance recital nationwide was $10.80, vs. $14.03 for a reserved ticket! That’s a 30% difference!
2016 Per Ticket Data, cont’d.
Moreover, the average gross per event with general admission seating was $1,715, while the average gross per event with reserved seating was $5,370! Don’t leave money on the table!
Big Idea #3: Generate Leads
Owners put forth an inordinate amount of effort into producing a recital, and most of the time, the only people exposed are the ones who already know how great their studio is! That’s such a waste! Your RECITAL is a prime opportunity to SHOWCASE your studio to prospective families and the community.
Invite “warm” prospects to your recital
Donate tickets to community charities
Leverage local schools / end of year activities
BUNDLE and sell online
Manage your INVENTORY wisely
Use your recital to GENERATE LEADS
So you want to sell tickets and merchandise online—now what?
TutuTix: The Easiest Way to Sell and Distribute Tickets to Your Dance Performances
How It Works: Step 1 – You Sign Up Online
It’s easy to get started with our easy online sign-up form. We just need some basic information in order to set up your events, including:
Your event info
The ticket prices
The date you want your tickets to go on sale
Your seating chart (if you plan on using assigned seating)
Your dedicated relationship manager will walk you through the process and help you fill in the blanks, and answer any questions you may have. After we have your information, our staff sets up your event, and you’ll get a final opportunity to review your event before we make tickets available to the public.
How It Works: Step 1 – You Sign Up Online, cont’d.
Codes? Comps? No Problem! With more than 1,200 clients nationwide, chances are, we’ve done every kind of presale setup there is. We can do:
Reserved seating, general admission and mixed reserved/general seating.
Promo codes, discount codes and comps.
Shopping cart for multiple performances or merchandise sales.
How It Works: Step 2 – Patrons Buy Tickets
When your tickets go on sale, your patrons can buy them:
Online at tututix.com/yourstudioname
On their mobile devices
On your Facebook page
From our toll-free call center
How It Works: Step 2 – Patrons Buy Tickets, cont’d.
For reserved seating, online ticket buyers can select their own seats with our easy-to-use seatPower seat selector.
How It Works: Step 2 – We Deliver Tickets
To Your Patrons – Your patrons can choose to get tickets delivered instantly to their email or smartphone, or to have souvenir tickets mailed to them. Tickets are mailed out immediately, and usually arrive within one week of purchase.
And to You – A few days before the event, we print any unsold tickets on the same keepsake ticket stock and ship them directly to you for FREE as part of our Door Ticket Kit so that you can have tickets on hand for door sales.
You Get Paid Weekly
We deposit ticket proceeds into your account weekly, giving you the flexibility to use those funds when you need them.
Your patrons can choose to have full-color, foil-embossed barcoded keepsake tickets mailed to them. We even print the dancer’s name directly on the tickets! Tickets are mailed out immediately, and usually arrive within one week of purchase.
Customizable Print-at-Home Tickets
Our print-at home tickets are customizable! You can promote upcoming classes, workshops or performances, or even sell advertising to your event sponsors!
Door Ticket Kit
Our FREE door ticket kit makes it easy to sell any remaining tickets on the day of your event.
iPhone and Android Scanner Apps
Need an easy way to scan tickets at the door? Our free scanner apps are available for iPhone and Android.
It’s always a good idea to let your ticket buyers know what to expect during the ticket purchase process, especially if this is your first time going online. Below are some resources to help you with this process.
Use your “CUSTOM LINK” The TutuTix Support team will provide you with a CUSTOM LINK for your studio. This link will be yours as long as you are a client of TutuTix. Use this link to direct your ticket buyers to a page that features only YOUR events. This will be a better experience for your ticket buyers.
The actual text of the template letter is below as well, for your convenience:
****** BEGIN LETTER******
I have some very exciting news! This year, we’re working with a company called TutuTix to make it easier for you to purchase recital tickets. Gone are the days of coming down to the studio, waiting in line, and spending your valuable time purchasing tickets. NOW, you’ll be able to do it from the convenience of your own living room, office, or wherever you are.
At that time, you can purchase tickets by any of the following ways:
Go to our special TutuTix page on your computer, tablet, or smart phone at ENTER YOUR CUSTOM TUTUTIX PAGE LINK HERE
Go to our Facebook Fan Page and click the “Buy Tickets” tab at the top, or
Just call 855-222-2TIX (2849)
Ticket prices will be: ENTER YOUR TICKET PRICES HERE
Note that you will need a credit or debit card to buy tickets, and that tickets will be sold on a first come, first served basis. So, buy early to get better seats!
TutuTix charges a low, fair fee for their service. You’ll see their $1 per ticket fee, plus 5% processing charge added to your order at checkout.
You’ll have several options for how you want your ticket delivered. You can have it emailed to you, sent to your mobile phone internet browser, and even add it to your Apple Passbook (if you have the latest iPhone software) at no charge! Or, you can choose to have TutuTix mail you foil-embossed keepsake tickets for an additional fee– with your dancer’s name printed directly on the ticket!
I know this is a new process for us, and I appreciate your patience and feedback as we work through this change. Please let me know what you think.
****** END LETTER******
“Buying Tickets on TutuTix” Video
This video walks ticket buyers through the process of buying tickets with TutuTix. Send them this link:
Some people think the “show” is what happens onstage at the spring recital, but every dance studio owner knows that the REAL show happens backstage!
If you want to see a real symphony of choreography, watch the show from behind the curtains because that’s where the magic happens. Changing costumes, fixing makeup, getting kids lined up for dances, keeping little ones entertained until they perform, calming toddler fears, encouraging senior soloists, and finding lost shoes are all part of orchestrating a good show.
And, if that doesn’t impress you, let me tell you this: A 12 year old doing fouette turns has nothing on a pre-school teacher changing outfits and tap shoes on 15 4-year-olds. We may not be able to turn like the teenagers anymore, but nobody can turn around back stages issues faster than studio owners and dance teachers.
If you are ready to up your backstage performance this year, keep reading for 6 Tips for a Backstage Bravo!
The dance recital is the most important moment in the year. Is your method of dance recital ticket sales helping you make the most of the experience?
The Old Way
Studio owners and staff spend hours preparing seating charts, printing tickets, manning the ticket sales table, and processing refunds and exchanges.
Parents have to come to the studio at prescribed days and times, and may not even be able to pay with a credit card.
Studio owners have to deal with difficult or unhappy parents who feel they should get specific seats.
In a studio with 200 students, you could have 200 parents wait 4 hours in line on ticket day. That’s 800 hours of lost productivity and leisure time!
The average studio sells $16,000 in tickets per year, typically accumulating large amounts of cash that need to be secured and deposited.
Studio owners save time and money. Just send TutuTix your seating chart and we’ll take care of the rest!
Parents save time. A ticket purchase takes 5 minutes. Who doesn’t want their Saturday back?
It’s convenient. With TutuTix, parents can buy anytime online, via phone, or even directly from your studio’s Facebook page! This convenience is important – the percentage of people who expect to buy tickets online has doubled in the past 3 years.*
It’s secure. Parents pay securely online or over the phone, and funds are deposited weekly into your studio’s account.
It’s fair. All parents have an equal shot at choosing their preferred seats with TutuTix’s interactive seating chart. TutuTix can even handle special pre-sales for specific groups or help you tie ticket purchases to a student’s account status.
Find out how we can bring the “happy” to ticket sales for you and your dance parents. Request more information about TutuTix today.
Can you imagine the following? A house builder works for nine months with clients to build a beautiful family home. The builder communicates and plans; hiring subcontractors, building walls, insuring the project, financing the materials and making the finishing touches just right. The builder takes draws from the clients for expenses along the way, but when it comes time to deliver the final product and hand over the keys, he takes a pass on getting paid for the last weeks of work.
This would never happen in the “real world,” but in “our world,” it happens all too often.
Studio owners put nine months of work into building a beautiful product and then fail to take it to the finish line from a business perspective.
If you are looking for dance recital ideas to produce a dance recital that pays you for your time and effort, keep reading!
The “Expert Advice from Misty Lown” series is brought to you by More Than Just Great Dancing™ and TutuTix.
Starting today, studios that use our service to sell their recital or performance tickets online and through our call center are eligible to receive their printed “door tickets” free of charge.
Yes, you read that right: FREE RECITAL TICKETS!
For those of you not “in the know” (if you haven’t used our service for dance recital ticketing before), here’s how we work:
Just make a quick call or fill out our online form to get started. Email us a seating chart and event image, along with your event details and ticket prices.
At your desired onsale date and time, your patrons can visit your own page on TutuTix.com or call our toll-free call center at 855.222.2TIX and buy tickets. We can deliver them via mail or email directly to the ticket buyers. Ticket buyers pay a small fee to cover the cost of our service.
A few days before your event, we ship you printed tickets corresponding to whatever seats haven’t sold. As long as you’ve sold at least 25 tickets in advance online or via our call center, those printed tickets, including shipping, are FREE!
And they’re pretty gorgeous tickets. Check ‘em out: full color, foil embossed, barcoded, and customized with your studio name and event info. For events with reserved seating, the tickets also feature section, row, and seat numbers.
Last spring alone, we helped more than 500 dance studios sell over half a million tickets, and shipped over 100,000 printed tickets to them for door sales. We know how important those tickets are to studio owners, and that’s why we’ve made this change. Now you can save the cost of having printed tickets on hand for day-of sales. In fact, with this change, studio owners can now use TutuTix at NO COST.
So what are you waiting for? Give us a call at 855-222-2849 or email today, and we’ll get you started!
The Tolbert Yilmaz School of Dance in Roswell, Georgia, is entering its 35th year and still continues to grow and thrive under the leadership of Nancy Tolbert Yilmaz. If the school’s five start-of-the-art studios, changing rooms and closed-circuit monitoring weren’t impressive enough, the studio is planning to move to a new custom-designed facility in the coming years to offer the best possible experience to the young dancers it serves.
Starting Off with a Bang
The idea to open her own studio first came to Yilmaz when she was teaching and dancing professionally in Atlanta. She saw the lack of studios in Roswell, a town 30 miles north of downtown Atlanta, and jumped on the market opening. With the help of her now associate director, Yilmaz converted an old building into a dance studio, and the Tolbert Yilmaz School of Dance was off and running.
“I decided, along with our associate director, Mary Lynn Taylor, to offer a few classes,” Yilmaz explained. “So we put out the notice and anticipated maybe 75 kids tops on the day of the first open house. That day, 350 kids showed up.”
Since then, the school has only continued to grow as it teaches dancers of all ages the beautiful art form. Today, Yilmaz estimated that there are around 800 students in her open school, as well as 100 pre-professional dancers in the resident ballet company. The studio, which has moved to a larger location since its impressive kick off, caters to students ages 2 through adult and offers classes in ballet, tap, jazz, modern, hip hop, acrobatics, musical theater, Pilates and kinderdance. They also recently added an aerial silks course, which allows dancers to take their performances to new heights.
Staying ahead of the game
New dance studios have cropped up in Roswell over the course of 35 years, but Yilmaz has managed to keep her business ahead of the pack through a dedication to professionalism and quality instruction. The school’s resident performing dance company, the Roswell Dance Theatre, offers pre-professional instruction to young men and women ages 10 to 18.
“The kids in the ballet and modern companies are on a pre-professional track,” Yilmaz noted. “They’re looking not only to go to college for dance, but to go on a dance scholarship. I’ve got former students that are working all over the place: one with the New York City Ballet, one with Ballet Hispanico, a couple on Broadway.”
Over the years, the group has performed around the country and internationally, as well as in three Olympic ceremonies. However, among their various performances and competitions, the Roswell Theatre still finds time to give back to the community.
“We have an entire concert that’s held every year called ‘Hugs from Young Choreographers,’ which is a project conceived and run by Mary Lynn,” Yilmaz explained. “The oldest dancers from our company each choreograph a piece for the concert … All the money raised goes towards a charitable organization. [Over the years], we’ve given the funds to a shelter for homeless girls, a student here who needed a kidney transplant and an organization called Camp Sunshine.”
At the end of the day, Yilmaz realizes that to ensure the Tolbert Yilmaz School of Dance’s continued success, she has to always strive to provide new, exciting opportunities and keep up with industry trends.
Growing Sales with TutuTix
One of the ways that Yilmaz kept up with the growth of her studio is by switching to online ticketing. She looked into a number of different vendors, but ultimately decided that TutuTix would be the best fit for her business.
“What really brought me to TutuTix was the customer service,” Yilmaz said. “I’m not the Internet whiz that a lot of younger people are. I didn’t know how the service would work, and they were very patient. They took their time and answered all my crazy questions.”
The first year using the online ticketing service, the Tolbert Yilmaz School of Dance almost doubled their ticket sales. Increased profits from performances go a long way toward providing a better experience for students.
“It really helped our company get that much better overnight!” Yilmaz noted.
It may be January, but May is on my mind. For those of us living in “dance-land,” New Year’s means more than resolutions—it means recital is coming faster than we think! Costumes have been ordered, dates have been set and themes have been announced.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The real recital planning is about to begin and January is the best time to do it.
So come on! Let’s get ahead of the game and plan our best recital yet! There’s no time like the present.
Here are 6 Dance Recital Tips to help you plan a great show.
Chasta Hamilton Calhoun is the busy woman behind Stage Door Dance Productions in Raleigh, North Carolina. She oversees her studios and satellite programs, choreographs musical theater pieces and runs The Dance Exec blog and seminar series, yet still finds time to give back to the local community with the help of her students. Calhoun explained that her passion for the arts and dedication to service led her to where she is today.
The Story Behind Stage Door Dance Productions
When Calhoun was attending North Carolina State University, she planned to pursue a career as an attorney. Her aspirations were to become a successful businesswoman, and she thought that law was the way to go. However, throughout her time at school, she came to realize that it might be worthwhile to follow her true passion: dance.
“You can be a successful career person in the arts just as much as you can as an attorney, a doctor or an engineer – the other more ‘traditional’ paths,” Calhoun explained. “I stuck with my passion and it really paid off.”
With the help of her now husband, Calhoun opened the first Stage Door Dance Productions studio in 2009. Since then she’s expanded to a second location and also founded two satellite programs at the Carolina Country Club and the North Hills Club. Overall, she and her staff of 10 work with around 500 students between the ages of 2 and 18, teaching all genres of dance, from ballet to tap to acrobatics.
Becoming a Community Staple
Since day one, Calhoun has made community service an integral part of Stage Door Dance studios. In college, she founded the Sightless Rhythm Tap Project at The Governor Morehead School for the Blind. Calhoun tries to instill a spirit of giving in her students by organizing service projects at community events.
“It’s such an important part of a person’s character to recognize the value of service and giving back,” Calhoun explained. “That’s why we try to weave it into studio opportunities.”
Students from Stage Door Dance perform at community events such as the Relay For Life and the annual Raleigh Christmas Parade. They hold fundraisers and drives in the studio to support both local and national causes, as well as participate in numerous other outreach programs. Calhoun’s inspiring mission has caught the attention of a number of institutions, and she was awarded the Goodman Leadership Award for Excellence in the Arts in 2012 and the 40 Under 40 Award in 2014. She’s beyond grateful for the recognition, but even happier to see the arts take the spotlight.
“It was so exciting to see that kind of recognition being handed out in the area of the arts because a lot of times it gets pigeonholed to more ‘traditional’ career fields,” Calhoun said.
Working with TutuTix
One of Calhoun’s side projects – the Dance Exec blog – was the reason she discovered TutuTix’s online ticketing solutions. She originally used the service to sell seats for seminars hosted by The Dance Exec, but quickly decided it would be a worthwhile venture for Stage Door Dance’s recital ticketing as well.
“When we made that transition, I have to say that I would never in a million years go back to the way we were doing ticketing before,” Calhoun noted. “It’s progressive, it’s easy and their support is just unbelievable.”
Calhoun explained that when she uses TutuTix, it’s a serious burden off her shoulders when recital season arrives. She knows that her ticketing will be taken care of with TutuTix, so she can focus on the other aspects of planning and executing an amazing recital for her dancers.
Introducing SeatPower by TutuTix. A brand new kind of online seat selector that was built ground up specifically for dance performances.
SeatPower lets your Patrons pick EXACTLY where they want to sit, and makes the seat selection process easy and worry-free.
Before SeatPower, the process of picking your own seats using other online ticketing providers could be clumsy and frustrating. The reason is this: other seat selectors just don’t perform well when several hundred people are actively trying to select seats at the same time.
Check out the video above to see how SeatPower is different and better!
SeatPower re-engineers the seat selection process, by first enabling customers to get the best available seats in their desired section, effectively guaranteeing them good seats. They are then free to “shop around” the seating chart for better seats. Seating availability is updated in near real-time.
SeatPower will hold the ticket buyer’s original seats until it verifies that the new seats the customer wants are available.
This gives the ticket purchaser full control over seat selection, while ensuring that they still get great seats.
And SeatPower is the only seat selector available with high-demand capability. This means that it still works beautifully, even if hundreds of people are picking seats at the same time.
SeatPower is now available for all TutuTix accounts. Contact us to learn more about how to put it to work for you.