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Tag: inspiration

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
Rocking Your Recital Dance Exec TutuTix

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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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Rocking Your Recital Dance Exec TutuTix

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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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Rocking Your Recital Dance Exec TutuTix

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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

Rocking Your Recital Dance Exec TutuTix

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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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How to Make the Most of The UDMA Costume Shows

How to make the most of UDMA

Attending the United Dance Merchants Association’s (UDMA) yearly costume shows can be a beneficial and fun experience for any studio dance owner. You’ll have the opportunity to learn about new costume trends and get to see the latest styles in person. You’ll also be able to learn about a number of studio-related products and services that can help make our life easier.

UDMA even offers educational opportunities with renowned dance professionals on a variety of topics. If this is your first time attending a UDMA event, check out the tips below to make your first experience a success!

Come Prepared

When it comes to attending one of the large UDMA shows held each year, it’s important to be prepared. These events allow dance professionals to get insight on upcoming costume trends and do some groundwork for recitals and performances. The shows include information and vendors beyond costumes, too—be prepared so that you are ready to make the most of it!

  • Bring a big bag or, even better, a rolling suitcase. You’ll be happy you have it after receiving lots of catalogs, giveaways from vendors, and samples.
  • It’s important to dress smart. As you run around from vendor to vendor, you won’t have a lot of time to sit and take a break. Wear comfortable clothing and shoes to keep you on your feet. You don’t want to have to end your visit early because your feet are blistered and sore.
  • Bring cash for coffee, snacks and lunches. These events last the whole day, and if you’re enjoying yourself, you don’t want to have to go far to find food and drinks.
  • Print off a sheet of address label stickers with your name, studio name, address, phone and email. If you want to request more information from a company or enter one of the many giveaways offered by vendors you can simplify the entry process by using your stickers on the entry forms.

UDMA 2019

From the UDMA Website https://udma.org

Check Out the Seminars

During the three sessions this year, UDMA will be offering five seminars that dance teachers and studio owners can attend. This year, there are THREE business seminars (open to studio owners who may register their staff) and TWO movement seminars.

And the lineup of speakers is impressive! Steve Sirico of DanceTeacherWeb.com. Suzanne Blake Gerety of DanceStudioOwner.com, and the man himself, Rhee Gold will each present a business seminar in each city. Anthony LoCasico of Taplife and Tricia Gomez of Rhythm Works Integrative Dance will each present the movement seminars.

Note that the seminars require a separate registration from the vendor/costume show, as well as an additional fee. You can find more information here.

Come Visit Us at the TutuTix Booth!

This year, TutuTix will be visiting the various sessions of UDMA to talk costumes, recitals, and more. Look for our booth – it’s hard to miss (look for the sparkly pink shiny wall!)

We’ll even be hosting a surprise item giveaway: earlier this year we gave away iRobot Roomba’s to lucky guests! Stop by to pick up some goodies and sign up for our big giveaway.

Talk to People and Have Fun!

Before you get there, visit the UDMA website to find out what vendors will be attending your local event. Make a list of the booths that you’re really dying to see so you know where to go as soon as you arrive.

As you see dancers in the latest costumes, don’t be shy! Approach them and ask them to move around in their attire so you can better understand the look and feel of each costume.

Something to note: photography isn’t allowed at this event. So be sure to bring a notebook to help you jot down what you like to help you prepare for this year’s dance season.

Want to do some exploring? DanceInforma has some cool ideas for how to make the most out of your travel experience while at UDMA.

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Kindness at Competition Starts with Your Dance Team

competition kindness and dance team

Bullying seems so senseless and unnecessary. And yet, it still occurs in seemingly all environments. It happens at school, extracurricular activities, via social media, and, yes, even from members of the dance team at competitions. Social media outlets has removed accountability and personal connectivity from today’s youth, allowing them an impersonal way of criticizing and degrading others in a very passive manner.

I have heard stories of bullying occurring at dance competitions for the past few years. But, it wasn’t until recently that I actually observed negativity at an event.

Via social media, an older student from one studio’s dance team was blatantly criticizing much younger students from another studio. Using that message, the older student had other dancers joining in the conversation, and it felt so unnecessary and inappropriate.

What do you think made this student feel as though this was an okay choice?

Respect and Appreciation at Competition

As instructors, we have to instill values of respect in our students. These values should transcend the studio classroom and reach other studios, peers, and life endeavors. Our values become our lifestyle, and I would like to think that studios would never condone this kind of behavior.

Most competitions and conventions encourage appropriate behavior. I appreciate and applaud the steps they’ve taken to guarantee students are learning and growing in a nurturing, supportive environment. Studio owners, parents, instructors, students, and peers have to support and encourage that mission, too.

Ultimately, we are all in this together. And, personally, I know that I want every dance experience to be positive, meaningful, and productive for each and every one of our students.

Dance Spirit featured an article in 2011 entitled Beat Bullying, which discusses the issue from an in-studio perspective. It’s just as relevant to think about bullying in regards to outside events and encountering other studios.

At the end of the day, we have to lead by example. That way, we make sure our students are aware of their choices, actions, and consequences.  We are all working hard, striving to do our best, and encouraging our students to grow. Each individual is on his/her own dance journey, and we have to be respectful and supportive of each dancer’s work and achievement.

As J.K. Rowling said: “It is our choices…that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”

Let’s make the choice to be kind. After all, we’re all in this together.

– Chasta

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Add a Little Magic with Dance Studio Mascots

dance studio mascots

Last year, we decided to adopt a “Studio Mascot” for our studio and competitive team. Since we were attending Nationals in New Orleans, we selected a fun-looking alligator, named her Louise, and dressed her in dance-like attire (yes, we actually went shopping for a stuffed alligator).

We introduced Louise to the studio with the following poem:

I am proud to say “Hi there,
my name is Louise.”
I am a pretty little dancer
from Stage Door, if you please.

I hail from a southern city.
You may know it as New Orleans,
A city with lots of culture
Known for its Mardi Gras scenes.

You may be thinking
You’ve seen me before in a bog
But you’re thinking of my brother
from Princess and the Frog

I was so busy dancing
While my brother played his trumpet
They wanted me in the movie,
But I had to dump it!

I love ballet, tap and jazz,
theatre, acro, and hip-hop!
I love every style of dance,
And I doubt I’ll ever stop!

I am thrilled to be a part
Of the family at Stage Door
I will be your mascot, your friend
and so much more!

I will travel to competitions
with the Stage Door Elite
I will cheer real loud,
and stamp my feet!

At the end of the season
In July of twenty thirteen,
My journey will continue at Nationals
down in New Orleans.

I’ll show you my stomping grounds
and we’ll have fun
Riding in swamp buggies
in the hot summer sun.

After the summer,
I might choose to stay
at the studio in Raleigh
to laugh, dance, sing, and play.

So let’s start this adventure
And become great friends
We’ll work hard, practice,
and be a team to the end!

Louise had such popularity that smaller mascots began popping up at competitions:

dance studio mascots

 

Our studio families and students LOVE Louise! The students enjoy seeing her at events, and they are always eager to sit beside her, hold her, and take pictures with her.

Louise even had a starring role in our Spring Recital:

 

dance studio mascots

 

So, how can you create dance studio mascots for your team/studio?

  • Select something that ties into the theme/mission/culture/events of your studio
  • Tailor the mascot’s presence to reflect your brand
  • Promote the dance studio mascots to your studio and students
  • Be imaginative! Creativity is what brings a mascot to life.
  • Have fun!

The mascot brought a great level of camaraderie to our team and studio last year, and we are excited to begin Louise’s adventures this year. Select your mascot, and join in on the fun! It will add a little magic to your season. 🙂

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The Power of Performance for Young Dancers

young dancers

I often hear the debate of what age is acceptable for a child to begin performing. I firmly believe that the earlier young dancers can start performing, the more comfortable, self-confident, and present they will become as performers and artists.

At my studio, I am completely comfortable putting a 3-year old student onstage for the annual performance (taking show times and performance length into consideration, of course). I first performed at 3-years old, and I remember absolutely loving the experience. When I am feeling nostalgic, I will find the VHS (and the VHS player) and watch the playback (anyone remember toast shiny tights?).

Younger students are so capable and uninhibited, and I think too many instructors (and, perhaps, even some parents) underestimate their power to learn. If you instill disciplined habits and work ethics in students at a young age, they will really excel in their training dance training.

Obviously, there are proper teaching methods and philosophies for younger students that are developmentally in-line with their physical and psychological maturation. These students should be nurtured, loved, and taught in a way that will allow them to develop a proper passion for the art.

And, performing at a younger age can mean many different things. Obviously, the expectation is not that a young, 3-year old will perform double pirouettes, extensions, and aerials. Rather, the accomplishment lies in the completion of the task.

Some of a young student’s accomplishments may be: standing on stage and not crying, forming the circle in the routine, knowing where to stand, remembering to smile, finishing a routine, or feeling proud of themselves for accomplishing a goal.

With each opportunity, the child will feel more comfortable and progressive in his/her capabilities and performance. The growth is truly rewarding for everyone involved in the process.

Getting Older Students to Start Performing

As a counter observation, for students that begin performing in their pre-teen/adolescence, it is more difficult to instill performance qualities since they lack the extent of early exposure to the stage and performing. As students age, they become concerned about others’ opinions of their projection, which usually translates to being more nervous, apprehensive, and tense when asked to perform and project onstage.

Of course, students’ projections can be fostered and improved, regardless of age, but, for students that are truly interested in performing, the younger a student can start acquiring the culture of the performance environment, the better. Then, the act of performing becomes second nature.

Certainly, younger students’ performance capabilities are dependent upon maturity, personal readiness, and level of interest. This philosophy is not a blanket standard; rather, it is something to consider for students that are young and ready for the performance experience. Do not write off opportunities simply because of a child’s age; rather, see how you can further ignite their passion and interest in dance.

You have the power to offer students opportunities to grow and blossom, regardless of age, and that is a tremendous gift and reward of being a dance educator. Let’s use it!

(This is a recital picture in the dance scrapbook I created in high school. This pic is from my second recital; I was 4 years old.)

 

(This pic is of one of my students. He has been performing on stage since he was 2 years old. Now 6, he absolutely loves the performance experience. We are fortunate to have many students at our studio that feel the same way. Words cannot begin describe the pride we feel towards our young, tenacious, passionate performers!)

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Dance is for Everyone

dance is for everyone

I truly believe dance is for everyone, and can move everyone in some capacity- as an observer, as a mover, or as a dancer. As dance educators, we have the opportunity to build programming that is accessible to everyone. Once students are a part of our programming, we have an obligation to serve them to the best of our ability.

When a studio culture transforms into statements of regularity such as “those kids aren’t good”, “he/she will never be an overall winner”, or “so-so refuses to dance with so-so”, it becomes a danger zone. It compromises our mission as educators to create a positive infrastructure that focuses on building the art of DANCE through technique, style, acceptance, and diversity.

As educators, we must take the lead. Our leadership is required to promote the accessibility of dance for everyone.

Our art is not elitist- it does not require Olympic level ability for success and impact. Rather, it requires time, patience, love, and nurturing.

Then, you create a dancer (in whatever capacity that may be), and you also build a relationship that will far outlast a student’s tenure at the dance studio. That’s impact.

That’s the importance of DANCE FOR EVERYONE.

ailey quote

 

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Why You Should Develop Good Habits in Dance (and in Life)!

develop good habits

Highly successful people choose to develop good habits and routines. They work consistently, with discipline, and do not allow excuses to overshadow their goals. It is rumored that a habit forms in 20-21 days; however, this Forbes’ article (a great read!) debunks the myth and elaborates on the formulating steps required to make an activity a way of life.

Examples of habits for our students may be:

  • More Stretching/Flexibility
  • Working Towards a Technical Goal
  • A Conditioning Plan
  • Time Management & Organization

Examples of habits for Instructors/Studio Owners may be:

  • Healthier Lifestyle Habits
  • Business/Work- Oriented Goals
  • Artistic Aspirations
  • Improved Time Management

Whatever you are working towards, commit to achieving the level of success that will positively impact your quality of life. It will make a difference!

habits

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Dance Recital Prep: It’s The Final Countdown

Dance Recital Prep: It's the Final Countdown

It’s biggest day of the year for your families. If your students are like mine, they are raring to go! And it’s easy to see why when you consider all of the hard work they have put in over the past year preparing for recitals:

  • 30+ weeks of lessons
  • 2-3 minutes of choreography for each dance
  • Costume measurements, fittings, exchanges and alterations
  • Group photos, recital tickets and t-shirts, flower orders and more!

In fact, for every minute of a dance that appears on stage, an average of 100 HOURS of preparation has already been put in before one sequin ever hits the stage. But before you sign off on your dance recital prep, I want you to put ONE MORE HOUR to make sure your recital day is GREAT.

Keep reading for 8 last-minute dance recital prep tips that will ensure you have the best recital day yet!


  1. Schedule a production meeting with your staff
    Communication is key to a successful show. Getting your staff together for a final round of show notes, last minute lineup changes and planning for prop transitions will help to avoid surprises during the show. This is also a great time to thank them for all of their hard work to remind them of the positive impact they will have on so many children on show day.
  2. Assign specific staff duties
    Make sure your team knows where every staff member should be and what they should be doing during pre-show, backstage, finale, dancer pick up and post-show clean up. Post these assignments backstage and provide printouts for each teacher.
  3. Create signage to dressing and audience areas
    Nothing makes parents more anxious on show day than not knowing where to go or feeling like they might arrive late. Help parents get their dancers to the appropriate pre-show gathering place by providing signage and friendly staff/crew members to personally guide the way.
  4. Prepare info-boards for each staff member
    Equip your team for success by giving them a clipboard for each show containing all all pertinent show information. Be sure to include all costume information for each class as new parents are likely ask ANY staff member for help, not just their own teacher.
  1. Identify quick changes or back-to-back numbers
    Notify back stage crew of any tight spots in show flow that may require changes backstage. Prepare the emcee ahead of time to plan on engaging the audience a little longer between numbers in the event you have back-to-back numbers for any dancers.
  2. Build a backstage entertainment kit
    Keep little ones busy while waiting for their turn including non-messy snacks, coloring books, movies and games. Parents will be more confident leaving their little ones in dressing rooms with your staff if they know they will be entertained while waiting for their turn to dance.
  3. Coordinate a backstage show for the little ones
    Giving the older students an opportunity to run dances before they hit the stage can double as entertainment for little ones waiting to dance. We call it the “backstage recital”!
  4. Equip your staff to be able to figure things out
    We have a saying at recital that says everything is “figure-out-able”. This means that my team has to ability to solve problems in all situations. Lost shoes? We can borrow from someone else? Costume left at home? We can put that dance later to give Dad time to run home? Communicate now that everything is “figure-out-able” if you work together.

Are you looking for some more recital tips and ideas? Check out these other articles and resources from Misty:

The “Expert Advice from Misty Lown” series is brought to you by More Than Just Great Dancing™ and TutuTix.

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Making the Most of Your Studio Dance Recital

Making the Most of Your Studio Dance Recital

Of the many hats studio owners wear, one of the most important ones is that of a marketer for our business. In fact, if you think of all of the ways you have marketed your studio over the past year you will probably be surprised to find out just how much time is spent promoting your studio to the next generation of dancers. When I reflected on my studio’s marketing initiatives over the course of this school year I came up with a long list including: printed brochures, postcards, Facebook ads, free trial classes, free dance days, community performances, camps, workshops, master classes, birthday parties, field trips, print ads in the local parenting magazine and various community partnerships.

But if you are only marketing to the public you are missing one of the most powerful marketing tools of all: re-selling to your existing client. Various studies report that it costs anywhere between five to seven times more to attract a new client than to re-sell an existing client. And there is no greater opportunity to re-sell the value of being a part of your studio to your families than the upcoming annual studio dance recital.

Make the most of your annual studio dance recital by adding these 5 Easy WOWs to make a great day-of experience for both dancers and attendees:


  1. Tell your story

    The recital is a great opportunity to tell your story either in a welcome letter at the beginning of your recital program book or laced throughout the show announcements.  For example, if one of your core values is being family-friendly, take time to highlight some of the ways a studio becomes like family. Ideas include having seniors share what it meant to them to grow up at the studio or including quotes from parents and students in your program book. If academic achievement is one of your core values, take time to highlight how your the discipline of dance is helping your students to achieve in the classroom.

  2. Go full service

    There are a lot of details that go into planning recital including rehearsal times, picture information, show details, costume instructions and hair/makeup directions. While it’s important to have all information on a master document, it’s even better to deliver JUST the necessary information so that parents, especially first time parents, don’t have to wade through hundreds of lines of information just  to find the few details that apply to them. Whether you present this info digitally or a hand out, parents will appreciate this concierge approach.

  3. Greet them at the door

    Nothing says “We’re happy you are here!” like actually having someone at the front door of rehearsal and recital actually greeting families in person. At rehearsals we have a rotating team of teachers greeting students at the door and showing them where to go. At recital, our teachers move from the greeter position to the backstage and dressing posts and I take the lead on greeting families. Every year I hear from families, especially new ones, how nice it is that the studio owner is accessible. Recital is likely the only time of year you will see every parent in one weekend so this is your chance to get personal and thank them for being part of your program.

  1. Double down on details

    Over the nineteen years I’ve had my studio I have found that more parents arrive at our rehearsals and shows each year with less preparation. We do our best to combat this trend on the front side with great information, but still we will have parents show up to rehearsal without the proper tights and costumes that need attention. We’ve turned this trend into an opportunity to serve families and provide some WOW with our “Emergency Table.” The emergency table is a place where we can solve most of the common problems of rehearsal and recital. We have a sewing machine, a steamer, extra tights, shoes and makeup. If it’s broken or they haven’t bought it yet, we can fix it. Our Emergency Table has saved a lot of tears over the years.

  2. Adopt the phrase: “Everything is figure-out-able”

    Even with the best of planning you are going to run into issues once the curtain goes up, so have your team adopt the mentality that “everything is figure-out-able!” Did a child forget their shoes? No problem, we can borrow a pair from another student. Missing headpiece? No worries, we can come up with a solution. Did something major happen backstage? No need to stop the show if you can calmly switch the order of a couple of dances. Issues and challenges that happen backstage should never become the audience’s worry. Just remember, “everything is figure-out-able”!

So give these a try! Make the most of a marketing opportunity that you already have and create an even better recital day for your dance families.

Are you looking for some more recital tips and ideas? Check out these other articles and resources from Misty:

The “Expert Advice from Misty Lown” series is brought to you by More Than Just Great Dancing™ and TutuTix.

More Than Just Great Dancing

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We Are Proud to Welcome The Dance Exec to TutuTix.com!

We Are Proud to Welcome The Dance Exec to TutuTix.com!

TutuTix is pleased to announce the addition of content from The Dance Exec into its content library. For several years, The Dance Exec (www.danceexec.com) has been an excellent source of training and knowledge for dance studio owners as they grow their business and strive to provide excellence in dance training. As Chasta Hamilton Calhoun, the founder of The Dance Exec, directs her focus to her thriving dance studios, the incredible studio owner resources that the site has offered through the years will find a new home as part of the TutuTix blog, which covers topics of interest to dance studio owners and teachers in particular, and the dance community in general. From time to time, Chasta will continue to contribute to the blog in her ongoing role as a studio owner (and TutuTix client!). The addition of these incredible resources is just one more way TutuTix can help dance studio owners build a successful business. Check out the first article from The Dance Exec archives today: 101 Marketing Ideas & Strategies for Dance Studios

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