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Dance Travel Tips: Organizing Transportation to Competitions

dance travel

With competition season upon us, there’s a lot to think about – have your dancers perfected their routines? Do they have their costumes? Have you recruited some volunteers that can help out backstage? However, don’t forget to think about how your dancers will get to the venue in the first place. Organizing dance travel to a competition can seem like one big headache, but it doesn’t have to be. Follow these tips to get you and your dancers to the competition without the stress.

Check Out the Venue Ahead of Time

Prior to the competition, if possible, travel to the venue to familiarize yourself with the best route to take to get there. Also, take a look at the available parking options. This way, you can have a better idea of the best transportation method your dancers and their families should take to get to the venue, whether that’s carpooling, taking a bus or driving. You’ll also be able to give better instructions on directions and minimize surprises the day of the competition.

If the venue is far enough away that your students and their families will need to stay in hotels, spend some time researching the area online and using Google Maps to identify the best lodging options in the vicinity so you and the parents can plan the necessary accommodation ahead of time.

Organizing a Carpool

Carpooling to the competition is a great way to streamline and simplify transportation. It’s also cost-effective, and is eco-friendly, as Dance Advantage pointed out. Make sure you leave enough time to organize the carpool – a month before the competition should be ample time. You can use a physical sign-up sheet in the studio, or you could use online sheets or create a private Facebook group for arranging the carpool.

VolunteerSpot recommended creating a permission slip for parents to sign that affirms that the parents are alright with you taking the students out of state, if applicable, and that you have their permission to get the kids medical treatment in the event of an emergency. In the month leading up to the competition, hold a meeting with parents – or send out an email – that outlines the details of the carpool trip like when and where the car will leave from, the route you will take, when the car will arrive and other pertinent information. Also, make sure you have all the parents’ contact info prior to heading out.

Dance Travel by Bus

While carpooling in one or a few vehicles can be an efficient and cost-effective way to get to the competition venue, factors like the distance to the event and large amounts of equipment or luggage may make renting a bus a better transportation option. Before booking a bus with a private company, make sure you do your due diligence and research.

Texas Meetings & Events magazine recommended that you book a bus early, since you can usually save money by making reservations far ahead of time. You should also have a meeting with a representative from the transportation company and ask them about the company’s insurance coverage, the experience of the drivers and their emergency protocols.

Make sure you consider the itinerary for the day of the competition – should the dancers be dropped off at a designated area near the hotel to meet up with their families first, or should the bus go directly to the competition? Taking the time to figure out the specifics of the trip will help the transportation go more smoothly.

Flying to the Competition

If the competition is several states away or on an opposite coast, it makes sense to fly to the venue. If you have just a few dancers traveling to the competition, it may make sense for each dancer to buy a ticket individually to the same flight, or for the studio to buy a batch of tickets for the dancers all at once and then be reimbursed later.

However, if you have a large group of dancers traveling, it may be a better idea to book the trip through a travel agent. U.S. News and World Report noted that agents can help large groups get discounts for flying together, so spend time looking at your options. Other considerations include coordinating transportation to the airport, figuring out accommodation and making sure everyone is checked in on time, which is easier to do these days because of mobile apps. If you are using a travel agent, he can help lock down these details.

Also, don’t forget to consider luggage limitations. It can be helpful to give dancers a checklist of what they should bring with them. Pay special consideration to costumes, which should ideally go in carry-on because of the risk that checked luggage could be lost. As Jayci Kalb from The Dance Centre in Alabama told DanceSpirit Magazine:

“I never pack my costume in my checked luggage. I put it in my carry-on, and it’s the first thing I pack.”

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Backstage Management: 3 Tips for Organizing Dancers Backstage

backstage management

On stage during a recital, audiences see the result of months of hard work. They watch in awe as your students dance gracefully and perfectly hit their choreography – hopefully. But what they don’t see is all the choreographed backstage management going on behind the scenes.

As any dance teacher knows, managing your dancers backstage can be rather stressful. With nervous kids – and teachers – costume mishaps and other various issues, keeping kids in line and focused can be a real headache.

Follow these tips for better backstage management at your studio’s next recital.

1. Practice Quick Costume Changes Ahead of Time

With your dancers performing multiple routines for one recital, they’ll need to be pros at quickly changing in and out of their costumes, along with any makeup or hair alterations. In reality, though, this isn’t always the case. To help them become better at changing quickly, have them practice switching costumes at the studio.

“Our students have 90 seconds between classes to change their shoes and be ready for the next class,” said Brandon Rios, artistic director of Old Dominion Performance Arts Studio in Virginia, in an interview with Dance Studio Life. “If they can get in the habit of changing quickly at the studio, they will be able to do it come performance day.”

So grab a stopwatch and time your dancers in the weeks leading up to the recital – the extra effort is worth it to save you and your dancers stress come performance time.

2. Repeat After Me: Stay in Your Designated Area!

Young kids have trouble staying put in general – add pre-performance anxiety to the mix, and you’ve got yourself some antsy dancers. Your students might also want to wander off to the audience area to chat with friends, or sneak down to the vending machine for a snack. Big no-nos. It’s important that your dancers stay put backstage. As Dance Advantage noted, you have a lot to manage and keep track of during the performance, and students wandering off means that they might miss their entrances or interrupt someone else’s, along with being a safety issue. So, pre-performance, drill into your students’ heads: stay in place!

3. Assemble a Super Team

There’s way to much going backstage for only you to be in charge, so you need to assemble a super team. Gather volunteers or other teachers and assign specific roles to them for the most seamless operation.

Carol Zee, artistic director of The Gabriella Foundation, told dance Studio Life that she assigns the following jobs: stage manager, on-deck supervisor, quick-change supervisor, stage left headset, stage right headset and dressing room monitors.

Looking for more tips on creating a great day-of recital experience? Check out these articles from guest blogger Misty Lown:

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Dance Studio Registration: Back-to-School Starts TODAY!

dance studio registration

It’s mid-April, right? If you own a dance studio, that’s not EXACTLY true. It may be the middle of April on your Google calendar, but if you are like me, your mind is somewhere closer to September.

Not convinced? Just take a look at your to-do list.

  1. Finalize fall schedule
  2. Find one more teacher for Tuesday nights.
  3. Send out teacher contracts.
  4. Take one final look at tuition changes.
  5. Add policy for kids who skip rehearsal and still show up at competition. 🙂

A successful Back-to-School experience starts today. Are you ready?

Keep reading for 7 things that you can do today for a successful September and a successful dance studio registration campaign.

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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Backstage Management Tools for Dance Recitals

Backstage Management Tools for Dance Recitals

As a studio owner, I have three lists running in my brain at all times. I’m always asking myself the following three questions:

What needs to be done today?
What needs to be done in the next 2-6 months?
What can I make for dinner without going to the store?

(Not kidding on that last one. Anyone whose business is open almost exclusively nights and weekends is sure to have some challenges in the getting-dinner-on-the-table department!)

But, back to practical things. It’s the second week of March, so while our bodies are busy distributing recital costumes and getting ready for competition, our minds are on RECITAL. And, a great show from the audience perspective is dependent on having an awesome act backstage.

Are you gearing up for recital? Keep reading for 5 Backstage Management Tools to make your backstage flow smoothly this year for all ages!

Studio owners don't pay ANYTHING when they use TutuTix.

Trouble viewing the article? Email us at info@tututix.com.

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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What Should Your Dance Studio Policies Be?

dance studio policies

Well-developed studio policies are essential to keeping your dance studio running smoothly. Not only that, they also help keep your sanity intact! If your policies are poorly drawn up, or don’t cover what they need to, then your classes will be disorganized and inefficient, dealing with parent and student issues will be a headache and you may not even receive the tuition payments that you deserve.

Strong, clear-cut studio policies are the gears that make the dance studio machine turn. However, creating policies is not as simple as just jotting a few basic rules down. Read on to learn how you can create the best policies for your business.

The Bottom Line

Suzanne Blake Gerety of DanceStudioOwner.com told listeners in a recent webinar that studio policies are the terms of a business transaction. Keep this thought at the forefront of your mind when creating your rules.

“When someone becomes a student, it’s easy for us to get caught in the warm welcome, without realizing that you’re doing a business exchange: tuition for education,” said one of the hosts.

You can’t continue to operate your dance studio and share your passion with students if you can’t make a profit. While emphasizing payment requirements may seem uncouth or harsh, it’s absolutely necessary to make sure they’re clearly communicated in your policies. Your time and expertise is valuable, so don’t be afraid to strongly express payment requirements – and stick with them. If a parent has an issue with tuition or other financial expectations, you can then point to the policies that were agreed upon ahead of time.

Keep It Snappy

Another factor to keep in mind when drafting your dance studio’s policies is that, like it or not, people have short attention spans in this digital age. That doesn’t mean you should skimp on creating comprehensive policies or leave things out, however, it’s worth it to think about how you can most effectively communicate your policies. Parents deal with demanding schedules and a million different responsibilities, not to mention how they have many forms to sign and disclaimers to read over for their children on a daily basis.

“They have messages coming at them from 8 million different directions and it’s getting more and more challenging to deliver and get the message into their hand, not only get it to them, but make them clearly understand it,” said one of the webinar hosts.

Keep policies clear and concise, and use images wherever you can to dynamically convey information. Bullet point lists break up longer blocks of content so parents can digest it more quickly. Put the most important information at the top, and bold, use color font, use all capital letters – or do all three – to make important deadlines stick out, or otherwise they will be missed. Also, post your policies in as many places as possible, so it’s easily accessible and never more than a few clicks away. Upload them on your website and email them to parents, and make sure you’re constantly regularly reminding students and parents about them.

Topics to Include

DanceStudioOwner.com provided a helpful checklist of which topics should be covered in your policies. These include:

  • Tuition and fee general information
  • Tuition & fees due date
  • Releases, consent forms and privacy policies
  • Attendance expectations and minimum participation policy
  • Dress code, class attire, student/parent conduct, studio rules and regulations

The most well-crafted policies in the world, however, don’t matter if they can’t be enforced. As one of the hosts of the policies webinar said:

“This is the hard part: imposing the late fee, kicking the kid out of class, not letting them perform in the recital. We agonize over this. Let me tell you, your policies do not carry any weight if you’re not ready to enforce them.”

Making sure your policies are followed ensures that you can provide the best dance education and experience for your students.

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How to Create Great Dance Registration Forms

How to Create Great Dance Registration Forms

Clear and concise dance registration forms make things easier for both dance parents and studio owners. Before drawing up a form or downloading a template off of the Internet, it’s important to give a little consideration to what will be included. Well-designed dance registration forms that contains only the most pertinent information will make it a snap for parents to register their children and for studio owners to organize and reference student information.

Paper or Online?

A primary consideration when designing a dance studio registration form is whether it will be in print, online or both. A paper form makes it easy for parents to sign their children up for classes on the spot, and can be handed out when owners are away from the studio, for example when running a table at a fair or after a performance. Additionally, a physical form makes sure that those without Internet access can still sign up for classes.

However, an online form provides convenience and accessibility from almost anywhere, especially as more and more people own smartphones and conduct their business online. Parents are already using their phones to take care of everyday tasks, like booking medical appointments and paying bills. A study by the Federal Reserve found that 52 percent of smartphone owners have used mobile banking in the last year, and research by Accenture estimated that two-thirds of patients will book their medical appointments online by the end of 2019.

By adapting to these digital habits, studio owners make registering for classes as easy as possible for parents. One studio owner started online registration through her studio’s website and offered a limited-time offer of 50 percent off the registration fee for parents that registered online, and saw great results. Another owner advertised online registration on her website and then received 80 registrations in addition to the 120 she got through her open house. Handling registration online also gives studio owners the extra benefit of being able to post registration reminders on Facebook and via email. Creating an online form is easy and cheap, since no printer is required! There are several easy and free ways to create online registration forms, like Google Forms and Wufoo.

Depending on a studio’s clientele and website budget, providing both paper forms and online registration may be the best option.

Sections to Include

The first section of your dance registration forms should be the student’s information, including his/her name, date of birth, home address and home telephone number. Then include the contact information of her parents, including the parents’ names, email addresses, cell phone numbers and emergency contact information. A line that asks parents to note whether they would prefer to communicate via email or phone is also helpful. Beneath the contact information, ask parents to list whether their children have any allergies or other medical concerns.

The next section should cover legal issues and policy acceptance. These affirm that the parent and student understand the rules of the studio, the risks associated with dance and their responsibilities for attendance and payment. DanceStudioOwner.com provides a sample legal agreement:

I understand that dance classes may include, without limitation, dancing with props, stretching, barre work, across the floor combinations, dance routines in the center, and other related activities. I further understand that all of the activities of the dance class involve some degree of risk of strain or bodily injury. XYZ Dance Studio is not responsible for personal property.

I have received the student handbook and agree to adhere to all the content stated therein including: Studio Policies,Tuition & Payment Information, Dress Code, Traffic Pattern, Visitor Weeks and Calendar

I agree to be responsible for reading studio correspondence and respecting deadlines, if applicable.

I hereby acknowledge that I have read the statements above and agree to participate accordingly.

Signature: _____________________________________ Date: ________________________

Next, include a section for listing which classes the student is signing up for. One way to do this is by creating a table with columns for the class name, scheduled date/time and tuition. Beneath the table, include a line for the registration fee and any additional expenses, like a recital fee or costume fee, followed by a line for the total balance due.

Some studio owners attach their class schedule and a condensed version of their policies to the dance registration forms so parents can easily reference them. Try to keep the whole document to as few pages as possible, though, since handing parents a stack of papers – or forcing them to click “Next Page” 50 times online – will only overwhelm them!

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Dance Teacher Training: 4 Surprises for New Dance Teachers

dance teacher training

When beginning any new job, you’re bound to make a few mistakes. The same goes for new dance teachers. Even after years of dance practices, routines and recitals, being a teacher for other dancers isn’t easy, and it can definitely difficult at the beginning. If you’re a new dance teacher, you want to make the best impression possible for your new dance studio teacher and your students. While some mistakes are unavoidable, others can be easily stepped past. Here are some tips for dance teacher training and the lessons to be learned from your students!

1. Juggling Too Many Things at Once

When you first become a dance teacher, you may bite off more than you can chew, Discount Dance noted. In some instances, you want to impress your boss so you take on more classes than you can handle, leaving you tired, weary and mistake-prone. It’s important to realize that you can only volunteer for as many classes as you can realistically take on.

It may be smarter to only begin with one or two classes and then add on a few more as you get the hang of things. In other instances, you might be the studio owner and the dance teacher. You may also be the receptionist and the studio cleaner. Taking on too many roles can leave you overwhelmed and cause your business to crumble before it even gets off the ground. If you just opened a dance studio, look into hiring dance students from local colleges as teachers.

2. Short Attention Spans

Sure, there is a lot more to being a dance teacher than just dancing. Any talented dance teacher will tell you that you have to have a passion for teaching at heart. However, though you might have had lectures in school, it’s important to not bring those to dance classes.

Whether you’re teaching young students or an older, advanced class, all students will become bored if they’re listening to a teacher ramble on. After awhile, they might even stop listening, Adventure and Me stated. Though you want to impress your dance students and let them get to know you, talking too much isn’t the right move. Instead, let them get to know you through your dance style and instruction!

3. Different Tones for Different Students

When many dance teachers begin their careers, it can be hard to differentiate the dance levels of students. You may be asked to take on a beginner’s class for adults and an advanced class for children, and it can lead you to potentially talk down to a student. After taking years of dance courses yourself, you may have a hard time understanding what different levels need and what they already know.

From teaching an advanced dancer a commonly known move or expecting a beginner to pick up a routine with very little flaws, these actions can be discouraging for dancers and potentially cause them to leave the class. Every good dance teacher supports her students and knows their exact skill levels, so they never feel out of their league or underwhelmed, Dance Advantage stated.

4. Students Need Repetition

As a dance student, you may have been a skilled learner and had the ability to pick up routines very quickly. Without issue you could get the basic moves down and quickly execute them with precision and grace. As a result, that may be the only style of teaching you’re familiar with.

Some dance teachers tend to rush through a routine with dancers, causing them to be confused and unorganized. As a teacher, it’s important to realize that your dancers aren’t familiar with your style – and pace – of dancing. When going through a routine for the first time, take it slow – your dancers will appreciate it!

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4 Tips for Refusing Re-enrollment To Problem Parents

Almost every dance studio owner has dealt with some problem parents at one point or another. Sometimes you might not see them coming, other times you can tell they’ll be difficult from a mile away. However it occurs, one bad apple tends to spoil the rest. You don’t want to let one parent turn all of the other parents against you, or encourage them to engage in the drama. So what is a dance studio owner to do? Consider these four tips on how to deal with troublesome dance parents and how to avoid welcoming them back for another year.

1. Have Legitimate Reasons

It is important for dance studio owners to have a contract that lays out the studio policies as well as the consequences for breaking those rules. All parents, and children if they’re of age, should sign this contract before enrolling. If a parent violates one of these rules, studio owners should document the incident and notify the parent.* Refer to your list of studio policies that the parent agreed to upon enrolling in your studio.

Most studio rules don’t welcome aggressive or negative behavior, regardless of whether it comes from the student or parent. It’s also important not to bring other dance parents into the mix. While they may agree with you, you don’t want to start drama between dance parents. However, it is OK to corroborate your opinion with other studio staff members to help support your stance.

2. Deal With Problems in a Timely Manner

Sometimes parents will cause a scene during the dance year, forget about it over the following summer, and assume they can come back and have a fresh start. However, you and other parents may not have forgotten about that incident. While you might be surprised by their attempts at re-entry, it does happen.

If studio owners don’t handle bad behavior right away, it could have unexpected consequences—other parents may be dismayed that a parent got away with poor behavior and choose to leave the studio. When these scenarios occur, it is vitally important to deal with them in a timely fashion.

3. Offer Feedback Forms

Some dance studios offer feedback forms, according to DanceAdvantage.net. These forms give parents the opportunity to mention any comments, good or bad, that they have about the studio. Sure, the commentary may not always be constructive, especially if they bring up something like a costume malfunction, but these forms can also help keep the peace and prevent gossip from stirring up.

Once these forms are submitted, dance owners and parents can sit down to discuss the issues at hand. Setting up a meeting can be a calm, constructive way to find a resolution for a problem. Sometimes, though, resolutions cannot be found. At this point, you’re allowed to note that it’s studio policy and can calmly suggest that they find another studio to go to. Even though it isn’t the best way to refuse a parent back, you can do so knowing that you tried your best to hear the parent’s point of view.

4. Note Issues With Tardiness and Payments

Tardiness shouldn’t be welcomed at practice or any other time, as it can quickly become a habit. Dancers who show up late may throw off routines, cause practices to go later or could compromise a dance recital.

As a studio owner, it’s important to discuss your rules about tardiness with parents. Note the issues that arise from tardiness, and its effects on other dancers and parents. The same goes for payments. To keep your business up and running, you need to charge parents for their children’s lessons. Whether you charge them weekly, monthly or bi-annually is up to you.

However, if a parent doesn’t pay, it can quickly become an issue. If a parent consistently forgets or owes the studio a significant amount of money, it’s acceptable to terminate his or her contract. Discuss with the parent how lack of payment affects the studio as well as the purchase of costumes, footwear and equipment. Hopefully the parent will understand these legitimate reasons for not being welcomed back.

*Reader and veteran studio owner Danie Beck also suggested that in some cases, after you’ve spoken with the parent it may be a good idea to put the dismissal and the reasoning behind it in writing and send it to the parent. If you do, she noted that you should be sure to send it to them “return receipt requested,” so everyone is on the same page and there won’t be any surprises at registration time.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to include reader feedback.

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Back-to-Dance Tips: How to Thrive

Back-to-Dance Tips: How to Thrive

Does the thought of having to sub for someone on top of your already hectic schedule make you sweat? Does the idea of having to plan a holiday show keep you up at night? Is your laundry piling up at home while you teach plies at the studio? Are you having trouble keeping up with bookwork now that the studio is in full session? Do you stare 5 p.m. in the face each day and say, “Dinner? What’s that? I’ll have one of those over Christmas break.”

If so, you may have a case of the “Back-to-Dance Blues!”

And, if this is you, it’s time to re-focus the lens on your attitude and actions so that you can thrive, not just survive in the coming months.

Keep reading these back-to-dance tips to get back your A+ game in 3 easy (but not-so-easy) steps…

Studio owners don't pay ANYTHING when they use TutuTix.

Trouble viewing the article? Email us at info@tututix.com.

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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Solve 5 Common Problems When Teaching Preschool Dance Classes

teaching preschool dance classes

The same things that you love about young dancers – their high energy, cute behavior and candid outbursts – can often become the things you struggle with the most during dance class. On good days, you may walk away after teaching preschool dance classes with a big smile and lots of hugs! But on the less-than-perfect days, the hour might as well have been spent herding cats.

Teaching young dancers comes with its own set of challenges, but the good news is that many of these problems are easy to solve. Here are five common problems that you may experience when teaching preschool dance classes and how you can solve them.

1. Making a Scene

According to HealthDay, kids between the ages of 3 and 6 are particularly prone to tantrums, as this is the time when children start to exert their independence. This is also around the same age when young kids enroll in dance classes for the first time. So what’s a teacher to do when an unhappy dancer starts making a scene?

Stacey Schwartz, founder of the Leaping Legs Creative Movement Program, explained on the 4dancers blog that in times like these, it’s essential that dance teachers have good relationships with parents. After all, who knows better how to calm an upset child than her parent? If a dancer has an outburst or tantrum, approach her parent after class and ask for pointers if the situations arises again.

2. Not Paying Attention

Young dancers are easily distracted. Something as simple as a person talking in the waiting room may be enough to make your students lose focus – especially if they’re not engaged to begin with. Dance Advantage explained that you need to be the most interesting thing in the room if you want your students to pay attention. To achieve this goal, you’ll need to keep the energy high throughout class. Play games, try new activities and move on if something’s falling short.

3. Fussing Over Props

One poster on a Dance.net forum expressed her frustration that her young students constantly fuss over props. She got to the point where she avoided using them in class because she knew the students would fight over getting the color they wanted or some other trivial factor.

It definitely makes it hard to teach when students argue over who gets the pink bean bag. There are two solutions you can try. The first is to pick props that are all the same – no color, size or pattern variations. The other, as suggested by Dance.net members, is to adopt the maxim “You get what you get, and you don’t get upset!”

4. Talking Back

Students who are wielding their newfound independence often talk back. You probably won’t get anything rude or offensive with young kids, but you’ll certainly encounter resistance to instructions or discipline. Education World explained that the key rule when dealing with backtalk is to simply not respond. You’ll get further simply waiting in silence for the student to comply than arguing with the dancer.

5. Not Retaining Lessons

It’s certainly frustrating when you spend 15 minutes working on plies, only to have your students forget everything they learned by the next class. However, keep in mind that your students are new to dance, and that the best way for them to learn is by repetition. Don’t be afraid to try new activities and games to mix things up, but make sure you’re reviewing essential skills often. This will help your little dancers retain the techniques that they’ll need to advance in their dance careers.

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8 Lessons You’ll Learn as a Dance Studio Owner

You may think that you know what you’re getting into when you decide to open a dance studio. After all, you’ve likely been involved in the industry for a good part of your life. However, there are definitely some tough lessons you’ll learn when you enter the business side of the dance world. Here are 8 things you’ll come to understand throughout your time as a dance studio owner.

1. ‘No’ is a powerful and necessary word

As a new business owner, you’ll likely want to say yes to everything. It’s hard to tell people no, especially when you are just starting to build relationships with your customers. However, make sure you balance the needs of your students and parents with the needs of the studio. It’s a delicate scale, and you’ll occasionally have to use “no” to keep the balance in check.

2. You need an written, actionable plan

You probably have goals, plans and aspirations for your studio, and that’s great! But you should really be putting them in writing, otherwise they’re easy to forget or lose sight of. This is where an actionable business plan comes in handy – write a detailed roadmap before you open your studio and make sure to update it every year.

You may have the dance skills, but do you have the business savvy?You may have the dance skills, but do you have the business savvy?

3. Your dance know-how isn’t enough

Your pirouettes and plies will come in handy when you’re teaching young dancers, but they’re not going to help you much when it comes time to pay taxes, send invoices or market your studio. Small business owners of all sorts need to have some business-savvy if they’re going to excel, so you may need to purchase a how-to book or sign up for a seminar to fill out your skill set.

4. Customer service isn’t a cakewalk

No two mama dramas are alike, and you’ll be faced with a host of problems throughout your time as a studio owner. It’s important to figure out how you’ll deal with problem parents, diva students and other issues that affect the atmosphere at your school. Your customer service can make or break your studio, so be sure to give it the attention it deserves.

5. Your support system is key

Because you’re serving as a teacher, marketer, book keeper, administrator and more, there will be days when you’re exhausted and overwhelmed. This is when you need your support system more than ever. Whether it’s your spouse, friend, partner, child or fellow teacher, you should have someone who’s there to lend a hand on your toughest days. If you go at it alone, chances are that you’ll wind up with more gray hair than you bargained for.

6. Not everyone will like you

It’s human nature to want people to like you, but very few business owners go through their careers without stepping on a few toes. Sometimes you’ll have to say “no” – as mentioned in No. 1 – and this can lead to upset parents, dejected dancers or disgruntled teachers. Do your best to mend the relationship when this happens, and continue on your way.

Running a business isn't all fun and games, but that doesn't mean it has to be unenjoyable. Running a business isn’t all fun and games, but that doesn’t mean it has to be unenjoyable.

7. At the end of the day, you’re running a business

The reality of the business world is that only 50 percent of companies survive for five years and just 30 percent last 10 years or more. If you’re in this for the long haul, you need to keep in mind that you’re running a business! Each decision you make should be beneficial to the studio if you want to make it in the competitive world of dance.

8. The hard work is worth it

You know the happiness that fills you up when you do something you love? Well you’ll probably get to feel that way every day you’re in the studio. Teaching people to dance is amazingly rewarding, and you’ll find that even on your longest days, you have a smile on your face.

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5 Ways to Make Your Dance Instructors’ Lives Easier

What would your studio be without your awesome dance instructors? They’re the ones working with students, helping put together recital pieces and fending parent questions. In many dance schools, instructors are an integral part of the business.

However, being a dance teacher isn’t all tutus and glitter. There are times when your instructors will be stressed and frustrated, and it’s in your best interest to help alleviate some of their problems to make their lives a little easier. Here are five common problems that studio owners can solve for the sake of their teachers.

1. Set Clear Studio Policies

You may not realize it, but if your studio has lax or unclear policies, it can end up affecting your teachers. On a Dance.net forum, a few instructors explained that when their studios do a poor job of communicating with parents, setting up dress codes or explaining expected class behaviors, it makes their lives a lot harder.

Setting up set policies for your school is a quick fix to this issues, and it not only will benefit your teachers, but it will likely help out you and your business as a whole.

2. Enforce Pickup and Dropoff Times

Your teachers likely love their charges, but that doesn’t mean they want to hang out with students for 20 minutes after class ends. Instructors have lives too, and many times, they’ll have places they need to be. It’s your job as the studio owner to enforce your pickup and dropoff times so that no one has to be babysitting after class is over.

3. Be a Parent Buffer

Mama drama is inevitable sometimes, and you should be there to help your instructors deal with unhappy parents. Establish clear guidelines for parent complaints and make sure you’re involved in the resolution process. It will take a whole lot of stress off the shoulders of your teachers.

4. Limit Parent Observation

Parents love to watch their little dancers perform, but it’s often distracting for the class and the instructor. Find a way to minimize distractions that come along with parent observation, whether it’s by setting up limited class time when parents can watch or installing a one-way mirror or TV monitoring system.

5.Offer Compensation for Any Extras

There may be times when you really need a teacher to stay after hours with a student or to help set up for a recital. However, it’s important that you realize what tasks aren’t in the usual scope of a dance instructor’s job description and offer additional compensation if necessary.

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Dance Registration That Rocks

Dance Registration That Rocks

It’s THAT time of year again! Yes, you know it….

ZERO time.

Zero time? Yes. That’s what I call the period after recital. In my world, it looks something like this:

  • From eating out every day at rehearsals to ZERO food in the fridge at home the next week.
  • From 800 students on the day of the last recital to ZERO students the next day.
  • From performance adrenaline to ZERO energy the morning after recital.
  • From hundreds of people telling you how great you are at the show to seemingly making ZERO people happy after fall placements come out.

It may feel like zero time to those of us in the trenches of dance studio ownership, but to quote YouTube sensation ‘Sweet Brown,’ “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”

It’s dance registration time, people! So kick off the recital dust and “zero time” blues and get ready for 5 Tips for Dance Registration that Rocks:

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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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A Guide to Selling Dance Recital Flowers

Recital Flowers

One tried-and-true method of generating a little extra income at your studio’s dance recitals is to sell bouquets of dance recital flowers to proud parents. This strategy is genius, as parents love having the option to pick up lovely flowers for their dancers without having to make a pit stop at the florist. However, it often takes studios a few years to perfect their flower-selling processes, as the cost, supply and execution can be a bit confusing. If you’re selling bouquets for the first time, here are some tips to help you make the most out of this recital extra.

Determine the Demand

The first time you’re selling bouquets at your end-of-season recital, you probably won’t know how many to order. Should you assume that half of parents will purchase flowers? Or maybe three-fourths? It can easily become a guessing game.

However, it’s best to come up with an informed estimate instead of picking a random number. After all, you don’t want to end up with 20 extra bouquets, as that’s just a waste of money. Consider sending out a survey to parents to get an estimate of how many people would buy recital flowers and what price point they’re interested in.

When in doubt, err on the lesser side. It’s better to sell out than to have bouquets left over.

Arrange for Flower Delivery

Hopefully you left ample time in your flower-planning process to arrange for delivery. Dance Exec recommended that you contact local florists at least one to two months in advance. If you wait until the last minute, you might not be able to get competitive quotes on the style of bouquets you’d like. You also may want to explore online vendors, such as 48 Longstems. Odds are, you’ll get a better price online.

When you’re ordering, keep the price point that parents agreed to in mind. You’ll want to mark up the flowers at much as possible so you can optimize your profits. If you can find quality bouquets for $10 a bundle, you should aim to sell them for around $20 a piece. Another option to consider is just purchasing a large quantity of roses or carnations and allowing parents to purchase one or more for around $5.

Consider Pre-Selling Bouquets

Another option that dance studio owners suggested on this Dance.net forum is to pre-sell recital flowers. This takes a lot of the guess work out of the equation and also eliminates the need for someone to man the bouquet booth on recital day.*

If you’re going to do a pre-sale, create order forms and hand them out to your parents. Then you simply give the orders and payment to your local florist, and let them take care of the rest! Parents can pick up their pre-ordered bouquet on recital day. The only downside of this method is that some parents might forget to place their orders and be disappointed come recital day. If you think this may be the case, pick up a few extra arrangements for last-minute sales. Be sure to mark the prices up accordingly!

Other Merchandise to Stock Up On

When you’re selling bouquets at recitals, chances are that parents will be willing to purchase other add-ons for their accomplished dancers. For this reason, it is often beneficial to have other merchandise available at recitals. Consider having branded studio attire, balloons, teddy bears, trophies or recital DVD forms available for parents. These inexpensive items are often a hit with students and parents alike, and they are a great way to generate a little extra revenue for your studio.

*Studios that use TutuTix to sell recital tickets can also pre-sell items (like flowers) through our system! Interested? Drop us a line, we’d be happy to walk through it with you.

 

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Dance Recital Checklist: Help Students Prepare

Dance recital checklist

Can you believe it’s that time of a year again? It seems like just yesterday students were worried about their first day of dance class, and now the seasonal recital is quickly approaching. Recitals are often the highlight of the dance year, so make a dance recital checklist and help students be adequately prepared for the big day. Here’s how dancers can get ready for their dance recitals.

“Luck favors the prepared, so start early!”

Get Ready the Day Before

Luck favors the prepared, so students should start getting ready for their big show the day before. This will ensure that you take the time to carefully pack all your belongings and can review your checklist a few times.

When you’re packing for a dance recital, you’ll want to bring many of the same things that you’d bring to a dance competition. Be sure you have proper undergarments, extra tights, all your different shoes and excess makeup. It’s also a good idea to bring a light snack, baby wipes, feminine products and beauty tools like nail clippers, hair brushes and lots of bobby pins.

Once your bags are packed, go to bed! A good night’s sleep will help you stay energetic and excited throughout the long day ahead.

Have your beauty essentials on hand to touch up smudges and smears. Have your beauty essentials on hand to touch up smudges and smears.

Be Prepared for Unexpected Issues

Any experienced dancer will tell you that there are a lot of little things that can go wrong on recital day. Whether it’s something small like your bra strap breaking or makeup getting smudged or a bigger woe like stage fright, preparation is key to dealing with these issues.

To prevent any costume malfunctions, it’s a good idea to try on each of your outfits and give them a test run. Do a few leaps and twirls to see if there’s any slipping, slouching or tugging. Once you’ve adjusted and packed up your costumes, double-check that you have extra bra straps, tights, hair nets and the like. It’s better to have them on hand than to end up rushing around to find supplies last minute.

Another issue that people run into on recital day is parking! Review any handouts that the studio gave to parents before you leave for the venue. Plan to arrive a little bit early so you can get a prime spot and don’t have to worry about rushing through hair and makeup.

Get excited before your recital - it's your time to shine!Get excited before your recital – it’s your time to shine!

Get in the Right Mindset

Your attitude can truly make or break your recital experience. Some dancers are predisposed to stage fright, and that’s OK! Just be prepared with a few calming exercises that will help calm your mind and banish those jitters. Try taking a few slow, deep breaths or getting into a relaxing yoga pose.

When you’re waiting backstage, resist the urge to practice your steps. Chances are that you’ve got them down, so focus on getting excited for the performance. After all, it’s your time to shine! Take pictures with your friends, listen to pump-up music or simply visualize your success. Positivity will help you bring your natural radiance to the stage and dance your heart out!

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