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 Two Weeks Before the Show
Luck favors the prepared, so dancers should start getting ready for their big show with plenty of time before the performance date. This will ensure that you take the time to carefully pack all your supplies 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 makeup supplies.
Do you have a schedule for the day planned out? While a recital might “start” at 6PM, dancers will be required to arrive early to check in, get prepared, potentially take pictures: there’s a lot going on! As a dance family, make sure you’ve looked through all of the emails and information your studio has sent you to be sure you know little details that can make a big difference, such as:
Parking for the recital (guest parking and dancer parking)
How to purchase tickets for the performance
Where to check in
Where to pick up any studio merchandise or flowers for dancers
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 a bra strap breaking or makeup getting smudged, preparation is key to dealing with these issues.
Part of that is getting in the right mindset: 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!
Own Your Show
The recital is an opportunity for dancers to leave everything they have on the stage, and to truly enjoy doing what they love. Your entire dance community will be there, and they’re there to support you! So make the days before your recital count.
Show up to class and give it 100%. Ask questions and make sure you have everything you need to do the best job that you can. And finally, love the dancers who are next to you on stage, and be as supportive for them as you hope they can be for you!
It’s official. The Worst Dance Mom Awards are out and the winner is (insert drumroll)…me.
Shocked? Don’t be. Many dance studio owners and teachers have a unique ability to organize the competition and recital experiences of hundreds of children while seemingly forgetting about their own offspring.
I think it must be a strange survival mechanism hardwired into the DNA of studio owners and teachers: “Take care of the students, take care of the students or they might not re-enroll for fall classes! Your family may live like a pack wild wolves for a couple of weeks, but they will survive!”
Hmmmm…does this sounds familiar to you? Keep reading for seven signs that you, too, are in the running for Worst Dance Mom of the Year.
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.
As wonderful as all your dance students are, there’s always a chance that one or two parents will try to skip out on their bills. It’s certainly an unfortunate and awkward situation to handle, but it’s often an inevitable part of being a small business owner. While every situation is unique, and there may be instances in which you are able to meet privately with a parent and work out payment arrangements, there will be times that parents simply aren’t paying their fees. When you’ve sent multiple invoices, made phone calls, sent emails, etc. and received nothing back, you have two main options: accept that you probably won’t see that money or enlist the help of a collection agency.
There are probably a lot of considerations you’ll want to take into account before hiring a collection agency, but the bottom line is whether the service will be worth it for your particular situation. If you are a dance studio owner, here’s how you can figure out if you need to go to collection and a few tips to make the process a smooth one.
Are Collection Agencies Worth It?
Perhaps the most important factor to take into account when deciding how to handle past-due bills is whether going to collection will be worth it financially. If you have a customer who owes $50, chances are that the process of sending the account to collection and having service fees deducted won’t be worth it for the minimal amount of money you’ll get in return. However, bigger bills can sometimes make or break your studio, and if you get the sense the parents aren’t going to pay, it might be time to call in the professionals. After all, it’s better to get a portion of the total bill after the agency’s commission than to get nothing at all.
Many small business owners think that if they’re persistent, they can collect the money themselves. This is sometimes the case, but it will likely sap your time and resources to be calling, emailing and mailing the customers in question. You should also realize that the longer an invoice is past due, the less likely you are to see your money. A survey from the Commercial Collection Agency Association found that after three months, the probability of you collecting the money drops by 30 percent. At six months past due, there’s only a 50 percent chance that you’ll be able to collect.
Will Using a Collection Agency Hurt Your Reputation?
Sometimes small business owners are hesitant to work with collection agencies because it will hurt the company’s reputation. It’s no secret that customers generally dislike collection agencies, and there’s always the chance that the disgruntled parent will tell your other customers what transpired.
It’s a real possibility and you’ll have to decide if you’re willing to take the risk. However, one studio owner put the issue into perspective on a forum about collection agencies.
“If people don’t like collection agencies, then they need to pay their bills or at the least work out an arrangement to pay off the debt,” explained the owner on Dance.net. “A dance studio is a business and needs to be thought of as a business and run like a business.”
As always, payment policies should be clearly stated in registration materials and student contracts. Since payment issues could potentially affect a student who is still taking classes, carefully think through whether students with delinquent accounts can still attend, and make sure those policies are also communicated. If you run into problems down the road, these policies will give you a solid foundation for dealing with delinquent payments, and will help protect your studio’s reputation.
How Can You Streamline the Process?
The first time you use a collection agency, you may be a little lost in the process. However, you can make the ordeal easier by picking the right agency to work with and knowing what to expect.
When choosing a company to handle your collections, ask if they’ve worked with dance studios before and get references if possible. Call the other studios and see what their experiences were like before you sign up with an agency. The Fox Small Business Center recommended you check that the company is authorized to collect money from debtors in other states in case your past-due customers have recently moved. Don’t be afraid to get in touch with a few different agencies to find the one that’s the best fit for your needs.
Once you’ve chosen a company to work with, you can sit back and let them handle the awkward encounters. However, be aware that your past-due customers may very well call you to try and work things out. In these situations, you should simply explain that the matter is in the hands of the collection agency now and all communication and payment should go through them. Remember: You’re completely within your rights as a business owner to do what it takes to get the money you’re owed!
It’s always a good idea to build a relationship with the agency, especially if you think you’ll need to use them again. Be available to answer their questions and try to set up a meeting so you can talk about best collection practices face-to-face.
“When you hire a collection agency, you’re hiring a business partner,” Martin Sher, co-owner of AmSher Receivables Management, explained to Fox. “Smart clients meet with their agencies, discuss any issues that arise, provide them with any information they need and give them feedback.”
Using a collection agency probably won’t be an enjoyable experience, but at the end of the day, you’ll come out a stronger, more efficient business owner.
There will be times in your career when parents don’t always agree with your choices or teaching methods. Even as an adult, it’s hard to deal with criticism from other people, especially when it’s said behind your back. If parents are unhappy during or after dance competitions, chances are that they will talk about it in the studio waiting room or even on social media. These instances can be hard to handle, so use these tips for dance competitions to make the most of an uncomfortable situation.
Set Expectations Beforehand
The first step toward dispelling negativity during or after competitions is to set up clear expectations for students, parents and teachers. DanceStudioOwner.com recommended that you explain to everyone that it’s necessary to stay professional and keep a positive attitude in person and on social media. No matter how well students perform, the experience shouldn’t be all about winning, but rather learning and having fun.
It may also be helpful to explain to parents that their words and behavior have a significant impact on dancers. Many young athletes, dancers included, will eventually give up competitive sports because they feel as though they’re under a lot of pressure to perform and the game is no longer fun. Encourage parents to do everything they can to make competitions fun for their children and alleviate the pressure to win.
One of the best things you can do to flesh out any discontent or complaints about competitions is to promote dialogue between parents and staff. If you notice that parents are only expressing their concerns to each other, it might be a good idea to host a town-hall style meeting or one-on-one conferences to get these thoughts out in the open. However, keep in mind that if you want parents to feel comfortable voicing their concerns and complaints to you, it’s essential to remain empathetic, understanding and professional. Chances are that parent grievances are not an attack on you as a business owner, even though they may initially come off that way.
Establish a Social Media Policy
While you can’t control what parents and students post on their own social media accounts, you can ask them to remain respectful and positive while posting on or about your studio’s page. Many studios choose to create a social media policy that outlines what content they encourage and what type of comments will be removed. For example, the New Zealand School of Dance states in its policy that they “welcome feedback, comments, reviews and ideas from all followers” but request that these contributions are respectful and appropriate for all viewers.
Have you ever been at a dance competition and realized you don’t have any hairspray? Or maybe it was bandages. Or bobby pins! Every studio owner, dance teacher, or dancer has that moment of panic when everyone is backstage and you’ve forgot that important item. Hopefully, someone can lend a hand, but you’ll want to be prepared next time! Here are some tips for putting together a dance competition survival kit with all the essentials so you can avoid those “uh-oh” moments.
Editor’s Note: Readers have offered some great suggestions on additional items to add to your competition survival kit. This article has been edited to add their ideas. Thanks to readers Pam B., Elayne S., Katie B., Senaida T., and Jennifer P.!
First thing’s first. In your dance competition survival kit, we’ve found it’s easiest to bring along a large plastic container, preferably on wheels and with a number of compartments for easy storage. Along those lines, it’ll come in handy to have different size resealable bags when you’re packing so you can group similar items together and label everything clearly. For labeling? A Sharpie (or two, or ten, because Sharpies somehow always disappear).
If there’s something that you know you’ll need, you better have some extra on hand. The Rockettes website suggested you bring extra:
Shoelace “stick” to keep them tied
A multi-tool for tightening taps
Lighter (for burning costume frays)
Sewing kit with scissors
You’ll also want to have extra makeup for last minute touch ups. It’s a good idea to bring:
Any other cosmetics your dancers use
First Aid/Personal Care
The next essential component of a dance competition survival kit is the first aid portion. A standard care kit is a good place to start, as it will contain bandages, ointment and wraps. You may want to throw in the following:
Only you know what unexpected needs crop up at your competitions, but here are a few miscellaneous items that may come in handy:
A notepad and pen (to jot down those “wow” moments, or emergency information)
Extra CDs with your music
Copies of the competition schedule
Static cling spray
A power strip (charging station, anyone?)
And finally, a good attitude! Once you have your survival kit put together, you’ll be set for future competitions too. Just leave it in a closet for storage and be sure to replace any items you use. Plus, it can come in handy as a “dance recital survival kit” as well.