You know just how much work is required before, during and after a seasonal recital. It’s certainly more than your two hands (and the hands of your instructors) can handle! If you’re thinking about asking for volunteers to help out at your next big performance, it’s a good idea – if you do it right! Use these ideas for dance recitals to choose the best people for the job, ensure everything goes smoothly and make it enjoyable for everyone.
The Best Helpers
Your first thought will be to ask parents to help, and while they will probably be happy to volunteer, Dance Studio Life suggested you only use parents as a last resort. The parents paid you to teach their children, so if possible, let them enjoy the performance in all its glory. Instead of parents, ask studio alumni to help. Former students can run the front-of-house and backstage operations while your instructors take care of the dancers. Offering to organize an alumni dance will often be all the incentive your alumni need!
You know best what you need extra help with on performance days, but don’t forget the little things. Use volunteers in the following roles:
Bringing classes to and from the stage
Depending on how many volunteers you have, some helpers may need to take on multiple roles. Make sure you have a list of assignments ready to go on the performance date. Assigning tasks is much easier than letting people choose and having a list will ensure everyone knows where to be.
If you do have parent volunteers, make sure they get a job near their children. Dance Advantage suggested having moms coordinate fun and quiet activities to play with kids backstage or adjust costumes and jewelry. This ensures they’ll get quality time with their little dancers and can watch the show from behind the scenes.
Communication Best Practices
It may take a few years to get your communication practices to flow smoothly, but in the meantime, communicate with your volunteers as much as possible. Dance Studio Life recommended you send out a detailed letter to each individual a few weeks before the show. Lay out the date and time of the recital, where they will be stationed, what their responsibilities will be and how they can contact you. Encourage volunteers to ask any questions beforehand. A few days before the show, reach out via phone or email to make sure everyone is still on board. This way you won’t be caught off guard if someone has a last-minute commitment.
Thanking Your Volunteers
If you want your volunteers to come back next season, ensure they have a good time and know how much you appreciate their help. There are a number of different method you can use, depending on your budget. If you have some money to spare, you can throw a pizza party for everyone or provide some desserts for after the show. Another fun idea from Non-Profit 2.0 is to give each helper a personalized thank you letter and a T-shirt from your studio. It’s a small token of your appreciation that will serve as a reminder of their experience and hopefully encourage them to stay involved. Finally, you can create a volunteer board in your studio with pictures from the show or post an photo album to social media with a public word of thanks.
The quality of instruction at a dance studio can make or break the business. When opening your own studio, you want friendly, approachable, expert instructors, but how are you supposed to find them? Here are a few tips for finding and hiring the best dance instructor for your studio.
There are many websites where dance instructors can post their resumes, such as Dance.net, Indeed.com and other regional sites. This is definitely a good place for a studio owner to start. If you’re lucky, you’ll find a few qualified candidates in your area that you can then bring in for an interview. However, if the stars don’t quite align, you may find there are too many candidates or none at all.
The preferable situation is having too many options. In this case, you’ll probably be overwhelmed with impressive resumes. To wade through them, start by weeding out anyone who doesn’t have professional dance experience. Next, you’ll want to see if applicants have references you can call. A well-crafted resume can hide problems with work ethic or discipline skills. Don’t be afraid to do a little digging before you bring potential teachers in for interviews.
Writing a Job Description
If you choose to take the opposite approach and post a job listing, Dance Informa explained that it’s important to write a detailed and accurate description. Whether online, in a local paper or on a flier, a job posting should include the job title, a thorough description including typical duties and relationships, the qualifications needed, the time requirement and the location. You might also want to include the salary so applicants know exactly what to expect. Be clear in your expectations, so that your candidate pool is full of high-talent individuals from which to choose the best dance instructor.
Stick to What You Know
When in doubt, Dance Studio Life recommended that studio owners hire teachers they’ve worked with before. This can mean a former student, friend or colleague whose attitude and ability you’re familiar with. The blog explained that these instructors are more likely to absorb the studio’s culture quickly because they’re already familiar with you and your business style. You can also ask other studio owners for references.
Invite Candidates to Guest Teach
Don’t be afraid to give your final candidates a trial run. Dance Studio Coach suggested that you invite your favorite applicants to guest teach a few classes. This method allows you to see how your students interact with the teacher, observe his or her teaching style and note how comfortable the candidate is in front of a class. However, Dance Studio Coach explained that you’ll be expected to pay guest teachers, so discuss the pay rate in advance. Seeing a potential teaching candidate in action will help you make an informed decision when picking the best dance instructor for your studio.
You may be ready for the new dance season, but are your teachers?
Every year is a fresh chance to build on your strengths and shore up your weaknesses as a studio owner. Back-to-dance meetings are a prime opportunity to tweak policies, update curriculum, raise standards, communicate vision and re-energize your faculty for the long haul ahead.
Get everyone on your team marching to the same beat this year in with a “Three Layer Meeting.” This article will show you how.
As a studio owner, you probably relish your free time in the summer. However, you’ll want to be ready for back to dance season before the air cools and kids head back to school. Make sure you incorporate these six steps into your pre-season checklist, because before you know it your dancers will be back!
The offseason is the best time to attend to the peeling paint and dusty corners in your studio. The Dance Buzz recommended refinishing your floors, cleaning out messy rooms and upgrading your waiting room while you have an empty studio. You can also use this time to spruce up your landscaping, clean windows and mirrors, scrub down changing rooms and plan any construction that may need to be done. It’s also a great opportunity to make space for new trophies you’ve earned. Don’t put these tasks off until the season starts, or you’ll be setting yourself up for a headache.
2. Revise paperwork
You’ll want to review and rework your paperwork before classes start up again. This includes applications, schedules, billing forms, liability waivers and general contracts. Some forms may just require a few simple date changes, but it’s important to double-check all your paperwork for policies or contact info that may have changed. If you alter any legal documents, have them double-checked by an expert. You probably don’t keep up with local legislation, but a lawyer will know if any new laws affect your practice.
3. Meet with staff
The Dance Exec explained that you should make a point to meet with all your instructors before each new season. You can choose to meet with them individually or as a group. Either way, it will give them a chance to discuss any problems or concerns they might have and brainstorm solutions together. You should also go over any new policies, talk about your goals for the year and reiterate how much you appreciate their hard work. Keeping your staff included in the business will ensure that they are dedicated to their work and aligned with your goals.
4. Reorganize and redecorate
If your filing cabinets are a mess and the curtains are faded, take the time to reorganize your office and spruce up the studio. Evaluate what aspects of your file storage system are working and what could be improved. It’s a lot easier to establish a new system in the offseason than trying to implement one between classes. You should also evaluate whether your studio is aesthetically appealing. A bright and happy dance space will make a good first impression on potential students, and summer is the best time to repaint the walls and design a new sign.
5. Strategize your marketing
If you’re looking to expand your class offerings or raise your prices this season, plan ahead with your marketing efforts. Dance Informa recommended having your graphics and advertisements designed in advance. Make a calendar of which publications you’ll be sending ads to and when each one is due. Clear a special spot for it on your cork board so you won’t be scrambling to meet deadlines.
6. Book performance space
Finally, use your free time to book performance space for next season’s recitals. This way you can include the dates and times of each performance on schedules for parents. It’s just one more hassle that you can get out of the way early. Plus when you book a theater far in advance, you’ll get the best dates and times.