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The Digital Dilemma in Dance Studios:  Purposeful Boundaries & Opportunities for Engagement

The Digital Dilemma in Dance Studios

With increased consumer engagement rapidly expanding in the digital sphere, how do we create purposeful boundaries and opportunities for engagement in our dance studios? The line between the personal and professional can often be blurry in this sphere, and it’s caused a serious digital dilemma. If we embrace the strategic potential of the platform versus resisting change, it can result in exciting and meaningful growth for our businesses.

THE DIGITAL DILEMMA:

The ability for us to “be connected” all the time is certainly a recognized dilemma in our society. While it is amazing to have the ability to remotely check-in, it is also putting a strain on our mental health and emotional well-being. Purposeful boundaries are necessary in order for us to continue thriving in our businesses, our creativity, and our personal lives.

In the New Year, try the following:

  • Schedule Phone-Free Times Each Day
  • Schedule Email Checkpoints to Refrain from Constantly Refreshing Your Device
  • Make Your Time Spent Online Intentional: Try to Refrain from Mindless Scrolling.
  • Set Boundaries (and Enforce Them) re: Social Media Engagement. Business Questions should be handled via email or through the office.
  • Make Sure You Maintain and Enjoy Non-Digital Activities
  • Keep Dance Classes a Digital Distraction-Free Space (for students + instructors)

 

THE DIGITAL STRATEGY:

 

  • 1-page intro to recital sheet in every student’s digital welcome packet at the start of each season
  • A detailed timeline of when to expect information, including specific dates/times for emails so they can easily search to reference materials
  • The dissemination of information by class, so families are not overwhelmed or confused by too much information at once
  • A digital, all you need to know recital guide for parents and students
  • Recital Q+A Events: In-Person and on Instagram

BUILD THE HYPE 

The recital is something to celebrate, and we plan events to make the experience an inclusive conversation piece in our programming.

While we only work on choreography in classes during the months of March, April, and May, we start promoting the Recital and its surrounding events in January with our Theme + Costume Reveal.

Other ways we hype up the show include:

  • Conversation Components to involve the family outside of the studio. For example, if your show is based around books, create a family reading list. If your show features character concepts, consider age-appropriate worksheets for a series of monthly themes.
  • Shared Choreography Rehearsal Videos so families can rehearse their routine(s) at home. This increases the students’ accountability, involves the parent in the process, and generates respect for the rehearsal process, as well.
  • A Recital Pep Rally featuring photo booths, themed stations, merchandise sales and seminars (how to make a bun, packing your backstage bag, etc.)
  • Complimentary group photos that are taken at dress rehearsal and posted to social media prior to the performance days.
  • Studio Branded step and repeat for use on show days
  • “I Rocked Recital!” Buttons that are distributed to every student prior to the Recital Curtain Call at every performance.

CREATE YOUR RECITAL PLAYBOOK 

In order for your clients to benefit from a smooth and easy recital experience, you have to enter the season calm and in control. The recital is a major undertaking, and with appropriate planning, you’ll be able to enjoy it as much as your students!

  • Set a timeline and stick to it. With our timeline, everything is finished a month prior to the show.
  • Train your staff on the general aesthetic of the show. Every routine and every recital should fit the overall brand of the studio.
  • Implement systems (e.g. hiring a stage manager to deal with the production components)  and/or vendors (like TutuTix!) to make your life easier.
  • Delegate! Everyone should know their role and assignment and expected place/location- from paid studio staff to parent volunteers. Make sure they are trained and prepared for their assignments.
  • Create consistent workflows for check-in, pick-up, stage entrance, stage blocking, and stage exit.
  • Expect the unexpected. With live theatre, everything will not go according to plan. When the unexpected arises, creatively problem solve, stay calm, and keep your focus forward.

Looking for more great ideas to navigate the Digital Dilemma at your studio? Check out the following articles:

The Dance Exec Returns: “Expert Advice from Chasta Hamilton” series is brought to you by Stage Door Dance Productions and TutuTix.

 

Chasta Calhoun's Stage Door Dance Production & TutuTix Series

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Chasta Hamilton

Chasta is the artistic director and owner of Stage Door Dance Productions in Raleigh, North Carolina. She is also the founder of The Dance Exec, a website and organization that provided resources and training for dance studio owners. The resources from The Dance Exec have a new home on the TutuTix blog, giving dance studio owners an even more in-depth library of free tools and information with which to grow their business. Chasta contributes to the TutuTix blog from time to time, offering her perspective as a studio owner (and TutuTix client!).