Embrace Change

Don’t Be Stuck in the “Way We’ve Always Done It” Rut

Does this sound familiar?

You offer 9 months of 1 weekly class. At the end of the year, you have a recital. Zero students in September grew to 55 by January. By mid-April the excuses poured in and by recital time enrollment is down to 31.

Why are you still doing it this way if it doesn’t work? The way “it has always been done” has to change.

It’s just a fact: The “way you’ve always done it” may not be the “best way to do it” now.

Offer options.

If some students aren’t comfortable performing, don’t force them. Offer the recital as an option.

If you have students who want to switch or add classes halfway through the year, let them.

If some students want to invest less time before being able to perform, offer split sessions and have 2 recitals per year.

Your students and parents don’t want to be stuck in an old rut – and you shouldn’t either.

By offering a few options, students can now commit to shorter-terms, recreational dancers can switch classes to work around their other activities – and your class dynamics aren’t even disrupted.

Think of how you might categorize your classes to offer more options. For instance, separate classes in performance-only and technique-only. Performance classes (devoted to choreography and performance quality) have an enrollment cutoff date – because of the end-of-session performance. Technique classes – which can actually be prerequisite requirements for performance classes – focus on technique and skills development. Students taking technique-only classes would not participate in recitals.

This can increase enrollment tremendously! More students are attracted to more flexible options. The technique classes can “try before they buy” and feel no guilt or pressure. Because they aren’t preparing for a performance, students can register any time. Some students may even take classes in both categories. If they want to brush up on technique, they can choose to take a few technique classes to do so without disrupting their performance class schedule.

This change can also result in quicker progress for students because of a stricter focus on the dancers’ technique and performance quality.

The most difficult part of such changes as these are in costume costs and recital structure, but the changes also eliminate the typical recital dramas that occur when those who’d rather not are “forced” to perform.

What are other changes that can help to reduce stress and keep students (and parents) happy?

  • Rent costumes – it’s cheaper than buying.
  • Base recitals on familiar themes so you can get really creative with characters and keep the pace flowing and audience engaged.
  • Have each performance class cast as a character type in the story and have graduating seniors dance leads and solos.
  • Have performers sign a “contract” – specific to the recital that commits them to dates, attendance, costs. This sets expectations and eliminates the “I didn’t know about that” factor. If they can’t commit, they can take technique classes.

So don’t be stuck in your “it has always been done this way” rut. Get creative. Don’t be afraid to change. You’ll have a better business for it!

Source: Dance Studio Life

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