Summer is a great time to get out and about in your community for performances, demonstrations, lectures and workshops. We have for years, used the summer to build awareness about our school and the programs that we offer. Best of all, you may even get paid to do these performances! If you have a competition group, company or even a small group of dancers who you think could be entertaining, you have a readymade entertainment road show. How about teaching a class at an outdoor event, party or function? These are wonderful ways to take your teaching talents out of the studio and into the community. You could also do a seminar on a topic that you are passionate about. Think of it as a community tour of your dance school. If you go to them they just may end up coming to you in the fall for dance lessons!
Below is a list of ideas that we have used to build our brand and connect with our community.
Ø Performances: This is easy for most dance school owners. If you have a group or groups of dancers you are all set to go. Keep in mind that a lot of the places where you may perform are small venues so solos, duets and trios and small groups may be best. We have performed at our local festivals over the years. You can search them out in your area by contacting the local Chamber of Commerce, newspaper or magazine or do an online search. Many of the organizations are looking for local talent to add some spice to their event. You should also look at local groups that have monthly meetings and approach them about including some entertainment to their get togethers. This is a wonderful way to connect with different organizations. Parades are also a fun way to get noticed. Our community has one on Memorial Day and we often march and perform on the route.
Ø Class-Demonstrations: These are fun and will give you, and if you have additional faculty, a chance to connect with a group of potential customers. Here is how it works, contact local camps, committees or organizations. See if they would be interested in having your school present a dance class, dance mob or line dance class. You could also offer to have a few of your dancers perform a number at the end of the class. The key here is to make the class easy so that everyone can join in whether they have little or no dance experience. If in one hour, you can get everyone moving as one, it will be a big hit. Bring some of your students along who know the routine and can mingle in with the other kids. We have done these events for theater groups, camps, and even for our local recreational department where there were hundreds of people who joined in. You can also offer a warm-up and stretch class for a local runners club before a race or fundraising run. We have done this for our local Save the Children Foundation before a charity run. Once you get the word out, local groups will ask you to participate year after year!
Ø Lecture: Most dance studio owners shy away from this idea. I am not sure why. Look, you stand in front of your class day in and day out and talk to your students, so talking in front of a group of people should be no problem. The key is to find a topic you are passionate about and put together a presentation about it. You can use power point if you like or just have a discussion and then a Question & Answer period so the audience can get to know you. If you are wondering who would want to hear you speak. The answer is, there are a lot of organizations and committees that love to invite local entrepreneurs to speak. We have done these presentations for small groups of 8 to 10 people and as large as 200 hundred. All that you need to do is build a topic, for example, 'How today’s youth benefit from arts training,' or 'How dance has had a positive impact on the youth in your area,' another good topic is, 'How the local community can help you reach youth at risk.' There are a variety of topics that you can build upon. Keep in mind to keep it fast paced and keep it short. If you can add in some humor that generally works well too! You do not have to do an hour long presentation.
So get out there this summer and build community awareness about you, your studio and all of the wonderful things you do!