You have your schedules set for the summer and fall and there are still moments when the studio has unused space. How can this empty space be filled? Are there ways to generate additional income? The answer to both these questions is yes!! Whatever type of dance you are currently offering it is always a good idea to offer something new and exciting each year. You will find that it generates excitement among your students and could very possibly attract additional ones to increase your enrollment. Even though economically we are still in difficult times it is amazing how parents are still willing to pay for something new for their children. Look at the iPod and iPad, how many of your students are the proud owners of those items? People will always find money for the things they really want.
If you have a purely Ballet school I would recommend adding a Contemporary or Modern class. Any classical dancer nowadays will find it beneficial to have knowledge of both styles –even the most prestigious dance companies are using a lot of Contemporary work in their repertoire and for college, Modern is a must.
Here are some ideas you could use to occupy some dead space and to add more income and more students to your studio or school.
1) Add Hip Hop -- Dancers of all ages are attracted to this dance form and it will definitely encourage more recreational students to sign up. Finding the right instructor can be a challenge but once you do it will also help to attract boys who might otherwise never step through the door.
2) Add a line dancing class. There are many line dancing styles that make it fun for pre-teens and teens and it could also be a way to get adults to become part of your program particularly if you have a class for them in the evening.
3) Yoga classes are great for adults in the morning hours when your space may be empty. Yoga is also very beneficial for your teen dancers. Students will be taught relaxation techniques and also some excellent stretches. It is also good for teen angst!!
4) Floor Barre classes are absolutely terrific for helping your pre-teen and up dancers to strengthen and tone their bodies in a safe and fun way. Use exercise balls, resistance bands and other apparatus to keep their interest. This is also a good morning class to help build your adult program. Classes will also focus on improving balance in dance.
5) Have you tried a Zumba class or something similar? Students from age 8 and up could benefit from this type of great aerobic workout using upbeat music. In today’s world children, on the whole, are not aerobically fit. Even students who dance a number of days in the week often do not have a good aerobic capacity. Adults often love to do this type of class for two reasons, 1) It keeps them fit and 2) it makes them feel like dancers even if they are not. Those Latin rhythms really get people moving. This could be another very popular class for adults in the morning.
6) Any ethnic dance classes are generally well received. Depending where your school is located and what instructor could be available, you could try Spanish dancing or Bollywood classes. Irish step dancing is also popular. Check out other schools in your area and see what type of classes they are offering and then add something totally different at your school or studio.
7) Approach local Brownie or Girl Scout groups and offer to give a group of them a dance class. We do this each year and it has brought in many new students once they see what we have to offer.
8) Hold theme birthday parties. You can schedule these on weekends or during slow summer months. Not only can you charge a fee for the party but it also brings new people to your studio, people that might not have known about you otherwise. Typically we provide the space, decorations according to the theme, paper products, balloons etc. We also provide goody bags for the attendees with a bigger one for the birthday girl or boy. The parties usually last 2-3 hours and we start by playing games, then move on to a dance class that fits with the theme followed by pizza and cake and drinks that the parents provide. The parties are a big hit and we meet many new families through them. You need a teacher who is fun and works well with children in an upbeat manner. Make sure that you put promotional materials and brochures for your summer and fall programs. It is always a good idea to give some sort of discounted or free offer. They have already had fun at your studio and will be more willing to try a class. The best thing for the parents with these parties is that they don’t have to do any of the clean up!
9) Ballroom classes are a good way to get parents involved in your studio, especially now that so many people watch Dancing with the Stars. It can also work for pre-teens and teens as long as the teacher working with them is able to help them overcome any awkwardness of dancing together. Tell your students to bring their boyfriends or siblings to a free trial class and before you know it you will have some more boys coming to your studio which will boost your enrollment.
Obviously you will need to bring in another instructor to teach some of these styles of dance but it will be worth it when you start to see the results.
In a challenging economy it is not the moment to cut back but rather to find ways to expand and out do your competition. Don’t give up; if one thing doesn’t work keep persevering. Sooner or later something will work out for you.