Some years ago we decided to separate our Pre-School performances from our main student body ones. We found that the younger dancers really found the whole scenario of performing in a big theatre just too overwhelming and frightening. Although our shows never last more than an hour and a half, just being in the theatre environment for a prolonged time and away from their parents was too much for the Pre-School students and not at all an enjoyable experience. We decided to hire a local club that has a stage big enough for the dancers and enough seating for parents, siblings, grandparents and friends to attend. The cost is fairly low for the rental and we bring in our own sound system and use the lighting they have which isn't a lot but gives the right effect!
By dividing the classes into different shows we are able to get everyone in for a 45 minute to an hour performance and go until about 5:00 pm which gives us the chance to have four or five different shows. We ask parents to have their child at the venue a half hour before the performance dressed in their leotard and tights and with whatever shoes they are going to need in hand. We usually start at around 11:00 am and each class has a chance, along with their teacher, to demonstrate not only some of the class work that they have learned but also a couple of short choreographed pieces. To make life easy for everyone backstage we have company members meet and greet the student at the door and then put a colored sticker on their hand which will tell them backstage which class they are in. This system works well with little children because they are sometimes not able to tell you which class they are in. Backstage we have additional company members or students who are on scholarship helping to dress the dancers in the appropriate costume for their class and then making sure they are kept happy. The older dancers enjoy interacting with the younger ones and it also gives them some excellent training on how we run our shows.We provide costumes that can be put on over the top of their leotards. The costumes are inexpensive and can be used year after year. The parents love the fact that they do not have to buy a costume for their child until they go into the 'Big' show. The money that you don't make on the costume sales can be made in other ways very effectively and you can really promote a feeling of goodwill amongst your clients by not charging them for their costume.
When we send out all the performance information to the parents we include 2 free tickets for them and any additional tickets are $5:00. We sell hundreds of these tickets as everyone is thrilled to pay so little to come and see their rising star. We also include a Roses order form for them to buy flowers. We have an arrangement with a local florist who makes up the bouquets. We offer bouquets of 12, 6 or 3 roses either in red or assorted colors and the florist includes baby's breath and suitable greenery to make a very attractive presentation. We have the flowers delivered to the venue early on the day of the performances and our staff labels them with the dancer's name so that they are ready to be picked up by the parents when they arrive. Our clients absolutely love the convenience of having these bouquets ready to go. Work out a price that is reasonable for your florist and then add on to make a profit.
We also sell candy, cookies and healthy treats at the door for both adults and children. These are always very popular. We go to one of the wholesale stores and buy in bulk. Whatever we don't sell at the Pre-School show we can make up for at the one in the theatre. People love to nibble, just be careful not to include products with nuts as some children do have allergies and you don't want to have a problem with that. We also have at our mini concession stand small bottles of water which go very well too.
At the ticket desk at the door we also have a staff member with registration forms for the next session and when parents come out from the show they are thrilled with the progress of their child and happy with the performance and invariably sign up on the spot. The performances are just long enough for everyone to be seen but not too long so that people get up and leave. We always have a full house for all shows. Parents are happy, students are happy and you are able to increase your revenue in a variety of ways.