A: I’ve never paid teachers to attend competitions or conventions, but I also don’t require that my staff go to competitions. I only ask that my teachers be present to run their routines at our studio’s big stage rehearsal, before competitions begin. My staff knows this far in advance—at our annual competition teachers’ meeting, we discuss who’s choreographing what, how much they’ll be paid and what’s expected of them at competition.
Most of my faculty, all of whom are dedicated to the studio, come to the first competition of the season. After that, it’s usually just my two daughters and myself who warm everyone up and get the routines to the stage; the three of us do most of the choreography, anyway. I will cover one night’s hotel stay if a teacher comes to warm up his or her dancers at the competition. I’ll also spring for some lunches or dinners if a teacher comes along.
As for conventions, my faculty knows that they need to attend workshops and classes to become better teachers and choreographers. If I manage to get free teachers’ classes, I give them away to my faculty, but most of the time they pay their own convention fees.
My situation isn’t necessarily the norm, though. Many larger studios may need more hands on deck to help the competition run smoothly. If you have a bigger team, it may make sense to add additional fees onto a competition’s entry fee, so that you can pay your faculty for their time—especially if you make their attendance mandatory.
Joanne Chapman is owner of the award-winning Joanne Chapman School of Dance in Brampton, Ontario.
Photo by Dan Boskovic, courtesy of Joanne Chapman