Q: We are looking into having field-trip events to grow our student base, and we would like to target pre-schools, Girl Scouts, homeschooled children, etc. Any advice?
A: A specialty-group program works well when you create an “Introduction to Dance” class or session at a discounted group rate. For example: We have a Montessori school group of K–4th-graders, who traveled to our studio for a 10-week unit as part of their physical education curriculum. Our dance teacher worked with the school director to plan classes suitable for boys and girls who had no dance experience. During the final week, parents were invited to watch the students give an in-studio performance of each dance style covered in the session. Their private-group rate was $950 for up to 12 students for the 10-week session. It was possible to offer this discounted rate because the school director coordinates transportation to our studio; the school pays the total fee up front; and classes are held during hours when our studio is normally empty.
This is also the type of program we offer to homeschool groups. You can start by making a connection to a director through a personal referral or through online searches. We send an invitation by e-mail or phone with a proposed class or session description. Sometimes, it is easier for you to travel onsite to their location (we recommend you adjust your fee accordingly).
For Girl Scouts looking to earn the dancer badge, help a busy Scout leader with a lesson plan or teach a one-time class; in exchange, ask if you can share your regular class information with their members. When you take time to customize classes to the needs of these specialty groups, the word will spread in your community about your studio.
Kathy Blake is the owner of Kathy Blake Dance Studios in Amherst, New Hampshire. She and Suzanne Blake Gerety are the co-founders of DanceStudioOwner.com.
Photo by B Hansen Photography, courtesy of Suzanne Blake Gerety