Yes, you’re the best! Does that make you a success?
Do you know four- to twelve-year-old children and their parents are your market? If you do, how do you draw this group to your studio?
Although there are some well-educated dance parents out there, they are certainly the minority. When enrolling children in dance class; most parents are in the novice category in the search for quality dance training. A huge majority understand a once-a-week dance lesson and a recital at the end of the year. They don’t know a whole lot about strong technique or turn-out, nor do they grasp the concept that their child could someday become a ballerina, professional dancer or a high score winner.
Actually, numerous parents would prefer their child didn’t pursue a serious dance curriculum. Many have a perception that their child can’t create a successful future as a dancer or teacher.
So you ask, “Does that mean I have to lower my standards?” Not at all! Continue to strive to make the best dancers possible. Just don’t flaunt it.
Consider this: A mom is looking through the newspaper for a dance school for her six-year-old daughter. There are several options. A variety of ads proclaim, “We’ve won more awards than any other school in the state!” Another exclaims, “We have the most professional faculty in the community.” The more serious ballet school writes, “Our students are performing with the San Francisco Ballet!” Granted, all are very good credentials—definitely accolades that the school owner should be proud of. But: are those ads really focused on the market that will attract the clientele who will make their school a financial success?
One school with a history of producing professional dancers, choreographers and numerous awards for decades also places an ad in the same newspaper. It features several smiling eight-year-old children at the ballet barre. Each is in a leotard and tights with huge smiles on their faces. Their ad tagline proclaims, “Step #1 Happy Dancers, Step #2 Motivating young minds to be the best they can be.” They simply include their website address, a telephone number and their registration dates. No “most professional.” No “we’re the best.” Nothing about winning the most awards or the professional ballet companies their dancers are performing with!
The novice dance mom glances at all her options and makes the decision to take her child to the school with the happy young dancers at the ballet barre, as do many of the moms (or dads) who are looking to register their child in dance class. Why? you ask.
- The happy school portrays itself as a fun place for children to be. A priority for most parents!
- Parents feel a bit intimidated by the extremely professional image of the other ads.
- The more professional or competitive schools look complicated and more expensive (even if they’re not).
- The happy school appears to be a neighborhood sort of place that welcomes all children, not simply those interested in serious training.
I am all for every teacher and school owner being as qualified and professional as they can be. However, I think a lot of excellent schools are actually scaring off potential clientele because they want to proclaim that they are the best! Even if you are the best (by a long shot), be humble and be smart by realizing that we need to get them in the door. Then we educate both the children and the parents to better understand what quality dance education is all about.