I’m a new school owner about to enter my second season. Last year we competed in three dance competitions and a national competition last summer. The problem is that most of my entries didn’t score very well because I have a slew of beginners.
Each time we went to a competition, I lost at least one student to various schools from my area that competed in the same competitions we did. Next year, I want to do more competitions, but I don’t want to lose students to the schools who have been competing for years. Should I hire outside choreographers or maybe bring in someone to coach my kids?
Don’t take this the wrong way, but honesty is my best policy . . . what the heck are you doing competing in the first place? It’s one thing to go to observe a competition to see what’s going on or taking your students to see a competition to inspire them, but there is no way your students are ready to actually compete with the schools who’ve been competing for years. In my opinion it takes 5-10 years before students are prepared for the rigors of competition.
You need to rethink your goal of opening a school for the purpose of competing and forget about winning. Your goal should be to teach beginner students how to dance. As I always say, competition is only a part of what we do, not all we do.
Slow down, forget about competition for now, and figure out how to build your business. Remember advanced dancers don’t just walk in the door. You build them slowly from basic movement to a more advanced level each year. This process takes time.
If you don’t change your goal to something like attracting preschool students or teaching simply the basics, I’m afraid you’re going to continue to lose students. Opening a new school should be motivated by your passion to offer every child the opportunity to experience the wonderful world of dance, and not to win trophies. —Rhee