Ask Rhee Gold | Creating new opportunities for students

Advice for dance teachers

Q: Dear Rhee,

I’ve been in business for 17 years. Lately I have been losing students because they want more than a weekly class, but can’t or don’t want to make the commitment to our competitive team program. They feel they have gone as far as they can go. Is there something I could offer that would keep them interested? —Amy

A: Dear Amy,

There should be opportunities for students who want the chance to perform or increase their participation, but who don’t have the financial resources or time for intensive programs.

Here are a few ideas:

Non-competitive performing groups. Participation would require two or three classes a week, plus a choreography rehearsal. The group can dance at community events, parades, nursing homes, festivals, and school assemblies. In the summer, you could take the group to Disney or on a similar performance trip to build camaraderie among dancers and their families.

Dance team “lite.” Requirements would include a limited number of weekly classes and a choreography rehearsal. This team would attend fewer competitions than a traditional competition team, and all events would be local (no travel involved). Structure this team as a stepping-stone for students who want to be part of your intensive competitive program, but are not yet ready. Instead of hopping to another studio, students can stay with you and work toward their competitive goal.

Hip-hop crews. This is a great option for attracting more boys to your studio. Once on board, they often register for additional classes and eventually filter into the intensive dance program. Again, keep the commitment reasonable: one or two classes a week, plus one or two local competitions or community performances.

These programs are not about the studio owner’s ego or producing the best dancers—they are about giving all kids the opportunity to perform, allowing their families to cheer their accomplishments, and showing the world that, at your studio, everyone is welcome to dance. Good luck. —Rhee