July 2015 | Collective Wisdom

Ideas and advice from our readers


Classroom Connection: Ballet Challenge

Once a year my 6- to 10-year-old ballet students play a game I call “Ballet Challenge.” For a week or two before the challenge, we review proper terminology and correct execution of steps. During warm-ups we go over terms like chassé, bourrée, etc.

On game day, I come prepared with flash cards. The students take turns picking a card. I read the ballet term written on the card each dancer chooses, and she attempts to show the step. If she does it correctly, she earns a point. If she is not successful, the students lined up behind her can claim the point by doing it properly. The next dancer in line then takes a turn and can earn another point by doing her own step correctly.

Each point is worth one “dancing dollar,” play money that I decorated with a dancer motif and copied in multiple colors. At the end of the game the kids can spend their winnings in my store, which I’ve stocked with pencils, note pads, sunglasses, and other items. Prices range from $1 to $5. Each dancer receives $1 for coming to class.

Our Ballet Challenge has proved to be a fun and effective way for my students to learn and understand ballet terminology. And my student helpers get a kick out of seeing the next generation of dancers enjoy the game they played when they were younger. —April Mosher



Reality Check: Advice

Q: Has anyone had measurable success with advertising? We’re a successful studio and have been in business for 15 years, but have gotten almost no measurable results from advertising in Yellow Pages, local newspapers, Facebook, Google, Welcome Wagon, social media marketing, or a discount program with local employers. While Facebook raised our visibility, no new business came from any of our direct advertising efforts. Have you had different results? —Fred Mitchell

A: Advertising doesn’t often garner immediate results. Instead, experts say, a series of ads is supposed to make the consumer familiar with your name, eventually bringing them in the door. —Suzanne DiVasto Citere

I believe word of mouth is the best advertising. Having said that, the local paper has covered studio news; newspaper publicity about our studio doubled our enrollment. I notify the local papers when exciting things happen, and it really works. —Shena Prihoda

I’ve been getting awesome results with Facebook ads. We filled a class with 11 new preschool kids this week; all but one came from Facebook. I create an ad and click the “Boost Post” option. I target specific zip codes and also only people who are not associated with my studio. I’ve gotten 28 families from Facebook this year. —Melanie Malcolm Boniszewski

I get my biggest advertising response from our local children’s magazine. It’s distributed to businesses, doctors’ offices, etc., and the ads are geared to children. —Debby Lotz Dillehay

We do very little advertising, concentrating instead on a strong community presence. We try to participate in all community events with a booth and/or performance. We also donate to silent auctions held by schools and local nonprofits. Our baskets include a gift card, studio water bottle, brochure, dance movie, etc. —Kathy Johnson Mueller