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Sit Down With a Studio Owner

1. What made you want to open a dance studio?

I wanted to create something bigger than myself. I have this beautiful gift, experience, and wisdom in dance and creativity that I need to share with others. I have a lot to offer my students, and I wanted to open my own studio to pour into others and create what I want, how I want it, and when I dream it. It’s a beautiful feeling to have the freedom of creativity!

2. What is the best part about being a studio owner?

I truly love training and collaborating with my team. I love to lead, but I also love to learn. My team is so knowledgeable and helpful. It is cool to be a ringleader of sorts; I come up with an idea and my team runs with it while utilizing their own creative input. It’s quite fascinating that all these brilliant minds can work together to create great things. I love that I can be the glue that holds us all together and guide them over any hurdles and roadblocks.

3. Do you think there are differences in owning a dance studio and say, perhaps, those who own a restaurant or a store?

ABSOLUTELY! I believe that there are challenges that come with running any type of business, but what makes a dance studio different is the amount of planning it takes to complete a goal. We are constantly planning over a year out into the future for Recitals, auditions, rehearsals, and events. It is overwhelming sometimes!! Preparing for a Recital or Concert takes an insane amount of energy and time. We have lesson plans, class schedules, calendars, curriculums, examinations, counseling, teacher training, the list never ends! While other businesses are living in the now and enjoying the ride, we are always living in the future preparing for the next big thing. Sometimes I have to remind myself to take a step back and enjoy what is happening right in front of me.

4. How do you celebrate those differences? How do those differences challenge you?

I actually love planning! It calms me to be at peace with the arrangement of a task or process, allows me to be innovative, and challenges me to become more efficient with every stride. I’m the type of person who can’t rest until a task is completed, otherwise I will be up all-night thinking about finishing it! It’s so important to me that everything is laid out in advance and presented with clarity. It can be discouraging when important information is missed by others in communication. I pride my studio on our efforts to check every box in the planning stage to ensure all important information is sent out to our clients effectively. I am always challenged to stay on top of my game and keep organized.

5. How do you find new clientele?

Majority of my clientele find us through word of mouth. We have created some pretty awesome relationships over the years, and we’ve been blessed that they share us with their friends. Other than that, we use online ads sometimes to share our message and mission, but I prefer to share who we are in person during performances or online over social media. The latter gives us the opportunity to match organically with new clients whose vision for their dancer aligns with ours. Those connections are so fulfilling to make!

6. How long has the oldest client been with you?

I remember holding some of my 8–10 year-old dancers when they were just infants or toddlers. They started with me when I was only teaching dance, in the Mommy & Me or baby Ballet class, and I hope that I can be front row at their senior show. Watching these kids grow up and having the opportunity to love and support them is a privilege I never take for granted. I cherish every class we take together and every memory I have of their growth and accomplishments. That’s the beautiful part of this job, that I get to share so many achievements and experiences with these kids as they get older. With every new student we get, I hope I have the chance to build a relationship with them like this. My dance family is so cool and fun, and every day brings something new!

7. What's the most successful moment in your business history?

Being blessed to make it through the pandemic shutdown. We really fought to keep every employee, keep every class open online, and still give assistance to the clients who were hit hard like we were. Opening our doors again was a feat I wasn’t sure we could conquer, but I prayed every day. We did what it took to get here. Getting to dance with my favorite people again when we reopened was the greatest feeling. I really felt like we hit the top, even though we fell so far behind, and the smiling faces of my dancers back in the classroom made the day.

8. What's a time you feel like you failed?

I tend to feel like I’ve failed when I waste time, or when I’m not using my work time effectively. I have learned over the years that there will never be enough hours in the day, and with each day that passes in life there is more to do! I try to give myself grace and allow myself to take my time in my work to counteract the disappointment I have in myself when I’ve not been productive enough. Although, some of my greatest choreography and ideas have come from the consequence of wasted time. I have scrapped old work and scrambled to make it new and felt really great about the end product. I guess failures aren’t always that bad!

9. What is the hardest part about being a studio owner?

It can be very lonely. Based on the experiences I’ve had over the years, dance studios sometimes get the short end of the stick in the business world. Many forget or do not believe that you’re running a business, and it’s not always just tutus and glitter. Some don’t differentiate the dance studio from a tee-ball team. We are not volunteer coaches, so I believe there can be a disconnect at times in the way we are interacted with. It can hurt a lot because every day I press on and show up for the kids in our studio who I cherish and adore. I put the kids at my studio at the top of my priority list. It can feel like people root for you to fail rather than share excitement for your success and life advances. I am not alone in this sentiment. Many dance studio owners, myself included, feel like we aren’t taken seriously. Our businesses are seen as hobbies and do not deserve the respect of other businesses they may interact with. We have all received one too many disheartening emails that stick with us.

10. Where do you see your business going in the future?

I am looking forward to the future for performance. The stage has always been my happy place, and I love to put on a great show. I’m excited to jump back into concert dance and create new works with my students. I have always wanted our studio to thrive in performance and artistry. When we have the opportunity to share our passion on stage, we really shine! I also see us growing and growing. We have had so many new inquiries in the past few months, and I’m so thrilled to see our classes fill up with eager, excited students. I want to touch as many lives as I can through the magic of dance, and even if I make a difference in one student’s life, then it is all worth it.

11. How will you continue to grow your studio?

I want my studio to grow through honest and loyal connections. I want to share who we are openly and what our services offer for the success of all children. I want to connect with others who genuinely agree with our vision. That is how I know we will make a difference in the dance community, and to the dancers who take our classes. I am going to keep giving it my all every day and be resilient, because I truly believe I would be doing others a disservice if I do not share with them a piece of our magic.

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