Tips & Tricks

  • Recital Ready Dance Bag

    There are always a million things to accomplish the weeks leading up to recital. Our goal is to help you make your big event as stress-free as possible! We have collected a list of the top essentials for your dancers to have a Recital Ready Dance Bag! This way you can focus on the things that really matter, and not a hair emergency! Print out this handy packing checklist to give to your teachers and dancers. PS, don’t forget to customize the spaces we left blank, just for you!RecitalBag

    • Costumes – double check that you have all your costumes, accessories, props, hair pieces, etc.!

    PRO-HACK: pin each individual piece to the costume so they don’t get mixed up or lost. Don’t forget to label each style with first and last name!

    • Dance shoes – make sure shoes are clean and ready for the stage! Place first and last name inside all shoes.

    • Tights – be sure to have the right color and size. It’s a good idea to pack extras, just in case.

    PRO-HACK: use clear nail polish to mend a last minute run in your tights.

    • Beauty – pack your essential hair and makeup needed for the show. Things that might be helpful: small self-standing mirror, deodorant, nail file, baby wipes, tissues, and cotton swabs. Pack extra bobby pins, hair ties, hair nets, and hairspray – in the dance world, you can never have enough hairspray!

    • Miscellaneous – warm-ups, healthy snacks, reusable water bottle, first aid kit, safety pins, extra undergarments, feminine products, mini sewing kit, superglue, static guard, scissors and a lighter (for mending pointe shoe ribbons).

    Print your own check list for a complete Recital Ready Dance Bag – Packing List

    Capture

  • Get the Most Out of Your Customer Service Experience

    From costume ordering to costume sizing, and first-time customers to life-long customers. No matter the topic of discussion, you have their full and undivided attention. You may know them as the Customer Service Team, but we prefer to them as the heroes behind the phone!

    Our Customer Service Representatives take the time to help each and every caller. They are happy to chat, well-educated on dance industry trends, and continuously thinking of creative ways to help each customer reach a solution. Even if reaching that resolution takes five minutes or five hours, you will never be rushed!

    We spoke to Vicky, Customer Service Manager, along with Brittni and Angela, Customer Service Representatives, to collect their best kept secrets. Now, we would like to share with you, tips and tricks to getting the most out of your conversation with customer service.CS-telephone

    What is the most efficient way to reach Customer Service?

    Give us a call (1-888-808-0801) or send us an email [email protected]. These options allow the ability to directly reach a customer service representative. Whereas, all other forms of communication, may hold up communication process. For instance, attempts to reach customer service via social media channels, may delay our response time.

    When is the best time of day to chat with Customer Service?

    Morning 9:00 am EST – 11:00 am EST, we seem to get very busy during lunch hours.

    What should customers know when reaching out to Customer Service?

    Introduce yourself! We love talking to our customers!
    Before we can help any customer we must be speaking directly with the studio contact assigned to your account. If your studio contact needs to be updated, no problem, we will help.
    To verify we are speaking to the correct person, we need to know one of the following: customer number, studio name, billing zip code, or studio phone number.
    Knowing the purpose of your call and details of what you need assistance with, is always helpful. For instance, if you have a question regarding a costume, it helps to know the style number, color, and name prior to calling. We will handle the rest!

    What is new for Curtain Call Customer Service?

    Call Back Feature

    No more music! We understand everyone is busy and may not have the time to be waiting on hold listening to our catchy tunes. So to help, we created our Call Back Feature. When we receive your call, you have the option to receive a call back when the line becomes available. We add your call to our queue and alleviate your time spent waiting. More than 50% of our customers are currently utilizing our Call Back Feature and 100% of those customers are able to use their time waiting wisely.

    Extended Hours

    It’s busy season! During the months of January and February 2018, our Customer Service Representatives will be available Monday – Friday from 9:00 am EST – 7:00 pm EST. Come March, we will be available during our regular hours Monday – Friday from 9:00 am EST – 5:30 pm EST.

    There is no right question or right way to ask. Our Customer Service Team is always ready to help in any way, no matter the size or uniqueness of your issue. They are continuously working to do our very best to satisfy our customers. Feel free to call about your little questions. Even if they may seem silly, that’s what we are here for!

  • Putting the Style in the 2018 NX3® Freestyle Collection

    By: Danielle Sten-Guillermo, On the DL

    Introducing the fashion minds behind the collaboration of Curtain Call’s NX3 2018 Freestyle Collection – Danielle Sten-Guillermo and Lance Guillermo! Danielle has shared her insight on the process, purpose and vision behind the collection!dan'lance

    When Lance and I first met in the hallway parallel to a stage door, we never realized what was to come…a forever vow in love, marriage, dance, and fashion. A companionship that took two people from two opposing worlds in dance and united them, from once a confusing manner, to the very vessel of what makes us – On the DL. The short synopsis is this: I am a stage dancer and Lance is a street dancer; I am classically trained in ballet, jazz, and contemporary techniques; Lance is street trained in the original styles of hip hop. I started dancing at the age of 3; Lance started dancing at the age of 19. Our journeys with dance did not start the same way, but it brought us together, and now, we are creatively sharing our voice in dance and in fashion.

    After establishing On the DL in 2008, Lance and I focused on fusing our techniques of movement and style into our compositions and dress. Since then we have worked in TV, Music, and Film; choreographed for companies across the country; directed/choreographed original stage performances; and instructed dancers young and old from all over the world. We both remember the first time we stepped on a movie set, the commotion, the excitement - the sheer number of people it takes to put together such a huge production - no other career can offer such a thrilling environment; and then allow you to come home to your home-base studio to create with your dancers that you help raise, mentor and inspire. We get the best of both worlds; we create for those you already know of, and then motivate the ones that you will soon get to know.

    All of that is what you get to see on the surface; the product of what we do from day to day. When Lance and I create moves or design articles of clothing, there are people that influence us in our most conscious mind. For dance, Ken Swift, Donald O’Connor, and Pina Bausch are three artists who provoke us with rational and irrational feelings. They challenge our bodies, initiate us to examine our process, and make us question our vision, leaving us every morning to hope that we have a new set of eyes to explore the world around us. In fashion, we look to icons like Gwen Stefani, Pharrell Williams, and Mos Def. The three of them are uninhibited in the way they present themselves; they can be vibrant without color and chic without simplicity. Gwen, Pharrell, and Mos Def we thank you for seeing a trend, but instead creating a movement.

    From this you have gathered that we are emotional, with a desire to be challenged, all while seeing the world with a new set of eyes. I know, I know, we are artists - so cliché! But dance and fashion should make you FEEL something, and that feeling is the very thing that keeps us ALIVE. That emotional charge is the budding factor of my chic, clean, and statement-making style; and Lance’s classic, fun, and fresh-to-death fashion flair. So when we were asked to collaborate on the NX3 Fashion Line, without hesitation we said “YES!”, and immediately got to work on putting together pieces that could be worn on stage, or on the streets; that would represent the hip hop fashion culture; and most importantly, provoke a feeling inside of all of you.

    So in the end, Lance and I leave you with this – no matter your dance journey, no matter your style preference, BE ORIGINAL…TAKE CHANCES…and MAKE A STATEMENT. Those are the reasons why we created these pieces for NX3.

    Stay Fresh,
    Danielle + Lance
    On the DL

  • Competition & Recital Makeup Tips & Tricks from the Beauties Behind the Curtain

    We know that a dancer's love and passion for dancing is what really makes them shine when they're on stage, but a great costume and a pop of makeup and really accent their look, too! We chatted with our very own photo shoot stylists to get their take on the best tips and tricks for perfecting your stage look!
    Holly&Kimberly

    Meet Our Stylists
    Holly Boyer, owner of Extreme Beauty Makeup, has had over 10 years of cosmetology. One of her many inspirations is Pat McGrath, who is a front-runner in her field and one of the most innovative artists in the industry. Holly’s favorite look for the stage is a good neutral smokey eye and a killer pair of false eyelashes!

    Kimberly Harvey has been turning her friends' hair and makeup into masterpieces for as long as she can remember. At the age of 19, she began working professionally in a salon, in the following years continued to work in the industry with different makeup companies. Recently, she has began to focus on the bridal industry, special events, and photo shoots (like Curtain Call)! One of her inspirations in the hair industry is Celebrity Hair Stylist Jen Atkin, and for makeup, Tom Pecheux! Kimberly's go-to look for the stage is a pretty neutral eye shadow, HUGE lashes, and bold lips!

    Tips & Tricks:

    • When applying false eyelashes, allow for the adhesive to dry for 30–45 seconds before adhering to the lash line. In doing this, the adhesive will become tacky and allow for easier application.
    • Use a damp beauty blender sponge to pack on a no-color powder under the eyes. After applying concealer, allow for the powder to “bake” for 5 minutes before dusting away the excess powder.
    • Use a sponge to press powder into the skin rather than dust, this will allow for a longer wear.
    • For those that may not have a steady hand, use an angled brush when applying liner. To even out any imperfections, use a similar color shadow to smudge out the liner.
    • For younger dancers, give them a more natural look with neutral eye makeup and a pop of lip gloss or a tinted lip balm.
    • When using a curler to style hair, start off with a setting spray before curling and top it off with a finishing spray for extra hold.
    • Primer, Primer, Primer! It’s a girl’s best friend! Use a primer before applying eye shadow or anything to the face to increase wear time.
    • For the stage, use a foundation one shade darker than natural skin tone to avoid appearing pale from the stage lights. Bronzer works well too!
    • Always set makeup with a setting spray after applying makeup, then apply a translucent powder to lock in your look and cut down on any dewiness.
    • Avoid setting powder flashback by blending it extremely well during application.
    • Avoid using cream under the eyes, it will make the under eye look dry and potentially cakey in photos.

    Top Ten Makeup Bag Essentials:
    1. Urban Decay – All Nighter Long Lasting Makeup Setting Spray1
    2. BECCA – Shimmering Skin Protector Pressed Highlighter2
    3. Laura Mercier – Translucent Loose Setting Powder3
    4. Anastasia Beverly Hills – Brow Wiz Pencil4
    5. i.ENVY – Super Strong Hold Eyelash Adhesive

    5
    6. Ardell Professional – Demi Wispies Eyelashes

    6
    7. NARS – Velvet Matte Lip Pencil

    7
    8. Clinique – Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm 8
    9. Crest – 3D Whitestrips

    9
    10. Tweezerman – Tweezers

    10

  • Get a Fresh Start: Tips for Cleaning Your Routine

    CC_Blog_CleaningRoutine

    By: Jerica Robinson, Relationship Manager

    Cleaning a dance is one of the most vital steps in preparing a routine. Whether it's for competition season, community showcases, or dance recitals, this process can become extremely stressful. And at this point in the year, our students become complacent. I'm going to share a few techniques you can use to clean a routine, while incorporating some fun! In my experience, three of the most helpful ways to clean a dance are breaking them into sections, video-taping, and something I like to call, adding-on.

    Break It Up

    Breaking your dance into sections will help you understand when and where your students are struggling. I like to break my dance into three different sections, and then two eight-counts at a time. By doing so, they can easily learn each section FULL OUT!! After cleaning each eight-count, we gradually speed up the tempo, before adding the music. Once all three sections have been completed, we will then take our dance in halves, using the same process. Although the process is lengthy, it works wonders.

    Hit Record

    I like to videotape the class twice, once with counts and once with music. By watching each video, I can clearly recognize when a student is delayed or anticipating a movement. You can also view the video in “slow motion” which helps you to see simple mistakes. Using this technique, it also allows the class to see any errors for themselves, while also utilizing constructive peer-editing, rather than hearing critiques from their teacher.

    Add On

    The last technique is where the fun begins, add-ons! Breaking the class into two groups is the best way to approach this technique. Starting with two of your most precise students, instruct them through the routine, critiquing as needed. Slowly, add another group of two, and so on, and so forth. By seeing routine in groups and critiquing in real time, each routine will come out cleaner than the last.

    Each of these techniques has a unique benefit and I hope you find them helpful! I also suggest, if your dancers need a little bit of a break, it's always fun to let them do the routine in groups or with an assigned partner. Like I always say, “sometimes hearing a critique from a peer, is a lot easier than the teacher drilling every week”. Remember, you want to keep things exciting to ensure a positive attitude throughout the class.

  • A Dancer's Guide to New Year's Resolutions

    By: Jordann Smith-Kingston, Curtain Call® Intern and Model

    1M-T4060As a college student majoring in dance, I not only spend a lot of time dancing, but also writing, talking, and thinking about dance. My improvements in dance determine my grades, and with constant new ideas, it can be difficult to stay focused on improving. I often easily forget the reason I love to dance. To gain direction and reset focus, I have found goal setting to be an effective solution. The start of a new year is the perfect time to reset the stage and rework the choreography. Here are my 10 resolutions of 2017:

    1. Dance Anytime, Anywhere!
    I often find the urge to do a grand jete or pirouette unbearable. Though, I always refrain, knowing the strange looks that will follow from bystanders. This year I hope to say, “so what?” to the onlookers and move freely, as I wish. I hope my joy for dance will remind me, life is a performance and I don’t need a barre or a class to justify dancing.

    2. Clean Out That Dance Bag
    My dance bag has everything from old homework and orange peels, to athletic tape and bobby pins. It is easy to quickly cram everything in and decide to deal with it later. But, later, is now. A clean dance bag, is a clear mind… which will help me easily find the things I do need, (like the left shoe that always disappears just before class). Keeping the stinky dance shoe smell away is important, too. I recommend after-use spray for shoes, scent balls made for athletic gear, or small bags of lavender.

    3. Ice, Ice Baby
    Icing can help with treating an injury, coping with an ongoing pain, or even preventing a future injury. For many dancers, including myself, this is often ignored advice. The constant strain our bodies endure from dance and other activities increases our risk of overused joints and shin splints. Icing more frequently will help me approach every class and rehearsal more fully charged.

    4. Eat Healthy
    Our diets play a large role in our attitude, energy levels, skin, digestive patterns, and so much more. For dancers, it’s difficult to balance a healthy diet with rigorous rehearsal schedules. To focus on a well-balanced diet, I have decided to implement a few little tricks. Packing light, energy loaded snacks of almonds, berries, or rice cakes with peanut butter, for long days of rehearsal. Precooking my meals, rather than buying on-the-go, to control portions and regulate healthy ingredients. Controlling indulgences, rather than letting the indulgences control me. And lastly, listening to my body and not overeating.

    5. Cross Train for Cardio
    Stamina is my weakest point of dance. To improve this, work must be done outside of the studio to concentrate on strengthening the heart. For dancers, the most beneficial activities are low-impact: swimming, elliptical, hot-yoga, cycling, or Pilates are some excellent examples. These exercises will also build muscle in areas not always utilized through dance.

    6. Get Back to the Basics
    Continuing to take beginner level classes helps to concentrate on basic technique. It is the perfect opportunity to remove the complexity of phrases or movements, and focus on small details, like muscle initiation or positioning. After all, life is about enjoying the little things, like nailing a triple pirouette en pointe for the first time!

    7. Wear Supportive Gear
    Although it’s easy to throw on a pair of flip-flops in the summer, they provide minimal support. Make conscious decisions when choosing proper footwear. Choose something that protects your feet, while supporting your arch and helping you to maintain proper posture and weight-distribution.

    8. See More Professional Dance
    Living in D.C., there are always popular groups or individuals coming to perform. Immersing yourself in professional performances allows you to see things differently or learn something new. Supporting other artists helps to find fresh inspiration and is also a great way to network with other dancers!

    9. Rehearse Before Rehearsal
    Rehearsal is intended for learning new choreography and reworking to perfect technique. It is not, however, time for reviewing old material. By rehearsing before, more time can be spent cleaning and the choreographer will view you as a well-prepared, professional student.

    10. Dance for ME!
    Every dancer has reasons for staying up late and spending hours in rehearsals and class or enduring large amounts of pain. Whatever the reason is, it always boils down to a love of dance. This year, I plan to keep that focus in mind as a mantra. I refuse to dance in order to make someone else approve or to try to dance like someone else or to try to change myself. I will dance because it has been and always will be my first love. It is the one constant in my life and brings me an inexplicable resounding joy that I want to share. Dancing defines me!

  • Dance Studio Owners: Here’s How to Make This Your Best Year Ever!

    Angela&SteveBy: Steve Sirico and Angela D’Valda Sirico, Dance Teacher Web

    "Without goals, and plans to reach them, you are like a ship that has set sail with no destination" -Fitzhugh Dodson

    Every year around this time we love to reflect over what has taken place during the past year. Once the New Year hits it is important to have your focus on track as to what you want to achieve for the New Year. Not thrilled about something that has taken place at your studio? Don't fret, now is the time to throw out the things that are dragging you down and replace them with a new and fresh outlook.

    Keep in mind that you are the leader of your dance studio. If you are distracted and unhappy that will spill into your business. We believe your business is a reflection of you!

    Here are some quick tips to help you to have the right mindset for the New Year.

    1. Make your vision a priority. We have had studio owners who are, in our Dance Teacher Web consulting program, tell us that their clients are tough to deal with. That they are demanding and push them to the limits on everything. We tell them that the only way to change that is to set your standards and don't change them for anyone! We believe that if you let your customers push you around they will continue to push you around and it will only become worse, not better. Take a day and write down the perfect picture you have of your studio. How the parents, students, staff and faculty act. Now visualize ways that you can create that in your studio. Don't think for a minute that it can't happen! Share your vision with your team and let them know this IS going to happen. Set your standards and you will be thrilled and proud each day that you walk into the studio you have created.

     

    1. Get rid of the bad apples. Yes, I know this may be difficult but if you have a teacher, staff member, student or parent that is constantly a pain in the neck, you must make the move to get them out of your studio and life! No one should steal your joy. NO ONE! You work too hard and give too much of yourself. You deserve the utmost respect and happiness. Just before or right after the New Year are great times to meet with the problem people and inform them that your studio is just not the right fit for them. Thank them for being a part of your studio and wish them all the best but let them know that as of the New Year you are moving in a different direction without them.

     

    1. Keep your mind in a good place. Running a business is hard work. There are and will be challenging moments, Lord knows during the 30 years we have had our studio we have had plenty of those moments. But if you keep your mind thinking about how you can make your studio better and how you can increase your business you will see improvement. Opportunities are all around you if you are looking through the right glasses. Try not to focus on all the problems, I know that is not easy at times, believe me, but when you focus on what can be instead of what isn't then you will be shown the way to resolve any troubling issues you may be facing.

     

    1. Set your New Year goals. This is the fun part. Look at where you are right now and then decide where you would like to be. This overview may include your student count, income, faculty, choreography, competition results and anything else you can think of. Don't forget your personal ones as well. The only advice we would give in the goal department is, BE BOLD! We have always set lofty goals. Now we can't say that we have attained them all but we have had a lot of fun trying to achieve them and we have improved in any of the areas where we have put our focus. And, we have exceeded many as well!

    Now It’s Your Turn…

    Once you have finished reading this article please get a brand-new note pad or planner and start to make notes to yourself. You can name it something fun like My 2017 Goal & Idea Planner.

    On the first page write in big bold letters:

    I can easily achieve all my goals!

    I have everything in place right now to build the studio of my dreams!

    Focus on ideas no matter how big or small they are and ways that you can turn them into reality. Let’s face it, who knows your studio better than you do? You know all the good and all the not so good. But there are also hidden gems right under your feet at your studio. You just need to take some time to think about what can you do better, differently or completely new! Hopefully you don't have anything negative happening at your studio but if you do, start making plans to eliminate whatever it is. Keep your mind positive even in trying times and set those lofty goals. As the saying goes, "Go Big or Go Home!"

    We wish you a terrific New Year where all your dreams become reality!

     

    About D’Valda and Sirico

    Angela D'Valda Sirico and Steve Sirico have owned and directed a very successful dance studio in Fairfield CT for 30 years. They also have been teaching master classes, choreographing and producing shows. In 2007 they founded Dance Teacher Web now the #1 online resource for dance teachers and studio owners worldwide. They produce the live event every summer called Dance Teacher Web Live Conference and Expo . Steve and Angle have partnered with the University of Nevada, Las Vegas to create Dance Teacher University a cutting-edge teacher certification program that offer two exciting levels with a diverse curriculum. They have also co-authored two books “It’s Your Turn!” The success blueprint for the dance studio owner and for the dance teacher with motivational guru Robert Landau

    In 1979 they formed the Adagio team of D’Valda & Sirico. Their performing credits include "Scala" Barcelona, Spain, Casino Estoril, Portugal, Theatre Royal, Oxford, England, Riviera Hotel, Las Vegas, Hotel Tequendama, Bogota, Columbia, Teatro Nacional, Buenos Aires, Argentina, and as Guest Artists for Wayne Sleep's smash hit "Dash", Dominium Theatre, London.

    They were featured artists in Royal Command performances in Spain and had the privilege of performing for Princess Diana of Wales. D'Valda & Sirico's many television credits include "David Letterman", "Star Search", and "Tarde Para Todos" as well as variety shows in the U.S.A, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Finland, Portugal, Italy and Argentina. Their combination of explosive choreography and exciting partner work has been given rave reviews both nationally and internationally. Their choreography for the acclaimed "Brother Can You Spare a Dime" was commissioned by Boston Ballet II and performed by the company. Angela and Steve have owned and directed the D’Valda and Sirico Dance and Music Centre Fairfield, Connecticut since 1987. Their students have received scholarships and contracts to American Ballet Theater, Boston Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, Nashville Ballet, Ballet Hispanico, Hartford Ballet as well as the National tours of "Fosse", "Fame" and "We Will Rock You" and on Broadway in "Chorus Line".

    Angela and Steve have been on the faculty of Dance Educators of America’s Teacher Training program. Steve is the author of his Jazz Dance syllabus and together they authored their Partner syllabus both used for Teacher Training worldwide. Angela served as Chairperson for the Tri State panel of the Royal Academy of Dancing and they have taught as guest faculty for Mt. Holyoke College, Michigan State University, The University of Arkansas, Yale University and University of Nevada Las Vegas. They teach Master Classes in Ballet, Jazz, Lyrical Jazz and Partner work all over the world including residencies in England, Spain, Costa Rica and Mexico.

  • Inspiring Confidence Through Costumes Part Three: 2016 Trends & 2017 Predictions

    CandicePicQ&A with Candice Specht, Curtain Call Designer

    How long have you worked in costume design? How did you get into this field?

    I have worked in the dance costume design industry for about seven years and three and a half years at Perform Group. I began college as a fashion design major, but I quickly learned that I wasn’t interested in doing mass-marketed fashion lines. Instead, I decided to fuse my two passions together. I began dancing when I was two or three years old and while in high school, I began teaching like my mom. I loved dancewear because it was a niche area.

    What inspires you?

    Lots of shopping! I look at today’s fashion trends and play with how I can incorporate those into dancewear specifically. I look at Vogue and Seventeen magazines to see what’s inspiring the fashion of today’s younger women. Celebrity styles in tabloids, big fashion runway shows and retail websites like Rent the Runway are other ways that allow me to visualize what people would look like in dance costumes that are trendy.

    Movies are pop culture inspirations. I anticipate that The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast will be the most recreated styles in 2017. Marvel and heroine movies and music will continue to gain popularity and momentum through next year.

    Music is another impactful inspiration because I imagine the movements to that song and what style would complement that music. What musicians like Ariana Grande, Katy Perry and Beyoncé are wearing in music videos and the red carpet set the tone for dance costume fashion.

    What does your day look like as a dance costume designer?

    My first task when I get in the office is answering emails. Then I explore costs and materials for our garments. Next on my to-do list is seeking inspiration. That ranges from magazines and tabloids, to Google and Pinterest searches, to online shopping.

    When I’m developing an outfit, I will draw a very rough sketch on paper with a list of items I want to incorporate within the margins. After this initial sketch, I continue more detailed work on Adobe Illustrator.

    I work on a team with three in-house designers and one freelance designer. Though we each have our own offices, we have a large open space where we collaborate.

    What is your favorite genre of dance to design for?

    My favorite genre of dance to design for has to be contemporary because it’s fun to incorporate current fashion trends and dress details like the latest wedding dress styles. My favorite age group to design for is the tween and teen dancers.

    What are the most popular colors and fabrics to incorporate into your designs?

    Green is my favorite color so I was happy to hear “greenery” was Pantone’s color of the year, especially since it’s not normally that popular of a color to incorporate into dance costumes. Black, blush and beige tones are staple colors that have been popular for years.

    The 1990s style is back in fashion and we see that carrying into dance. We’ve also seen a ton of demand for off the shoulder and slit sleeves over the past year.

    Sparkles and sequins are always popular. Velvet comes in and out of style. Pleated fabrics are really in right now. My favorite item to design is intricate backs.

    What was your favorite design this year?

    The ballet costume Blushing Bouquet (C354) was my favorite Curtain Call design of the year. It’s all about the fabric in that style.

    Candice_Style

  • Giving Thanks to Your Biggest Fans

    flowersEach year on the fourth Thursday of November, many Americans take time to reflect on what they are grateful for. As a studio owner, it’s easy to get caught up as you juggle running your business with the holiday season, but it’s important to thank those who continue to make your studio a success all year long. Doing so shows you care for and respect your customers, which can help strengthen your relationships. Here are eight ways to thank your studio parents and dancers:

    1. Make parents feel welcomed and comfortable. If your studio space allows for it, set up a coffee or magazine station for parents to enjoy while waiting for their dancers. By making your customers feel comfortable and offering small tokens of gratitude, you show you are thinking about the long hours a dance parent may have.
    2. When students or families volunteer in support of studio initiatives or events, take time to write hand-written notes to show your gratitude. A bouquet of flowers for dancers that meet a goal or for parents that go above-and-beyond volunteering to make the studio’s recital or community event a success can also be a nice gesture.
    3. Host a Parent Participation or Observation Day, in which parents of students can experience first-hand or observe a variety of dance styles and classes. Not only will parents have fun and learn more about dance, they will leave with a deeper understanding of your studio.
    4. Thank senior students by allowing them to lead a class. It’s a fun way for students to flex their skills and take initiative with something they love to do.
    5. Organize a student and parent group outing by obtaining group tickets to a local play, musical, ballet or symphony. This allows your studio community to spend time together and enjoy the arts at a discounted price.
    6. Give a discount on classes, costumes or classwear to dancers who register for a certain number of classes or to those who refer others to your studio. Additionally, consider setting up a milestone program to recognize students that have been with your studio for five or more years. Giving out certificates or small gifts (such as framed photos, dance gear, pins or jewelry), can be a sincere and personalized way to show students you appreciate their loyalty and want them to stay and grow with your studio family.
    7. When parents put in extra hours to support studio events, organize a raffle featuring local businesses including spa days, restaurant gift certificates, or parent studio gear for them to wear to competitions. These special gifts show you recognize the work and impact volunteers are making.
    8. For students, host cast parties to help them celebrate and show that you’re thankful for the hard work that they have put in. This gives students the fun time they deserve after all of their dedication and effort.

    Whether it’s a special event or gift, or simply kind words, it’s important to share thanks with your students and their families. Whichever way you choose to show your gratitude, make it personal to continue to deepen your student and parent relationships.

  • The Enrollment Idea that Knocked our Socks Off

    Misty-headshot

     

    By Misty Lown

    Have you noticed the trend of later enrollment? I don’t know about you, but it seems that even with our best efforts to encourage early enrollment, registration for our littlest dancers—especially those who have never danced with us before—seems to come in a little later each year.

     

    We have tried many of the traditional enrollment boosting strategies:

    Pre-registration bonuses.

    Bring-a-friend day. 

    Open house.

    Referral cards.

     

    Each of them had a period of effectiveness AND some major drawbacks.

    We found pre-registration to be very effective, but only for current students. Pre-registration was not effective in helping us to reach new students very well. Bring-a-friend day brought a lot of excitement to the studio, but most of the kids who brought friends were already in full classes with no room for “permanent friends”.  Open house used to drive traffic by droves for pre-season shoe fittings, but with a fully stocked store on site and online shopping, buying ahead of time is no longer a priority. And a recent poll of our families found that they would refer a friend just because they believed in our program and that they didn’t need the incentive of a referral bonus.

     

    We knew we had to change it up, but we didn’t know how. 

    Then our Community Outreach Coordinator had a brilliant idea:  “Why don’t we put the best parts of everything we know DOES work well into one really great promotion?”

     

    And so “Free Dance Days” was born and the promotion has exceeded all of our expectations. We chose one specific week in October and opened only classes that still had spaces for “Free Dance Days”.  Our current students were invited to try another class or style of dance and the community was invited to try a dance class for the first time.  We bought two banners promoting the event for display in front of the studio and a local parade. But, the real key was that we used the same artwork for a Facebook post, which was boosted to a targeted audience for $50.  The post featured a button to “Sign Up”, which took visitors to a special page on our website where they could fill out a simple form to try a class.

     

    We hosted 122 visitors over the course of our “Free Dance Days” and an overflow group of 22 dancers the following week.  All teachers were prepared to accommodate new friends in the classroom ahead of time and parent volunteers greeted visitors at door to show the way to classes.  After classes, all visitors were invited to the front desk area where they were given a thank you gift for attending classes and information regarding registration.  So far, 18% of those who attended Free Dance Days have registered for regular classes. Those who haven’t registered will be invited to try our upcoming “Mini-Mester”, which is a shorter 8-week session of classes before the holidays.

     

    Reflecting on the week, I think there are several reasons why our “Free Dance Days” promotion worked so well.

    1.  Advertising on Facebook made it easy to reach our target audience.
    2.  A simple online registration form made it easy to sign up.
    3.  An email to attendees before the event helped manage expectations and remind people to attend.
    4.  The experience was designed to be warm and welcoming with an incentive for enrollment at the event.
    5.  We created other enrollment options, such as Mini-Mester for those who did wish to enroll for regular classes at the event.

     

    As you evaluate your fall and winter enrollment strategies, consider taking the best of what you know works and making something brand new.  Look for new ways to market and wow your visitors when they arrive and give them plenty of options to become involved after the event.  It’s a great way to give your 2016-17 enrollment a great boost before it’s time to order costumes for the big spring recital.

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