• 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.

  • We're Thankful for You!

    We're Thankful for You Sweepstakes

    Valued Customers,

    'Tis the season of thanks, and this year, I want to personally thank each and every one of our loyal customers for your ongoing support of Curtain Call. We are so honored to be part of your dancing journeys, and look forward to inspiring creativity together this holiday season and beyond.

    To thank you for your ongoing dedication and inspiration, we are hosting a “Thankful for You Sweepstakes.” Orders placed between November 9 and December 8 will be automatically entered to win a number of prizes, like free shipping on all fill-in orders for the rest of the season or 20 free custom warm-ups with embellishment from Studio I.D.®. If you’ve already made an order, or aren’t quite yet ready to place one, you can still enter the contest! Just fill out our online contact form and add “We’re Thankful for You Sweepstakes” in the comment field. You can also enter via mail. Additional details can be found here.

    From the beginning, Curtain Call has sought to bring you more than just beautiful costumes, but also the confidence and peace of mind knowing that you're getting high quality styles, delivered on time, with exceptional service. We value the work you do and want to help your business run as smoothly as possible so you can focus on doing what you love—sharing your passion for dance.

    Keep dancing,
    Tighe King

  • ‘Tis the Season: Preparing for Holiday Showcases

    Preparing-for-Holiday-ShowcasesBy: Elizabeth Barton

    Between family gatherings, friend gift exchanges, and work parties, it may seem near impossible to find time during the holiday season, but there’s always time for a holiday showcase! Holiday showcases do not have to be on the same scale as your spring recital, but can create a fun performance opportunity to keep your students engaged during the winter season. Holiday performances are also a great way to showcase all styles of dance and even other performance arts like singing, theatre and gymnastics. They can also be a great test to see if a full holiday show would make sense for your studio next year. Here are a few steps to have your studio participate in the holiday season:

     

     

    Line up logistics: If you haven’t booked a venue yet have no fear! Consider hosting a holiday showcase at your studio. Instead of renting a local theatre, set up standing room or chairs in the studio to accommodate your anticipated audience. Doing so will not only help to control costs, but may also make planning easier; there’s no need to rent dress rehearsal space and all of your dancers and parents will be familiar with the location and know exactly where to go. On the other hand, think about renting out a local school gym for a minimal fee and holding an informal performance where students can just have fun. Wherever the holiday performance is held, don’t be afraid to recruit parents to help and dress up the studio with festive decorations.

     

    By scheduling the showcase for early December, you can kick off the holiday season for your studio community members, while minimizing scheduling conflicts. If you live in a region with four seasons, consider listing a snow date.

     

    Alternatively, you can perform at existing local holiday events and gatherings, such as parades and retirement homes.

     

    Plan the performance: Don’t worry about the performance having a cohesive storyline. Each class can perform a single song, potentially with a holiday or seasonal theme, and teachers may decide if those more experienced students are also able to perform solos, duos or trios. This is a great way to empower teachers to come together to discuss what each class will be doing and allow them to take creative liberty, while working as a team. Holiday performances are not just limited to traditional styles of dance. Studios who offer classes such as theatre, singing, and gymnastics can participate as well.

     

    When it comes to what to wear, there’s still time to order complete holiday costumes. You can also order thematic accessories, such as antlers, tiaras and bows, which students can wear with their class wear. There are lots of ways to get students looking the part and into the holiday spirit.

     

    Give Back: The holidays are a great time to give thanks for what you have as well as to give back to your community or a favorite charity. Consider collecting a $5 showcase admission fee to be donated to a charity or ask for a canned food item or toy per audience member for a local food bank or toy drive. You could even ask your studio community to vote for the cause the performance will support.

     

    Celebrate: Your students work hard each week. After the showcase, let them celebrate their performances and enjoy the company of their teammates. This also allows members of the studio and their families to socialize, deepening bonds within the studio community.

     

    Some post-performance celebration ideas include a cast party or cookie exchange. Be sure to include activities that reflect all of the cultures of your student body and think about doing an end of year recap in a slideshow format for all to enjoy.

     

    The holiday season is a great time to spread cheer with performance and optional charitable giving activities. Additionally, holiday showcases, no matter how small, allow students to engage and rehearse with their classes before recital season, while also giving you marketing materials. Consider sharing the performance on social media and inviting prospective students to attend, both of which could lead to growth opportunities for your studio.

  • Studio Success Secrets: Teaching Talent

    studio-success-secrets-blogBy: Julia Hilliard

    As a studio owner you wear many hats (well, maybe more like tiaras and feathers). Chances are you teach, run the office, organize costume orders and perform other administrative tasks to help your business flourish. Sometimes, the to-do list can get so long it seems like there must be some secret to getting it all done. Well, truth is, there’s no real “secret.”

    But your teaching staff play an important part in making your studio a success. They inspire and teach your students and help you ensure your studio stays afloat. Attracting and retaining amazing teachers is how you can ensure longevity for your studio. Here are a few tips to help you attract and retain top teacher talent.

    Build Your Network: The first step is looking to your network to find talent—a former classmate or teacher, or even a former student who has grown into a skilled dancer that can teach. Additionally, local university dance programs are filled with talent who are looking to get more experience. You can also use online tools, such as DanceTeacherFinder.com, the LinkedIn of dance teachers, where studios post job openings and dancers apply to teaching jobs. Try to develop a bench of teachers with different specialties to allow flexibility in class offerings as your studio continues to grow.

     

    Deepen Relationships: Once you have hired your staff, you must put effort into making them feel at home in your studio. Though contracts can help encourage commitment and deter student poaching, there are other ways to inspire loyalty among your staff: empowerment and flexibility.

     

    Empower your teachers and provide them with flexibility to do their jobs in their personal style. By giving dance teachers creative liberty to choose the music, choreography and costumes for each of their classes, you prove that you trust their talent and ability to take the lead with your business, while also relieving yourself of some of the workload. Letting them take creative risks will inspire them to continue to think outside of the box and be excited to show up to work every day to practice their passion.

     

    Make sure your teachers feel like they have a voice in the studio by getting their input on policies and class offerings. For example, if your studio enforces a dress code, allow your teachers a say in classwear.

     

    Additionally, help promote their classes by posting photos and videos through the studio’s social channels (as well as sharing your teacher’s posts about their classes). Engaging on social media with teachers -- as well as students and their parents-- can help strengthen the community feeling they’re building during class time. You can also foster a sense of community by getting your studio involved in local performance opportunities and events outside of the studio.

     

    Retain Top Teacher Talent: In order to retain your talent, it is important to show your teachers you value them. Be transparent with business decisions that may impact them. Hold quarterly meetings, or “State of the Studios,” to discuss accomplishments, challenges and growth opportunities. While it may feel impossible to keep everyone happy all the time, having an open-door policy and encouraging communication with your teachers (as well as students and parents) is a step in the right direction.

     

    Recognize their hard work. Encourage teachers to promote their own classes and provide incentives such as referral bonuses for recommended students and other teachers.

     

    Additionally, if teachers have other business interests besides teaching, provide them with an outlet to explore them. For example, if they have an interest in marketing, let them own the studio’s social media channels. Or if their passion lies in event planning, give them the opportunity to help coordinate recital logistics. You can also invest in their futures by letting teachers attend professional development opportunities, such as conferences like Dance Teacher Summit.

    Teachers are on the front lines talking to your students and parents and can have a positive effect on your business. By giving them flexibility and encouraging their creativity, you’ll have no problem convincing teachers to join your team and keeping them in it for the long haul.

  • The Enrollment Idea that Knocked our Socks Off

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    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.

  • Life Without Dance: There’s No Such Thing

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    By: Christine Luca

    Every dancer knows that there is a lot of truth in the saying “once a dancer, always a dancer.” The urge to move to the newest beat or tap dance down grocery store aisles is something that will never go away. But with many dancers concluding their formal dance training after high school or college, the transition from routine training to recreational dancing is often interrupted by other priorities. As schedules fill up, it can seem like there is never enough time in the day, but it’s important to make time for dance—it’s good for the mind, body and soul. Here are some ways to keep dance a part of your life:

     

    Consider dance a social activity: Sharing experiences and meeting others with the same passion for dance is a fun way to keep dance in your life. To do this, consider volunteering, joining interest groups or teaching.

    • Be a volunteer: Volunteering at dance schools or theaters is a great way to meet new people while absorbing dance culture and giving back. Nonprofit dance companies and community theaters are often looking for volunteers to help with tickets, lighting and backstage duties during performances and rehearsals. These opportunities allow you to meet and socialize with people in your area who have similar interests.

     

    • Join a social group: To help you find your social niche in school, consider joining dance-related interest groups. After high school, dancers should consider joining collegiate dance clubs. Many of these groups will even host end-of-year showcases that allow you maintain your performance skills. After college, dancers should explore young adult classes at community centers like the YMCA. When Dancing with the Stars first aired, studios began to offer more organized classes for adult ballroom dancing, touting health benefits of dance for people of all ages. For a more casual social dance setting, there may be opportunities in your area like country line dancing, which is a little different than the typical dance class, but just as fun!

     

    • Start teaching: Teaching classes is a very typical way to transition off of an intensive training schedule, still enjoy the benefits of dance and connect with dance-lovers along the way. Trained dancers can become teacher’s assistants early on in their dance career to prepare them for a teaching role in the future. There are also many dance conventions and seminars that take place across the country to stay up to date with the newest trends in the dance community.

     

    Participate in fitness classes: Signing up for Barre and Zumba classes is one of the easiest ways to keep dance in your life, while staying in shape and focusing on personal wellness. With new studios, such as 305 Fitness and TAPfit, opening on a regular basis, you’ll never get bored and can always find one that offers your favorite style. Cardio tap is my new favorite!

    Another exercise option that is popular among dancers is yoga. The focus on balance and extension are vital skills for dancing, but also great for toning and stress relief.

     

    Enjoy the arts: Every art form gives participants the ability to express themselves through a wide range of emotions.  Former dancers can tap into their creative side by taking part in other art forms.

    • Explore fine arts: Former dancers looking to maintain a creative, expressive outlet can turn to a number of activities in the fine arts. For example, paint and pottery classes are fun social activities that allow you to channel your artistic impulses in a group setting, similar to dance classes.

     

    • Go to the theatre: Theatre is another collaborative form of art that uses the body to convey emotion, similarly to dance. Added bonus if you go to a musical—there’s guaranteed to be some great dancing!

     

    Support other dancers: This may seem like an obvious one, but I encourage all dancers to get out there and watch dance performances. Watching other dancers is inspiring and fun, and can remind you why you fell in love with the art in the first place.

    • Turn on the television: Watching televisions shows, such as So You Think You Can Dance and Dancing with the Stars, allows you to be the expert judge from your living room. It keeps you involved with the dancing community and can provide inspiration and entertainment.

     

    • Attend live events: Going to live events in the community put on by local schools and dance companies is a lot of fun and often free. Start following your local dance and theatre groups on social media to see what’s coming up on their events calendar.

     

    Concluding routine training may be a challenging transition, but dance does not need to completely leave your life. There are countless ways to keep your dancing spirit alive and connect with other dance-lovers. Once a dancer, always a dancer!

  • Business Checklist for Dance Studio Owners - Q4

    Classes are in full swing! Hopefully the new season is off to a smooth start. While it may seem far away, it’s never too early to start preparing for recital season! Music, choreography, costumes… so much to think about! Outside of the studio, the holidays make this a particularly busy and hectic time of year for you, your students and their families.

    Here is a quick check-list to help keep you thinking ahead during this busy fourth quarter.

    Q4--Business-Tips-Checklist-BLOG

  • 5 Reasons You Need to Leap Over to Your Closest Costume Preview Show!

    By Ashley Zimmerman, National Dance Sales Manager

    Each year, our relationship managers hit the road to meet with studio owners across the country at our highly-anticipated costume preview shows. At the shows, you can view Curtain Call’s latest styles so you can start planning your season’s performances and find the costumes that will inspire you to make your dreams a reality!

    Stop by and visit us at one of this year’s seven full-line shows, or 28 preview shows. Each costume preview show is an opportunity to mingle with other dance professionals, meet your Relationship Manager, enter to win prizes and have some fun. But if that isn’t enough to convince you to join us, here are some highlights from last year’s shows.

    1. Eliminate costly travel expenses - we come to your area! With our Costume Preview Shows strategically located throughout the U.S., we make it more convenient for you! Come alone or bring your whole team for a costume planning event!
      Our 2015 East Coast Premiere Party had quite the layout! Our 2015 East Coast Premiere Party had quite the layout!
    2. Get to know your RM better—they’re fun, we promise! Our relationship managers are just like you – they have extensive dance knowledge, whether as dancers, teachers, or studio owners, so they know what you need to help you through your busy dance season. They’re there for you every step of your journey. Come put a face to a name!
      Everyone enjoyed the 2015 West Coast Premiere Party at the Hyatt Regency Orange County with our RM, Takisha! Everyone enjoyed the 2015 West Coast Premiere Party at the Hyatt Regency Orange County with our RM, Takisha!
    3. Check out the latest styles—it’s way better than browsing online! Our models are actual dancers, making it easy to see how costumes will fit and look on your own students. Additionally, we work hard to ensure that your browsing experience is fun and personalized—you are our VIP!
      Our beautiful models were ready for our Costume Preview Show in Orlando, FL! Our beautiful models were ready for our Costume Preview Show in Orlando, FL!
    4. Mix and mingle with fellow dancers and dance lovers—you may even meet a celebrity or two. With special guests and speakers from all over the country, you can gather the insights you need to help run your business, while gaining inspiration from those who know the industry best.
    5. Enter to win great prizes and receive a $100 merchandise credit, just for attending! We’re excited to show you our new line and want to thank you for coming to our costume preview show by giving you some money towards your next purchase.

    This year we’re excited for even more speakers and fun! Special guests include:

    Steve Sirico & Angela D'Valda Sirico of Dance Teacher Web, MusicWorksDanceTeacherWeb-logo

    Directors--element52

     

    Misty Lown of More Than Just Great Dancing
    MoreThanJustGreatDancing-logoMisty-headshot

    Save the date for an event near you by checking out our full line-up of events here.

  • Top 10 Things All Choreographers Know to Be True

    08232016-ChoreographersChoreography is a form of creativity that has the power to connect dancers physically, intellectually and emotionally. With each piece you develop, you’re creating a story; weaving together not only movements, but ideas and feelings, that dancers and audience members alike can relate to. Even after a long day and aching blisters, there’s nothing else in the world choreographers would rather do.

    Here are ten things that only choreographers will understand:

    1. Creativity can spark at any moment. Whether you’re listening to music on your morning commute or shopping for a new outfit or costume -- you find inspiration everywhere. A new beat or design can get choreography started in your head.
    2. Every new song on the radio is judged on a scale from impossible to easily choreograph-able. You know all the top hits before they are hits.
    3. Your self-evaluation of the choreography makes a mirror your best friend and worst enemy.
    4. Your choreography outfit style changes based on your mood. Sometimes it’s hair down, shoes and harem pants, other times it is shorts and bare feet.
    5. No matter how many times you review your notes, when it comes time to teach a routine, you won’t be able to read your handwriting.
    6. By the end of you teaching this newly choreographed piece, number counts turn into noises. Cue the boom, chas, uh-ohs, etc.
    7. You live your emotions through dance and every choreographed piece represents a part of your life.
    8. YouTube is your favorite social channel. Hours of inspiration right at your fingertips.
    9. You find yourself judging choreography in every dance movie, show and concert, and how your spin could make it better.
    10. Seeing your choreography come to life is the one of the most gratifying feelings you can experience.
  • Back to School: Last Minute Secrets for Attracting New Students

    backtoschoolBy: Julia Hilliard, Relationship Manager

    As a dance studio owner, it can feel like the summer months take center stage one day and chassé into the wings the next. This happens, in part, because summer is a very hectic time of year—between wrapping up recital season, coordinating summer classes and trying to rest and rejuvenate, time can slip away!

    But do not fear; there is still time to prepare your studio for a successful fall registration.  As parents start to select extracurricular activities for their children, use the last few weeks of summer to successfully market your studio’s unique brand to your community. Here are a few ways to do so:

    Nurture Existing Relationships

    Happy parents and dancers are your greatest advocates, so it’s important that they remain loyal and happy. To ensure their satisfaction, ask for their feedback. While you will likely receive some feedback throughout the course of the year, by distributing a formal survey, you can solicit specific feedback and show parents and students that you value their input. To maximize feedback, consider offering a participation incentive. For example, when a parent fills out a survey, enter their student into a drawing to win a back-to-school prize package.

    Additionally, make it as easy as possible for students to return to the studio for another exciting season. You could do this by offering early registration incentives or special class promotions.

    Boost Social Media Efforts

    If you’ve dabbled in marketing, you’re aware of the power of social media. Showcasing your studio’s personality and culture via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other channels is an effective way to reach both dancers and their parents.

    However, collecting enough content to maintain numerous social channels can be time consuming and impractical for your busy schedule. To help divvy up social media responsibilities, consider selecting a handful of your loyal, senior students to act as studio reps. You can organize your rep program in a number of ways. For example, you may ask that each rep be responsible for submitting five photos a month for your studio’s channels. You could also encourage your reps to positively promote the studio on their personal channels. Just be sure to have a conversation ahead of time about what kind of content may be deemed inappropriate.

    For additional content, don’t forget to share your studio’s news! Did you just make a big impact in your community through a volunteer effort? Did your students just win big at a local competition? Whatever the story may be, make sure you’re sharing it with your social media community.

    Emphasize Curriculum

    Help parents understand why they should choose your studio over others in the area by emphasizing your curriculum in marketing efforts. For example, if your studio really prides itself on classes for preschoolers, make sure parents know that. Alternatively, if your studio is a better fit for serious ballet students, make sure that is clear, as well. This will help ensure that you are the right fit for a particular student and vice versa.

    If you are finding that your curriculum is not attracting as many students as you had hoped, consider adding unique classes to your fall lineup like “acroyoga” or “rhythm tap.” Additionally, to help show parents and dancers that you’re tuned into the last dance trends, don’t be afraid to talk about conventions or trainings you attended over the summer to stay fresh and current.

    Any tips are tricks for recruiting new students at the end of the summer? We want to hear them! Comment below.

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