Friday, April 27, 2012

A great show is all in the details

As dance teachers we get really busy.  I've found over the years that preparing for the recital is my favorite experience of the year.  I love to put on a great show... I'm a planner.  So, I make lists, check stuff off , and try to stay one step ahead.   Some people say to me, "Oh, you must be so busy this time of year..." and I smile.  Because to be honest, I'm all ready done with my check list.  I'm sort of tappin' my toe waiting for May 19th to arrive.   But I'll play along and pretend that I'm busy just to make this look a little harder than it is--after 11 years I can say I'm a master recital planner.  (knock on wood)

I love this time of year because the students are taught their dances, now I get to just drill them during class. The costumes are in and we had picture day, so I know everyone is ready.   The music is edited.  Tickets are sold out. And bills are paid.

So while I wait, I pay attention to the details.   I make sure my programs are ready and a table display is appropriate for the theme is boxed up and ready for a volunteer to set up at rehearsal night.

I fill my stage boxes with little necessities like sewing needles that are pre-threaded, hot glue guns loaded, hair supplies and extra Revolution tights for backstage runs, and a first aid kit for whatever comes our way. 

Make sure I have rosin ready and in a good container - I like to recycle the box trays from Panera Bread for our rosin boxes.  Then I can throw them out after the final show.

I get my music ready to play before and after the performance to keep the auditorium festive.

I take my costume photo clips and post them to sheets of paper which we then post in the hallways backstage, so kids know where to line up.  (this works great to keep the backstage organized)  Put the show order number on the sheet and tell parents to find the matching costume - works like a charm! 

With my extra time I added some fur boa to some headpieces to make them pop and I have to do one more coat of paint on my "suitcases" for the opening tap number... that's about the only thing left on my to do list other than that final press release to promote the show. Since I'm a PR person in my day job, I can pretty much write that in my sleep. 

And then just when I think I have it all covered... I remember I need to finish the Pre-Registration forms for next year... I like to pass those out when the parents get their picture day pictures in hand... when everyone is loving dance!     It never hurts to do your next season registration at the end of the year...get them to commit now before you have a few weeks off for summer break. And don't forget to update the website.

So, I guess I better stop my toe tappin' and get to work on my registration stuff... hope you have yours ready too.   And remember the key to a great show is all in the details!  So plan ahead to give your mind and your hands time to work on them. That way it can be fun for you too and not stressful.

Hope your show is amazing!    Ms. DeAnne

Friday, April 20, 2012

NIKE ARC ANGELS (Pointe shoe training) on the Behance Network

NIKE ARC ANGELS (Pointe shoe training) on the Behance Network

Just came across a new Pointe' shoe that I thought you all may be interested in...has anyone seen this, tried it yet?

I love the idea, our students are having a hard time keep their shoes in shape and parents I'm sure would love to buy fewer pointe' shoes.   I see a lot of interesting uses for this shoe!  What do you think?

Haven't quite figured out how to buy them yet but I'm sure Dance Distributors or Discount Dance Supply is working on it.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Postcards from Paris...Is your recital memorable?

Next week is "Picture Night" at our studio.   My favorite night when the kids come to class and get their photos taken in their recital costumes.   We use it as a "costume and make up rehearsal" too.  Good chance to get all those last minute parents motivated to make final costume, tights and hair tweeks before our big events next month - the annual recital.

It's this time of the year when the business of being a dance teacher really sets in.  Promoting a show, selling tickets, finalizing payments for year end and trying to think about the next season of dance even though you are totally exhausted from the current year. 

Now is the time to think about marketing your dance school...your recital is your biggest marketing tool.  A successful show can mean new students, but most importantly it KEEPS students returning to you year after year.

I know, I know many people have told you this before, including me and Rhee Gold at Dance Studio Life, but your recital is  your moment to shine.  Make sure it's memorable, well run, and most importantly fun for your students and parents. Don't make it so long that it's even painful for dance enthusiasts to like it.  Do what you have to do to make it enjoyable and entertaining.

I have a good system that works for me, but I'm sure every dance teacher out there has their own "system".  For instance, my dress rehearsal is scheduled in chunks, so the entire dance academy doesn't have to be there all at the same time.  We do dress rehearsal the evening before the show.   And we do photos a month before that... like next week for instance.  I always contact the local paper and issue a press release about our event too.   This year we are using social media -Facebook page with invites to recital event.

I also try to create a show.  Not just a recital.  I do my best to stick with a theme and give our small town, rural customers a glimmer of what a real Broadway show might be kind of like... (insert "clear my throat" sound effect)

I've had parents tell me they love the recital "as much as Christmas".... which is a good thing I think. 

One of my surprises each year is the backdrop selection - for over ten years we've been using Backdrops Fantastic and I love them!!!   This is in no way a paid endorsement, just a real time word of mouth plug for a great company that is ready and detailed for busy studio owners like us.  The backdrop makes the stage stand out and it sets us apart from other studios in the area who don't use them.

This year our theme is "Postcards from Paris" - my spin on an international theme.  I tried something interesting... on LinkedIn I posted a call for postcards in one of the dance teacher groups... we've started getting postcards from around the world to display at the studio/recital.   I want to say Thank You to all those who are sending or have sent cards!  I can't read every one's handwriting or languages, but it sure is fun!  (if you want to send a card to us there is still time-  BHF Dance Academy, 804 23rd Street, Brodhead, WI, 53520)  Our show is May 19, 2012.

What do you do to make your recital memorable?   I'd like to hear from you... because quite frankly I'm having a hard time picking my theme for next year and I need some help.

Thanks for reading,
a Dance Teacher just like you!

Releve' Dance Poster sample

Releve' Dance Poster sample
sample of poster