How to Start a Dance Studio

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Dance teachers need to have good rapport with students.
Dance teachers need to have good rapport with students. (Image: Mitch Aunger/Hemera/Getty Images)

If you have extensive training and experience as a dancer, starting a dance studio might be a good fit for you. However, it takes more than just being a good and passionate dancer to run a dance studio. You must be aware of the many behind-the-scene factors that contribute to a studio's success. It's a good idea to work for someone else's dance studio before starting your own so you can learn the business side of dance.

Decide Studio Type

The dance school business has proven to be a successful and financially sound one, according to Entrepreneur magazine. This business costs between $10,000 and $50,000 to start. Your first decision is how to position yourself in the marketplace. Options include a general dance school for children; a school that teaches only specific dance styles, such as ballroom or ballet; a competition studio; a performance studio; or a studio that offers classes for children and adults.

Find a Facility

Your budget should give you an idea of how big a space you can afford. One room might be enough in the beginning, but if you plan to expand, you need a studio with more space. Take into account space for a lobby, storage and a bathroom. The ideal facility also offers adequate parking and is in a location convenient to your target market.

Ready the Studio

You'll need to install a good sprung floor, which absorbs shocks. Hire a flooring company to install one or do it yourself if you know how. Large mirrors are also necessary; the larger the mirrors, the bigger your studio appears. You need to install barres for ballet and for other dance styles that use a barre to help with balance. Portable barres are also an option. An adequate sound system is necessary.

Hire Teachers

If you are qualified, you can teach classes yourself. If you no longer dance, or if you need help teaching as your studio grows, hire dance instructors. You might have connections from your dancing experience. The benefit of hiring someone you know is that you're familiar with that person's ability level and personality. If you don't know any teaching candidates, advertise, look over resumes, and assess applicants on the dance floor. You might let potential teachers conduct a trial class to assess their skills and suitability.

Find Students

Put up a "grand opening" sign on your new dance studio and hold an open house to attract students. Create a website and a Facebook page that explain about your studio and the types of classes it offers and that has a way for people to enroll. Attend community events where you or your teachers, and eventually your students, can perform to attract attention. Once you get students, word of mouth provides an excellent and free method to get more students. Please your clientele by offering a valuable experience.

Keep Class Interesting and Challenging

If you want to offer a specialty class with guest instructors, add variety to your regular classes or hire a guest choreographer for a competition, reach out to your dance connections or search an online aggregator site, such as TakeLessons. It keeps class interesting to bring in the occasional instructor who teaches specialty classes, such as African dance, theatrical dance, Bollywood and Irish step.

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