Dance studio owners have a unique job.
They wear many hats, requiring skills as an instructor, mentor, administrator, production manager, choreographer, entrepreneur, business manager, “boss” and more. I have never owned a studio but have taught at many throughout the years, and have observed this juggling act which owners perform every season. It can be a lonely job in that you are constantly between two worlds – the business and the artistic, the worker bee and the queen bee, the motivator and the disciplinarian.
Relationships with others who share these experiences can reduce the everyday stress of a being a studio owner. Not only can owners learn from one another, they can be a sounding board or a listening ear when these are most needed.
A Beacon for Dance Studio Owners
Throughout my journey in the online dance community, I’ve been fortunate to meet some wonderful and giving people. I have been freely offered support, encouragement, answers, and information from those who have a passion for dance and seek to share this passion with others. From my very first interaction with Suzanne Blake Gerety, I found her to be a sincere and generous person. This first impression has lasted as I’ve continued to chat with her through Twitter and emails. Therefore, I feel confident in sharing her website, DanceStudioOwner.com, with my readers. I truly feel that this website provides a unique service for those who are or are seeking to become studio owners.
While there are other places online in which dance studio owners can gather, Suzanne, her mom, Kathy, and other site contributors are offering something special with DanceStudioOwner. Its resources alone make the site valuable to any studio administrator. However, in addition to the information and networking opportunities available, this website is facilitated by actual studio owners who cherish the joys and challenges of running a studio after 35 years in the business.
Kathy Blake began her studio with a dream not unlike that of many studio owners. She has weathered ups and downs and currently operates a performing arts studio with over 1,000 students. Now, with the help of her daughter, Suzanne, she is supporting other studio owners with the goal of sharing her success with others. I have witnessed first-hand the generosity and sincerity with which this mother-daughter team make themselves available to the members of their site.
I recently spoke with Suzanne about DanceStudioOwner, its content, and what’s next for the site. Her words illustrate the spirit of collaboration that is behind the mission of this ever-expanding resource.
Your mother’s success as a dance studio owner inspired you to pass on her legacy, knowledge, and passion through DanceStudioOwner.com. If possible, sum up the keys to her success in just a few words.
Dedication, Determination, and Enthusiasm. My mom’s success has been guided by those words during the times when situations have been challenging or when it seemed impossible to grow. She’s always been in love with the art of dance and she loves her business, it’s a beautiful combination and I believe it is what makes her a success and also just a great person to be with. My mom is a lot of fun and she loves to help people find their greatness.
Your website is an online community and resource for studio owners. Why do you think it is important for studio owners to interact with other studio owners, and how does technology facilitate this interaction?
I am a firm believer that studio owners can collaborate together to help encourage each other to build their unique brand – whether they are across town or on another continent – you can be in a conversation of abundance. Studio owners often stretch themselves very thin with the thousands of details it takes to run a studio, our website functions as a collaborative space for them to reduce their time spent on certain tasks, get answers from other owners who are dealing with many of the same challenges, and to get the coaching or support they need to stay focused on keeping their passion for dance alive as they run and grow their studio.
The site explores topics from classroom management to business management and includes a forum where members can post questions and share ideas. What have you seen as the primary concerns of today’s studio owners?
Today’s studio owners are concerned with keeping up with the latest technology available to them to help keep their studio running smoothly. They are also concerned about the economic situation we are in and what impact it may have on their school. Lastly, with the popularity of the many dance shows on TV, many worry that the foundations of proper dance technique are being forgotten because young dancers see these shows yet they don’t see the many years of training it takes to lead up to that level of dance. Studio owners are working to find the balance of offering the popular classes while staying dedicated to the art of dance to maintain a steady foundation of dancers at their schools – student retention.
You have an active group of members. Are these members from all over the U.S.?
Yes, the wonderful thing about being on the web is that our members already represent from over 24 states in the U.S. and also Australia and Scotland. (DA Notes: These figures continue to increase. As of Feb 2010, the site’s membership represents 44 out of the 50 United States. And over 15% of the active membership includes studio
owners from the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Greece, France, Kuait, French Guiana, Mexico, Hong Kong, Antigua & Barbados, Montserrat, South Africa, People’s Republic of China, and Norway)
Our members are our number one priority and what I know from the many conversations I’ve had no matter where they are located; studio owners face many of the same challenges. Having launched our site in the spring of 2008, we are thrilled at the positive response, and that studio owners know that our site is a resource for them no matter where they are located. The information is available to them 24/7/365.
The site offers articles, downloads, monthly teleconferencing, and more to its members. What’s next for the site? What other features can members look forward to?
We are so excited about the content we are working on for DanceStudioOwner.com. You’ll see more video clips and video coaching added. Plus, look for podcasts in the future! I am going to keep bringing the latest trends in social networking and technology to studio owners. I do believe that many of these trends are going to change the way that business has been run in the past. My number one goal is to always listen to what our members need and want – they’ve loved our custom coloring sheets and we will add more resources for teachers as well. Plus our network of contributors continues to grow: experts who can make a difference for how studio owners start and grow their business.
I have contributed two articles to the DanceStudioOwner technology department about, (what else), blogging. As always, I write what I know and am increasingly certain that a studio blog is a valuable tool for dance studios. In these posts I explain a little bit about why. Suzanne has kindly made these articles available to my readers via the following links:
Update: My Relationship With DanceStudioOwner.com
Since the original posting of this article, I have received compensation from DanceStudioOwner.com as both a ghost writer of articles for the site and as a result of an affiliate relationship. If you are referred to Dance Studio Owner via a Dance Advantage link and decide to make a purchase there, I am compensated for this referral. I’m a huge fan of Suzanne, Kathy, and their website and would rave about them anyway. That they’ve been generous enough to offer something for my efforts is icing on the cake.
If you own a dance studio, are thinking about owning one, or if you are a teacher that operates your own dance program, I hope you’ll check out what the site has to offer. Learn more about subscribing here.
Nichelle Suzanne is a writer specializing in dance and online content. She is also a dance instructor with over 20 years experience teaching in dance studios, community programs, and colleges. She began Dance Advantage in 2008, equipped with a passion for movement education and an intuitive sense that a blog could bring dancers together. As a Houston-based dance writer, Nichelle covers dance performance for Dance Source Houston, Arts+Culture Texas, and other publications. She is a leader in social media within the dance community and has presented on blogging for dance organizations, including Dance/USA. Nichelle provides web consulting and writing services for dancers, dance schools and studios, and those beyond the dance world. Read Nichelle’s posts.