Forum: Ask a Studio Owner

Taking a 180 with your studio
By stylizedbeauti09member has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sat Jun 18, 2016 05:53 PM

Hi So's

So I've been debating the topic here for a few months and recently a few actions by my parents make a me think I should take the plunge. Would love some insight and or experiences if anyone's done this.

For the past five yrs I've been a small competitive studio. It seems like every year the drama gets worse and worse. My competitive team is only approx 25 dancers ranging from 9-18. It's as if everyone thinks their kid is the next Misty Copeland and those that I have spend endless dedicated hrs of my time helping to perfect leave me high and dry at the end of the year because they want to go to a bigger studio. It frustrates me because the only reason they have progressed so quickly is the one on one I am able to provide on a daily basis, being so small. But at the end of the day it breaks my heart to see parents so quick to just leave and sometime not even with a thank you for all you've done for my kid... I have just got word that about five or so families may be leaving my team this year because they want more more more. It's stressful and having two babies under 18mo and a new home this is not the type of mind set I want to have constantly about my profession. I have been taking classes and working with a consultant regarding growing our young children's classes and part of me thinks it might be wise (but scary) to completely re vamp the studio, our core message and goals, and our systems. I'm not sure I'll be able to do it for this coming year (too soon) but id love to run up my lease, find a smaller space and re-open the studio specializing in childrens classes. I think this would decrease my stress, allow me to earn more income and most important grow a strong foundation to the studio that I can decide to expand once I have a strong group to progress with.

I would love any input anyone has regarding whether they've done it and if it's been successful. I don't want to close my doors but these competition parents are killing my passion and I think re-creating our programs and target audience will be a way to refresh my life and love for teaching.

Sorry for the long post! Thanks in advance

7 Replies to Taking a 180 with your studio

re: Taking a 180 with your studio
By RileyA
On Mon Jun 20, 2016 02:49 PM
It does sound like a dramatic change, but I have actually made a similar change in the past and it worked.

Our studio had been emerged in a negative competition culture due to the teaching the students had received, We dropped our competition team and asked the current members to make a choice and stay with us if they were happy to try our new structure or head elsewhere with our blessing. Some stayed and some went, they right ones stayed.

Within a few years we had developed the students skill well enough to head back into competition with a much stronger group than we had ever had before, but we started it the right way and ran it the way we intended to continue.

Years later again we have an even stronger group, it just continues to grow.
re: Taking a 180 with your studio
By stargaze
On Tue Jun 21, 2016 11:49 PM
My studio is completely REC oriented and it is possible to have quality technique taught in that environment! We do parades, community events and of course the Recital. It is a-ok to revamp your studio to suit your needs and vision. Do not hesitate to do this. Sanity is key! Not every studio has to be Comp oriented...I have learned that. My studio is successful because my angle is Anti-Comp. (It just works for us given that there are so MANY comp studios in our area...some Parents actually want the Stress Free environment!)

Put your foot down, revamp the policies you have in place (and if you don't have them in place, now is the time!!! I cannot stand drama in my studio, hence why I do not have a comp program.) The dynamic in my studio is Family Friendly, love and welcoming. It sounds like this is what you want for your space :) You can definitely recreate what you want. Do it! PM me if you want to vent or share ideas.
re: Taking a 180 with your studio
By stylizedbeauti09member has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Thu Jun 23, 2016 10:01 AM
I cannot thank you enough for the responses! Just what I was looking for, some encouragement. After a week or so of restless nights and officially losing about half of my comp team (thankfully the negative nellys) I think I'm ready for a change and to nurture my personal well being along the way so I can do this for the long run. I'll definitely take all advice and words of wisdom, thank you a million times ove :)
re: Taking a 180 with your studio
By hummingbird
On Thu Jun 23, 2016 03:04 PM
Good for you, it's a tough choice to make but there are times we need to make these decisions for our own sanity. It looks like you've started to cut the chafe and keep the good wheat. All the best and let us know how it goes.
re: Taking a 180 with your studio
By stargaze
On Fri Jun 24, 2016 12:04 AM
Keep us posted how the transition unfolds :)
re: Taking a 180 with your studio
By Danztchr07
On Sat Jun 25, 2016 02:26 PM
I feel ya. I have a competition group but it's small and not my main focus, plus it's used as a confidence, self-esteem booster getting in front of people, learning from the judges, having fun. I honestly never want it to be a highly competitive group just because I'm of the mind that I've been doing this for 22 years and have only had 3 kids do anything in the dance field and all of it had to do with teaching dance. I just have never understood having kids up there for what seems like 24/7 heavy training and then they get into Jr. High, High School or graduate and do nothing with dance again. I want all my kids to get a great technical dance education but also become productive and capable human beings no matter what they do! I started with 4 kids competing 14 or so years ago and had 40-45 7 years ago, but then it's slowly declined oddly more since I left the community center and started my freestanding studio. 3 years ago I think I had 29 or so, since then it's stayed between 14-20. I've had the same issue as you that some leave to go to the bigger, more competitive studios. I had a lady write me the other day asking about our group but I think my honesty about us being smaller and not an out for blood studio (I didn't use those words btw. Lol!) turned her off because I never heard back from her. I sometimes think I should just give up on even having a competition group, but I know my kids would be devastated to not have it. (especially my own 2) Plus, I make them do summer so that is my primary summer income so not sure I could totally leap and do what you're doing. I do wish I could have it back up to those 30-40 numbers or so, but not sure how to get there. Heck not sure right now how to get all my numbers back up! Frustrating! Good luck though to you and yes, let us know how it goes.
re: Taking a 180 with your studio
By amylilbit
On Wed Jul 06, 2016 07:25 AM
I am also five years in and haven't taken a big turn with my studio...but I do specialize in younger kids and it is SO rewarding. Though I fully enjoy watching the competitive scene, I had no interest in running it myself. There are different kinds of studios and I think you will run the best studio you can if it is truly making you happy to do what you're doing. Best of luck with the change and please keep us posted!

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