What Is Your Primary Responsibility As A Dance Business Owner?

If you are a dance studio owner, if you run a dance education program that serves children in your local community, if you run any kind of business that provides the service of dance to clients, what is your primary responsibility?

Some might say their main responsibility is to introduce students to the art of dance and to help foster a love for dance for all students.

Some might say that it is their responsibility to properly prepare all students for professional careers in dance, including careers in dance performance, dance education, arts marketing, arts fundraising, dance research, and more.

Some might say they are focused on using dance as a tool to empower their students, giving them a lens through which to see the world and a voice for self-expression.

Perhaps your primary focus is social and restorative justice. Maybe your programs are focused on repairing and uplifting the people in communities that have been forgotten and neglected.

Maybe you feel that you’ve moved on from all of the above. Now you’re focused on making money. It is a dance business after all, right? If you don’t meet your bottom line, the business ceases to exist.

Maybe you love the marketing, the digital content, the UX design, the social media. Maybe that’s your primary focus and responsibility. Because, no matter what you’re doing, if you aren’t bringing in clients, you can’t really do what you want to do anyway, right?

Is your primary focus simply being organized? Handling registrations, hanging those flyers, getting those dance team jackets out, directing rehearsals, overseeing end-of-semester surveys and technique progress reports, making sure every student has the correct front-stitched leotard or slip-on jazz shoes, ensuring that all students and their parents know how to correctly sew elastic onto their ballet slippers?

Maybe you have mastered the art of delegation, and you are now primarily responsible for making sure your team does all of the above. Your team has to know and live out the values of your organization, manage the day-to-day tasks, communicate effectively with students and families, be a positive representation of your dance program in the community, ensure that regular outreach is happening, manage the social media accounts, teach the classes, keep students engaged and challenged, and more.

So what do I think? What is the primary responsibility of someone who owns or directs a dance business?

All of it.

Yes, when you’re running a dance business, your primary mission is to make sure that all.the.things are getting done, every minute of every day, by any means necessary.

I talked about how challenging finding balance can be in Episode #7 of The Happy Dance Podcast. I also talked about how we may sometimes be doing really well with doing the things that naturally bring us the most joy, while simultaneously failing (yes, failure is a thing… it’s just not a forever thing) at doing all the things that are the most tedious, the most time-consuming, or the most stressful.

So how do we do it? How do we stay motivated? How can we keep worrying about things like performance costumes or even on innovating within our established programs when we are in the middle of a slow season and we want to dedicate all our time and all our funds to marketing and outreach?

We can leave for a while, but we have to come back. This is a paraphrasing of some advice I got from my world religions teacher in high school, by way of my mother. I remember my mom told me that, during a parent-teacher conference, my former teacher mentioned to her that I spaced out during his class sometimes. He was fine with me letting my mind wander, as long as I always brought myself back.

This is what I believe we need to do as dance business owners.

We literally are some of the people in the world who DO IT ALL. (See also: women, moms, stepmoms.)

It can be daunting. It can be exhausting. It can be overwhelming in a terrible way. It can be impossible.

But impossible is nothing.

If you’re a dance educator reading this, you likely already know that huge responsibility that we have in the world as well as the great opportunity that we have to make an impact.

Follow your dreams. Model your educational philosophy. Develop great dancers and great citizens. Live your business mission and see the vision through.

Do it all. And if you ever just can’t do it all, then leave it for a minute… then get up and get back to work.

New Location on National Dance Day 2011!

We had a great time in our first classes at our new location–Bladium Sports and Fitness Club in Alameda. At our new location, we now have the use of 3 mirrored walls in each studio, twice as much space, and even floating sub-floors, which are great for our dancers!

We currently have limited class times available, as we would like to build up our classes before adding more. However, if we get at least 4 students to register for one class, we will add that class to our schedule!

Thank you for staying with us as we grow! Looking forward to seeing you in class!

PS: HAPPY NATIONAL DANCE DAY! :)

What Should I Eat? From a Pyramid to a Plate

What should I eat?

This is a question I’m sure most of us have asked ourselves on numerous occasions. It can be difficult to find food that’s both healthy and affordable, and while many people want to eat healthfully, some don’t have the time, education or resources to do so.  To answer the question “What should I eat?”, it is important to first answer the question “How should I eat?”

There are many free, user-friendly resources out there to help us answer the latter question. In general, these resources will explain that nutrition is a major component of leading a healthy lifestyle. From reading about nutrition, one will quickly discover that our eating habits dictate our weight, emotions and sleep patterns, among other factors. Proper nutrition includes having a well-balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, grains, protein and dairy.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has been instrumental in streamlining dietary guidelines for the public to use. In the past, the USDA used a Food Pyramid to represent the 5 food groups and their proper portions. Recently the USDA switched from the pyramid to a plate. The new initiative is called MyPlate and resembles a pie chart with unequal sections. The USDA hopes that MyPlate will improve America’s diet and address the escalating burden of obesity and diabetes.

On MyPlate, you will see that fruits and vegetables, which are the foundation of a healthy diet, take up half of the plate. Some people say a meal is incomplete without meat; I say it’s incomplete without fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are the source of nutrients that help to regulate our bodily functions. Eating these foods may protect against certain type of cancers and lower one’s risk for heart disease. Grains, like rice, bread, and pasta are rich in fiber and are key factors in reducing high blood pressure. Careful, though: Grains can be high in calories, which is why they are smaller than vegetables on MyPlate. Proteins such as beef, chicken, and eggs give us the energy we need throughout our day. It’s important to remember that your meat and poultry should be lean because proteins like beef can raise “bad” cholesterol levels. Finally, the smallest portion, dairy, are those foods made from milk. This includes cheese, fluid milk and puddings. Dairy products help to fortify our bones and reduce our risk of bone and joint related diseases. Like proteins, dairy products can have a large number of calories. For example, if you drink whole milk, it is suggested that you drink reduced fat (2%) or even fat-free (skim). These are healthier options and provide the same nutrients.

Making the right, healthy choices isn’t always easy—but it can be done. Changing your diet takes time and may require doing a complete over-haul of what you are used to eating. Though some things may taste different when you change your diet, you’re making a conscious decision for yourself and your family to live longer, healthier lives.

Bon Appétit!

Jonathan T. Reid, MPH is a clinical researcher and the new Lead Health Educator and Health Blogger for Dance Daze. He has a B.A. in Psychology and a Master of Public Health degree from New York University.

Welcome Our New Health Blogger!

Fruits and vegetables from a farmers market. c...

Hello Everyone!

Today I’d like to introduce you to a new member of the Dance Daze Team, Jonathan T. Reid. Jonathan is our new Health Blogger and Lead Health Educator, who is generously volunteering his time and wisdom to keep us updated about the latest trends in health, nutrition, and fitness and advise the Dance Daze Team about the best healthful practices for youth. Jonathan will be offering his wisdom to us as we launch our newest program, Health Daze, this summer and bring it to schools this fall.

Jonathan is from the Bronx, NY, and is passionate about health and working with children. He has worked as a math and science tutor in New York City public schools, as a camp counselor, and as a clinical researcher, focusing on childhood-obesity and diabetes prevention. As the new Dance Daze Health Blogger, he will be sharing tips and information that will help keep the entire family healthy! He will also be letting us in on secrets he uses to stay in shape himself!

We look forward to reading your posts, Jonathan! Glad to have you as a new member of the Dance Daze Team!

How Do You Reinforce Dance?

Hard candy

Last week, we had our last class at one of the schools where Dance Daze hip hop is taught. All of the children were very excited about what I had gotten them as gifts for their last class of the semester.

When one of my 6-year-old students asked me, “Did you get us candy?” I responded, “Nope! I don’t believe in that!”

My student looked up at me, as we walked to the gym, and said, “How come? Is it because you don’t want us to have so much sugar before class and then go crazy?”

“No,” I said.  “It’s because I don’t believe in using sweets as a positive reinforcer for physical activity.”

I realized when I said it that this truly is one of my fundamental beliefs as a dance educator. Although I’m admittedly not a big sweets fan (milk chocolate, two types of ice cream, and plain cake are pretty much it for me!), I’ve never thought it was good to pair candy with dance or any physical education. (If you remember, I was even hesitant about giving out candy on Halloween!) I’m not quite sure when I developed this belief or when it became so strong, but I know that as a young dance student, my classmates and I always only received stamps and stickers for behaving well in class–never candy.

What’s your policy? Do you ever give out candy at the end of your classes or at your studio? Do you think it’s a big deal either way? Why or why not?