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.

Do It for the One

Rachel Hollis talked about it on Amy Porterfield‘s podcast. She said, “We created it for her. The podcast was for her. The second podcast was for her. We’re having the response that we have because the style was entirely my own but the content is in response to what she’s asking for.”

When I think of all my Dance Daze students (both at the studio and at schools across the United States) and when I look at all the memories I have created for my businesses: I think of one child, one day, one family, one teacher, one moment.

When I think of starting that Dance Daze in Schools program in the Bronx, New York, I remember how rewarding it felt to bring in that one male teacher who wore glasses and had grown up there. I remember feeling that, in bringing him onto the team, I got to, in a teeny tiny way, be part of his experience of giving back to the community that raised him. I got to be part of him waking up every day as a successful man, human, and teaching artist.

When I think of the school in Oakland, California, where I had the privilege of teaching dance for an entire year, I remember that group of 6 middle school boys and girls who asked me why I smiled and laughed so much. I told them it was because I was happy.

And when I look at photos and videos of all the performances we are doing today, I’m overwhelmed to be part of creating magical moments for each of my students. I’m overjoyed to be part of helping them fall in love with the art of dance. But really, when I see 15 of my students showing up and dancing on these California roads with me, I think of her. I think of her mom looking at me in my eyes and saying, “She wants to perform. She’s ready.” I remember feeling the responsibility of providing positive performance opportunities for her when her dad asked me when we would be performing.

So when I look at them, I see her. One child, one family, one day, one moment.

And I’m so so grateful that by focusing on the one that I get to be part of the lives of many.

Are you interested in learning more about what I focus on in order to best serve my clients (my students and their families)? Go to www.DanceEdStartup.com and join my mailing list! Each week, people on my mailing list are getting dance-related business tips in my video series called “Two Tips” and this month (May of 2019) they’re also getting a live webinar every Sunday morning! Sign up today!

 

Bring Dance Daze to a Title 1 School!

The Dance Daze in Schools fundraising campaign to bring a FREE dance program to a Title 1 school has launched! We have 1 day remaining (until April 24th, 2013) to raise just $260 more. We have already had 24 donations pledged, and we are about half way to our goal of $500!

image

Here’s how YOU can help out:

Thanks for your support!