Thomas 1Gabee ThomasMs. LesterAdv. Comp.5 October 2011 Senior Project Research Paper What makes a small business successful? Is it the advertising? What the business isoffering? Where it is located? All of these factors are very important to think about whenopening a small business. There were 71, 520 small businesses that failed in 1994. In the same year 52, 256businesses went bankrupt (ex-cult.org). However, statistics do show that two out of every ten or20 percent of small businesses remain successful (moyak.com). One popular small businessacross America’s small towns today is the dance studio. Much has been written about the steps increating a successful dance studio. Dance lessons have become very popular because oftelevision shows like; “So You Think You Can Dance,” “Dancing With the Stars,” and“America’s Got Talent.” As in any small business however, there are challenges that must beovercome if the studio is to be successful. In order to understand these challenges one mustexamine the concept of a dance studio, the impact of the studio, the ways to make the sudiosuccessful, and the future market of dance lessons. Before opening up a dance studio, a choreographer must first develop a concept for thestudio. The concept is at the center of every aspect of the studio. The concept will determine thelocation of the studio, the students it will attract, and the style and design of the facility(ezinearticles.com). A competition studio should be located in a relatively affluent communitywith several appropriately aged students to choose from. Having a large youth and adolescent
Thomas 2population within the community will potentially increase enrollment at the studio. In addition,competitive dance is expensive so it is important for the families to have the means to pay fordance. Once a community has been selected, it is important to find a heavily trafficked area toopen the studio. This may be a shopping center or a free standing building that is seen by mostmembers of the community on a daily basis. Being in this area will attract students and will bringbusiness into the studio. The style and design of the facility should emphasize the instructor’sstrengths, and her concept (ezinearticles.com). As the dance world evolves, so will dance studiosand styles. From Classical Ballet and Jazz to Contemporary and Afro-Modern, or something asspecific as Irish Step Dance or Clogging, the instructor must understand what the students areinterested in and be able to spark an interest in other styles. The concept will also be unique instyle and the studio should reflect the instructor’s concept for the studio. The look and feel of thedance studio is an important part of the business (ezinarticles.com). The dance studio shouldrepresent the owner’s personality. The design of the studio should have lots of bright color,bright lighting and plenty of space to dance. A dance studio should send a message to studentsthat the reason they are dancing because they love to. A strong, bright, friendly environment willconvey the message clearly to the students. The environment that the students are in when theygo to dance should be a place of relief. Dancers need a place where they can just let go of all oftheir troubles and worries. A dance studio should help students to relieve their stress and allowthem to enjoy the time they spend dancing. Both the students and the parents need to feelcomfortable while in the studio. Parents should have a separate area in the studio where they canobserve their dancers without causing distractions. Parents should also feel safe and happy whenthey bring their child to dance. Parents know that they can leave their child in a safe cleanenvironment; this also will help to relieve some of their worries when they bring their child to
Thomas 3dance class. Having a clean, safe, comforting dance studio is essential for staying in business.Having a dance studio with a concept is necessary for an instructor to be successful. It isimportant for people to understand that there is more to a dance studio besides the look and feel.The reward that the instructor gets from running the studio, successfully or not, is huge. Not only does one need to understand the concept of the studio, but also one needs tounderstand the impact that the studio has on a dance instructor economically, emotionally andsocially. According to Mindy Charski, “…while starting a new business always comes with arisk- about half of small businesses fail within the first five years, according to the U.S SmallBusiness Administration-periods of stagnation or recession can make a launch even tougher.”This can become a major issue for an owner of any small business. In a rough economy smallbusinesses have a good chance of failing because many people will not have money to spend onextra items that are unnecessary to have. People are going to put their money toward things theyneed and not what they want. If a studio is going to be successful the business has to remaingreat. Advertising and location are the two most important parts of keeping a business running.Starting a business in a tough economy is also extraordinarily difficult. If an instructor or directorof a company is going through an economic hardship where they are going to get money tospend on opening up their business? One has to have money in order to spend money. Openingup a small business in an economic hardship is a challenge that one has to be willing to take.Dance instructors have a large work load placed on their shoulders. Their job is to open a dancestudio, run it, teach classes, choose competition venues to go to, design and make costumes cutmusic and create a dance schedule for the students to go by. Within so much to do in such a shortperiod of time, the instructor may become frazzled. “Sometimes being too hard on yourself canlead to more stress and will create more problems. Just keep moving forward, keep your head up
Thomas 4and try to work through whatever blockade keeps you from moving on (dancefullout.com).When a dance instructor is stressed about what she has to do, she may lose connection with herstudents and parents. When people start to notice a change in her behavior they may secondguess whether or not their decision to join the dance studio was a good one. Stress also leads to aloss in sleep, being able to think clearly and being able to enjoy dance. People looking from theoutside may not really see how stressful being a business owner can be, but it is the instructor’sjob to push through and try and remain positive. “A business’ effect on the community is animportant thing to consider, as community support can create a positive reputation, attract newcustomers and encourage customer loyalty” (chron.com). Creating a positive reputation in acommunity is going to increase business. Having a close connection with customers socially willalso help a business because people will be willing to spend their money on products or in thiscase dance classes so that a student can improve and perform looking their best. A successfuldance studio is measured by more than just awards. What makes a competition studio a winningstudio? Choreographers have a major impact on the students’ performance. “The choreographersneed to have a background that will convince parents that the teacher knows what they are doingand if the teacher has the ability to work with kids (Thomas). An outstanding choreographer is someone who has many years of choreography andperformance experience under her belt. A convincing choreographer would have had experiencessuch as touring with Lady Gaga, performing with Americas favorite dancers on the televisionshow “Show You Think You Can Dance,” or performing with a professional company.Performance and choreography experience is essential in order to convince customers that theirstudents will learn from the choreographer. Choreographing for companies or professionals isalso a bonus. Once a dancer can no longer perform due to injury, body limits, or age they should
Thomas 5go into choreographing. Being able to choreograph dances for a performance is necessarybecause dancers are a source of entertainment. Who will want to watch a performance if thepeople performing are not entertaining. Being able to teach entertaining choreography is alsoimportant in this career field. Michelle Ferrara, a competition dance studio owner in Coram, New York states that, “ anorganized consistent schedule made up of technique classes, rehearsals for dances, and time tolearn from guest choreographers and teachers is extremely important in order for the students tobe successful as a competition team.” One important aspect of the schedule is being able tobalance technique with rehearsals. If the students do not have flexibility, high stamina and bodymovement, there is no way that they will be able to dance. Knowing and understandingchoreography is important because part of dancing is comprehending the order of steps and thetiming with the music, but if the technique is not the there the dance will be a disaster to watchand will not score well at a competition. There needs to be an even balance between the two.When students get use to performing one or two styles the same way it depresses their ability tolearn and perform the same styles in a different way. Sometimes when students practicesomething the same way over and over again it becomes a habit. Having a guest teacher orchoreographer a number will broaden the students’ dancer vocabulary of movement andperformance. Learning from others will also help the dancers as they get older to pick up thechoreography quickly and be able to perform different styles of dance when they go professional.Having a variety of different dance styles being taught in the dance studio is going to convincepeople to become part of the studio. It is important to be able to do more than one thing. “People who only use one leg to walk are not going to get as far as the people who useboth legs,” a great quote from Jeff Boss that really shows how important it is to have variety.
Thomas 6The number one dance style that should be offered at a dance studio, no matter what type, isBallet. Ballet is the core or the base at which all dance grows from. Ballet technique is essentialfor success in other styles of dance such as Jazz, Contemporary and even Tap. Ballet will teachthe body to have control, balance, flexibility, stamina, and musicality; all of the main ingredientsto the recipe that creates a beautiful dancer. As important as Ballet is, if a dancer can onlyperform ballet, that will decrease their opportunities to work with multiple companies becausethey can only perform and dance just Ballet. A person who is great at Ballet but also great inJazz, Contemporary and Tap has a better chance of getting a performing contract because theycan do more with their performance. An outstanding ballerina may only be considered by balletcompanies, but an all around dancer has the ability to be accepted by professional companies: acruise ship, Broadway or even a television show. It is important as a director to make yourdancers become diverse and well trained in all styles. An increasing interest in demand for dance instruction has been fueled by its increasingpopularity on prime time television. According to neilson.com “Dancing With The Stars” is ratedthe, “second best television show in America.” This television show has over 19,000,000 viewersand has been rated a 12.3 by ABC. Watching a television show like this has inspired manypeople of all ages to want to take dance classes. Being the number one television program onprime time says a lot for dance. 19,000,000 viewers chose to watch a dance program week afterweek. With an increased interest in dance and exposure on national television, more and morechildren will be interested in taking dance lessons. Children will aspire to be like the dancers andcelebrities they see on television. Dance popularity is aired on television more frequently thanjust “Dancing With The Stars.” Other programs like “So You Think You Can Dance” and“America’s Got Talent” several dance acts were voted into the top twenty performances and two
Thomas 7dance groups were in the top four. America voted to keep these acts in the show which furthersupports interest in dance. Hollywoodreporter.com reports that the television show “So YouThink You Can Dance” had 6.3million viewers last show. Those people stayed up from eight tonine pm on Wednesday and Thursday nights during the season to vote for their favorite dancers.There are so many dancers out there who would kill to be on a television show knowing that oversix million people are watching them perform. How are the dancers of today going to get there;hard work, dedication, and the want to do it. Television has the ability to convince people that itis not impossible to do anything they want to do. Television shows have spoken out to manydancers who hope to become professionals one day and they have encouraged people to auditionand go after their hopes and dreams. For example, Melanie Moore, winner of “So You ThinkYou Can Dance” worked extraordinarily hard to get where she is today and she was inspired byother dancers from previous seasons to go after her dream of being a professional dancer. Mooreis America’s favorite dancer and soon she will be working professionally pursuing her dream ofprofessional dancing. Inspiration does not always come from television, but it can also come from people whohave gotten to work with professionals from television. For example, Gabee Thomas, acompetitive dancer from Creekview High School, was inspired by Mia Michaels, a contemporarychoreographer from “So You Think You Can Dance.” Gabee has been inspired to want to danceprofessionally and teach contemporary in her dance studio when she gets older. She states,“contemporary has always been the hardest style for me to grasp, but taking class with Mia reallyopened my eyes and helped me to understand the concept of contemporary dancing.”Understanding is also a part of inspiration. If there is no comprehension, how is the performancegoing to make one feel other than confused and not entertained? When people are inspired by a
Thomas 8piece of dance or a movement, they are inspired because they can connect with the person who ismoving. The story that a dancer tells while she is dancing is what the audience is trying to figureout as they watch. If one does not understand the story then one may not be inspired. Mia Michaels is a professional contemporary dancer who teaches dancers how to conveya story clearly to an audience. The audience watches the pieces she has choreographed andpeople recognize it is her choreography or that it is a story told by Mia through her dancers.Dancers are inspired to want to be better and to want to dance. This career is worth pursuing because the world of dance is growing. People are inspiredby dancers and those people want to become dancers. Television is recognizing dancers andgiving them the opportunity to entertain and inspire others. Students should not be discouragedto go into this career field because the world is expanding. The outlook of this career is positive,but if a person has not been a dancer for many years or has never had professional training, she isless likely to become successful in this career. Having a small business, a competition studio, hasmore pros than cons but taking the steps to get there will help one become successful.