Posted Wednesday, February 26th, 2020 by Brett
Keeping Recital Planning on Track
by Joe Naftal
For many studios across North America, our spring recitals are just a few months away. While that may be an unwelcome reminder or sound like a cause for alarm, it is the perfect time to review your recital checklist and make sure everything is on track for another perfect recital this year.
- Make sure all of your dance families are on the same pageYou’ve sent out what seems like hundreds of email reminders about dress rehearsal dates, tights colors, ticket sales, recital arrival times and more, but without fail, you know a parent will arrive to the recital clueless about the dozens of newsletters you’ve sent out. Boil down your newsletters to the top five or ten things your parents must know before the recital – if they read nothing else all year. What do they have to know? Mail this out as a postcard right before the recital. With the numerous emails parents receive daily, receiving something in the mail seems novel. You can also include a flyer with the “must have” information in each costume. They must have the flyer with them if they brought their costume to the recital (and hopefully they will!)
- Figure out what tasks you can delegate to other trusted peopleThe studio director is the captain of the recital ship. But the captain can’t steer the ship if they’re pre-occupied with raising the sails, mopping the deck, cooking in the galley, and supervising the brig. The same goes for the recital – if the director is pre-occupied with setting up the lobby, organizing the dressing rooms, running check-in, and calling cues for the show, then the recital will steer off course. Like any good captain, find your first-mate and other trusted ship officers. Delegate a dependable leader to each area so you feel comfortable that the show is moving smoothly and can manage the big picture – directing an entertaining recital.
- Think through some of the finer detailsA recital works like a machine. There are dozens of moving pieces, and each gear needs to move correctly to avoid a jam, which could affect other parts of the machine down the line. Take some time to think through some of the details (gears) that are prone to cause issues and added stress at showtime. Review your recital check-in procedure to make sure you can check in all of your students in a timely fashion so that the show may begin on time. Ensure you have enough ushers and lobby staff to accommodate the number of audience members you anticipate. And most importantly, double-check to make sure you have enough time between songs for dancer’s costume changes, and you have volunteers in place to help with quick costume changes. (Tip: utilize your studio management software’s costume conflict manager to get a listing of all quick changes and anticipate what your needs will be).
- Explore recital revenue enhancers
The recital can be a huge revenue driver for studios. It can be the difference between a studio breaking even and making a profit for the year. It can float a studio through the cash-less summer months. It can even afford a studio owner the opportunity to take a well-deserved family vacation. Because of the profit potential, it’s important to leave no stone unturned when it comes to increasing revenue at the recital. Take some time to look into selling snacks and drinks, flowers, toys and novelty items, t-shirts, dancewear, program ads, raffles, and more at your recital. Parents will appreciate the convenience and thought put into enhancing their overall recital experience, and your accountant will appreciate the added income.
The recital is an important event for every dance studio. Besides being a year-end focus of classes and a central revenue source, it is an opportunity for studios to showcase the talent and hard work of their students as well as the dedication and experience of their teachers and staff. Following these tips will help your studio stay on track to have another great (and hopefully, less stressful) recital this season.
Growing up in the studio family business, Joe Naftal is the marketing director for Dance Connection in Islip, New York. Joe has taught seminars, classes, and workshops for dance teachers and studio owners from around the world, has been on the seminar faculty of the Energize Conference, the Dance Teacher Summit, the UDMA Dance Teacher Expos, and has been a contributor for DanceStudioOwner.com and Dance Teacher Magazine. He is the author of Standby in the Wings, which has been sold across North America, the UK, and Australia, and is the creator of Check In Pointe and RecitalProgramAds.com. As an advocate for arts education, Joe serves on the Board of Directors for Robin Becker Dance and CM Performing Arts Center. Aside from his work at the studio, Joe is a lighting designer and production manager for classical and contemporary theatre, modern dance, ballet, and opera. He holds a BFA in Lighting Design from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.
To learn more about Joe or to purchase his book or other recital planning tools, visit his website: https://www.standbyinthewings.com/