As dance studios are reopening we look at how best this can be done by prioritizing your dancers and staff’s health & safety. With careful planning and being flexible, we can ensure that we are responsive and well-considered in getting everyone back into the dance studio.

Here’s a list of The Do’s:

1. Share your plan

Making it clear for your families the plan and strategies you have in place for reopening will gain their trust. Educate your staff on all the procedures and plan changes to have everyone on board.

2. Create a Hybrid version of Your schedule

Incorporating virtual classes into your schedule for the foreseeable future is part of the new normal. Families will still want to take vacations, children will still get colds – this means that they will need to be quarantined for a number of classes. The best way to accommodate this is to have your classes live on Zoom. You are not having to pay for extra teaching hours and the dancers are still in their same class schedule.

3. Offer Private Classes

Not all families are going to be comfortable going back to the studio with group classes. Here is where you can offer private classes. You can charge a premium for these classes and staff will welcome the extra income.

4. Health Checks

Ensure to check the temperature of everyone coming into class with a non-contact infrared thermometer. Anyone with a temperature over 100.5 degrees Fahrenheit must leave immediately. Have your staff be aware of the symptoms so if any dancer becomes sick during class they must be sent home.

5. Waivers!!!

It is absolutely necessary to get a signed release from parents saying they are sending their children to class without any symptoms of the virus, and that they will abide by all the rules and regulations implemented to protect all the students. Get legal counsel to assist as necessary.

Here’s a list of The Don’ts:

1. Don’t allow unnecessary access to the Studio

Parents should be dropping off and picking up outside of the studio and direct any admin questions to be asked via email. Dancers do not need access to change rooms and should come prepared with their dance attire already under their street clothes.

2. Don’t Allow personal Items in the studio

The only items a dancer needs are their dance shoes. All other personal effects are to be left with the parent or at home.

3. Don’t overwhelm parents with too many questions

It is fantastic to get feedback from parents (and ask them relevant questions), but be careful not to overwhelm them. Asking if they are comfortable coming back to the studio is great, but asking if they think we should have 5 options for classes and having them fill in a 2-page questionnaire before every class is excessive.

4. Don’t Make promises you can’t keep

Rewind to 6 months ago – the promises we made then are not the same as the ones we can guarantee today. Be honest and clear with your families, for example, “we plan to have a year-end performance as long as it’s within our ability and within the government regulations“.

5. Don’t Offer Discounts for Online Classes

As we now know, in order for dance businesses to continue operating during a pandemic we need to consistently receive tuition. By offering discounts for online programming, you devalue your teachers and curriculum. The other downside is that your business model and pricing are set to sustain and make you profitable; your bills continue being the same whether you are online or in the studio. Cutting that income puts your business at risk of closure. Dancers will also transition over the dance year from online to in-person, and for this to happen seamlessly, pricing should be consistent with both online and in the studio.

Make sure that you, your team, and your extended dance family are all informed of your plans. Being prepared is a task that requires careful planning and abiding by lots of safe practices. This year will be nothing like any of us has experienced before, be adaptable and support your community the best you can.

— Tracey