It has been a very tough year for the Arts, for the self-employed and for children. As dance and theatre teachers we encompass all three areas and our businesses, mental health and finances have all suffered. But with the vaccine being distributed and spring around the corner, we all cautiously begin to look forward as we glimpse the light at the end of the tunnel – one that has been longer than any of us thought it would be this time last year.
So with thoughts and hope for returning to the studio after Easter what can we do now to begin to build our schools and re-engage with students who we may not have seen for a year
Don’t be Disheartened by Low Zoom Numbers.
Zoom numbers are not a reflection of how many of your pre lockdown students will be eager to come back to ‘real life classes.’ Senior students have spent all day on zoom with school and for Primary school parents they’ve had to do the home-school battle all day. Motivation to do anything this January has been low for all of us, children included so after a long home-school day I know from experience many would ‘pick their battles’ and drop dance but this doesn’t mean they will not be back.
Get in touch with your students.
Now’s the time to begin to build up the excitement of real classes retuning. Make contact with the children, not just the parents, send a physical postcard or pdf packs with some activities or maybe get creative and design a countdown to dance calendar. Even if these students haven’t been on Zoom or didn’t return to the studio in the summer, now a vaccine is out people may be more willing to return.
Zoom Chats for Friendship Groups
As dance teachers I’m guessing lots of us grew up with dance being the centre of our world, and dance friends being some of our best friends. Forget the Zoom dance classes and organise some Zoom friendship get togethers, get the snacks, play some games etc and offer them to all your previous students. Remember anxiety is going to be so high for these children going back to classes so bridging the gap like this can be a huge help for some.
Host a Disney Group Watch or Netflix Party
Have you seen ‘On Pointe’ the Ballet Documentary on Disney plus, Or the Zombies movies (High School Musical with Zombies!) Or the collection of Netflix dance films? Similar to the Zoom social Chats above, book in a movie night, grab the popcorn and watch along with your dancer students
If Dance schools can open after the Easter holidays that’s about 7 weeks! So spend the time wisely, maybe redo your website, update the photos, plan some new classes and workshops you can let please know about in advance, make a social media content calendar so you can be proactive and engage new students, Perhaps take time to do a customer survey (survey monkey or similar are super easy) Take the time to really plan so you can hit the ground running when we’re given the green light.
Thank the Parent and Careers
Be open and honest, write to parents and careers and thank them for their support during this difficult time, tell them of any plans you have for the end of 2021 and 2022. Then leave it there, don’t guilt them into signing up to anything new or committing, just a thank you.
Leaflets? How old school!!! But we’re all doing a lot of walking and all the potential customers are stuck inside their home. Maybe make one side a colouring in page for kids? I suggest this is done as soon as we know when we can open up again.
Most importantly don’t give up!! You can do this, the roaring 20’s are waiting to begin.
Team IDR x