Competition dancers aren’t your mom and pop recital dancers. It’s a life style for them. The average competitor spends a moderate $5000 a year for 13 years, for a total cost of around $65,000 dollars. Now understand I said moderate, so this is probably a low end figure. I personally know it is.
Those costs includes car travel, motel fees, costumes, competition fees, dance studio instruction, solo coaches, gymnastic classes, and a host of other elements. These types of dancers are spending money to go to good competitions where the level of dancing is worth the trip. These aren’t watered down competitions.
Here is a break down of costs to consider when contemplating entering the competition scene. The life style of a competition dancer can be a costly one.
If you consider these cost compared to say a Bachelors degree in any field – you have pretty much paid for that degree. Competition dancers start very young training others to compete as well. They enjoy it! They are encouraged to train others. These are the people who will and SHOULD be training the next set of champions. It’s passed down from one dancer to the other. Like I said before – it’s a life style. Not everyone fits in this tight clic`.
Mom and pop studios who enter the competition scene would do well to pick competitions that are ranked lower at state and national levels. The directors should attend larger ranked competitions however, and learn from them. They really need to have something in their background that speaks to the concerns of the parents and dancers at their studios.
Competition isn’t for everyone. Some studios are just fine at the mom and pop level. They offer a service that non-competitive families want. Once you leave that realm of mom and pop – your life changes. If you don’t change with it – you won’t make it. There is the risk factor. You can choose to ignore the risks – or not.
Dance changes so rapidly, that attempting to stay on top of the latest moves and choreography pieces can be difficult. I don’t envy any mom and pop director their position at all. Rather I have to think that it is unfair to your students to have them waste their money because you didn’t scope out the competition. That’s the bottom line.
If you want to keep your students and your parents happy, you need to really research where you are willing to move your level of instruction into.
Do those at your studio really want to move that way?
Do you really have the level of expertise to train your dancers for hard core competition?
Do you have what it takes to stay on your toes and teach dancers to win?
Is being a mom and pop a better choice for you? Maybe the move is too risky?
These are questions you have to ask yourself. Not everyone has a knack for competition. Some just can’t deal with the level of stress and social interaction that is necessary to be a competition director.
Some times you have to be a bull dog and get into peoples faces who are off base. Back down those bullies! They won’t like you because of it. But, if you don’t, they will continue to beat down the entire moral and spirit of an entire studio and/or dance community. Think about it.
Competition can bring out the worst in people. It can also be good. But until you have experience in the many different aspects, you won’t be able to judge what will happen next. You will just be rumbling around trying to figure things out.
Research first, and then hire people who know competition. Be fair to your studio, your bottom line, your dancers, and their families.
I understand the emotions that go through your mind when a studio closes and when one opens. I like the article written by James Robey from James Robey Dance. The article is entitled Business Ethics for the Mindful Dance Professional. If you are thinking about opening a studio, read this article, and know and understand the code of ethics that he addresses. Comment yourself to the level of integrity that he puts forward. Exhibit best practices in all your business dealings and you will be respected in the community.