How to start a dance school

Here we cover the basic steps, from marketing to initial costs, to help you sashay your way to success with a dance class company

What is a dance studio business and who is it suited to?

With the popularity of TV programmes such as Strictly Come Dancing and So You Think You Can Dance, demand for dancing lessons is on the rise. Whether betrothed couples hoping to hone their first dance or young professionals seeking a fresh way to keep fit and make friends, dance classes have enjoyed a contemporary renaissance and now remain a popular pastime for many – and that creates an opportunity for quick-footed entrepreneurs.

It goes without saying that if you’re thinking of starting a dance school, some prior dance experience is advisable. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean boxes of rosettes or a roll call of professional accolades. Mental fitness and stamina is more important that outstanding physical fitness.

A passion for dance is a must, but so is a passion for people – and a good level of patience. Could you welcome 20 strangers into your studio and teach a class where they all feel engaged and included? Could you tailor your dance classes to individuals and never show your frustration to slow learners? Do you have the creativity to devise custom dance routines?

Of course, as the owner of a dance studio, you don’t have to teach lessons yourself. However, in the early stages, not only is this cost-effective but it is a good way to get to know your customer and hone your customer-service skills. It also means you can step in if one of your teachers drops out at the last minute.

Although running a dance school can be a very sociable business, it also requires great personal discipline. You may want your dance school to have an inclusive, family feel – but remember, it can be hard to take money from friends. You need to be very organised, business orientated and able to draw the line between friends and clients.

After all, the social aspect is just one part of your business. You may teach 15 hours of dance classes a week, but spend another 50-70 doing admin – whether answering e-mail enquiries, writing training manuals for new teachers, paying invoices, arranging venue bookings or updating your website and social media. No matter how active your start-up, the back room business remains.

Ready to get started? Find out everything you need to know about how to start your own business here.

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