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Ways StudioOwners Can PromoteTheirBusinessDuring theHolidays Tis the SeasonforDance byKatieDravenstott A

longwith shopping, decorating and eating, the holidays are also a great time for studio owners inNorth Texas to get out and promote their business. Fromholiday produc-

tions and fundraisers to festivals and parades, studio owners have plenty of opportunities available to them.Butmany owners,who are overloaded as it is,may be reluctant to add onemore thing to their plates.Hopefully these testimonials fromsome local studio ownerswill help you get into the holiday business spirit.

Holiday Shows Instead of anotherNutcracker, consider putting on your own holiday show. “Wewanted to do something exclusive and unique to our studio,” saysDebraMontalvo Swaim, owner and director of Frisco Dance Force and ProsperDance Force, talking about herwinter production Adventure in Toyland. Swaimopens her production to the community so anyone can participate as long as they canmake the commitment, according to Swaim. “My studio philosophy has always been that anyone can dance so I knewfromthe beginning I wanted Adventure in Toyland to be a community-based perform- ance,” Swaimsays. “Plus, it helps buildmore interestwithin the community.”KJDance in Plano, TX, has found that performing its holiday show,Who Stole Christmas, every other year proves beneficial for everyone. This both builds up anticipation for the less frequent showand lessens the time commitments familiesmustmake dur- ing a busymonth. “It’s important tome for the families to spend time together during the holidays,” saysKJDance owner and direc- torKristyUlmer. “Our dance lives are so busy and it’s easy as studio directors to find ourselves spendingmore timewith our dancers than their parents do.”

CommunityEvents Get into the holiday spiritwith community events such as parades and festivals.KJDance recommends participating in local parades. “It’s a greatway for the community to get to knowyour studio, and it also gives our dancers the chance to performwithout the required rehearsal times attached to a holiday showor extravaganza,”Ulmer says.Another option is performing at a local holiday festival. “We always do a holiday showat Santa’sVillage inRichardson in December,” saysMimiRobbins, owner and director ofDance,Etc! inDallas. “And this yearwe’re also doing a showinNovember at the Shops ofWillowBend in Plano,”Robbins adds.DoveAcademy ofDanceArts, (where I teach part-time) has also performed at local events such as Santa’sVillage and theCity ofGarland’sChristmas on the Square. “These events are a cost-effectiveway for the kids to performmore than once a year,” saysErickaDove, owner ofDove Academy ofDanceArts inGarland, Texas. “But you have to be

Photos courtesy of FriscoDance Force/ProsperDance Force. Images are fromtheir 2010Adventure in Toyland production.

proactive,”Dove says. “The event organizers are not going to try to find you. You have to seek themout.”

HolidayCamps/Fundraisers Studio owners often consider holiday camps and fundraisers as ways to advance their business during the holidays.KJDance offers 2-3 dayworkshops during the holidays. “These arts and crafts/Nutcrackerworkshops are great for younger kids and give their parents a chance to go shopping,”Ulmer says. Swaimalso offers holiday campswhich last twoweeks and include different holiday themes. “It never hurts to try newthings,” Swaimsays.Butwhen it comes to fundraising Swaimsays she hasn’t had a lot of success during the holidays. “We’ve tried, but fundraising demands a lot of outside time and energy on the parents’ part,” Swaimsays. “Our fundraiser also ran into a lot of school fundraisers,” she adds.

ValuableAdvice “You have to bewilling to take chances,” Swaimsays. Swaim admits herwinter production put a hole in her budget its first year, but she says turning a profitwasn’t her goal. “The goalwas to see if the interestwas there tomake Adventure in Toyland an annual event,” Swaimsays.Her strategy seems to haveworked because the production is currently in its second season. “If you arewilling and able to put forth the effort, itwill pay off in the long run,” Swaim says.Ulmer adds that if you are putting on a holiday showmainly formonetary reasons then it’s probably notworth doing. “It’s about the unspoken rewards,”Ulmer says. “Giving the kids the privilege and opportunity to performin front of their friends and families is somuchmore valuable,” she adds. You also need the right people in place, studio owner say. “You have to find someone you can dele-

page 22 november 2011 DANCE!NORTHTEXAS a publicationof the dance council ofnorthtexas vol. 14 • no. 4

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