Dear Dance Studios – I Want to Give YOU Money

So I’m finally all settled in Montréal! Hurray! Got my little corner office set up, bike paths memorized, and my one phrase in french all loaded up and ready, “Je voudrais un café moyen, s’il vous plaît”. All that I am missing is a set schedule of dance classes and practices to go to every evening to keep myself out of the streets. Seems like a pretty easy task right? Just find all the dance studios in the city, the schedule, class fees, and register for said classes.

BZZZZT. Incorrect. Thou shall not pass.

The reality is that most dance company/studio websites have outdated class information, bury their prices as many as three to four clicks (for the diligent web surfer), and worse of all, have broken or none existent registration systems. How does this even make any sense? Can you imagine how many non dancers quit the sign-up process just because it was too confusing or the price wasn’t listed anywhere. Some of the basic questions people ask when committing to a new activity are, “when is it, where is it, and how much is it”. Those at the very least, should be on the front page of every dance business.

Now, one day I’m going to own my dance studio. And one day, I will have a website for this dance studio. On the front page of this website is going to be, in a very clear but polite manner, a schedule of classes that day and a schedule of upcoming series sets or workshops. I will be even bold and include information on the costs and a button for people, if they wanted, to go ahead and pay me right there and then for those classes. It might even include a little twitter/facebook action button after registering that will allow participants to broadcast to their network of friends that they have, in fact, just registered for a dance class at Hamfats Dance Studio* (name pending). Dancers will be able to find information about classes and be able offload their cashola in exchange for the dream to learn how to dance and lead a better life. It will be easy, it will be painless and most of all, it will be profitable. One day…

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A Schedule Board

they got it right.

At each dance studio, there are always nice little touches that lets us dancers know that the owners are actually looking out for us. Some examples I’ve seen include having a water cooler (hurray), wooden furniture instead of cushion furniture (sweaty dancers = sweaty couches), and having a lobby for dancers to hang out in before classes. What I find that most studios do not have however is some common business sense – make it easy for us to part with our money.

can it be any smaller?Harbour Dance Centre, the biggest and most likely the most profitable dance studio in Vancouver, has it half right. They have a schedule of classes on their registrar desk, but can it be any smaller? If I were the coordinator for Harbour Dance Centre, I would have some LCD screens around the studio that rotate the schedule of classes for the day/week and maybe a small video clip of the actual dance classes. I believe that a lot of would-be dancers don’t try out other styles not because they don’t want to, but because information is not readily available for them to even to try it out.

Future revenue lost for the studio. Future members lost to the community.

So dance studios – make it easy for us dancers and future dancers. At the very least, have bigger cardboard cutouts of the class schedule.