In this new, socially distant environment, technology is vital to continue to run your business. While fears of reduction in staff productivity or of losing pupils – and income – are valid, running your studio as efficiently as possible online will help you to stay afloat during trying times. Here are some tech tools to help you and your community to keep dancing from a distance.
#1. Task management apps
If you’re managing a team of several dance teachers or staff, it might be helpful to implement a task management system. This reduces the number of email conversations you have to keep track of and keeps everything in one place. Communication tools like Slack, Trello, Monday and Clickup are good options. In here, you can plan your teaching schedules, share relevant files, oversee administration tasks and keep the conversation flowing between your team members.
#2. Video calling platforms
This is probably the most important tool for dance studios right now, as running live classes online requires a dedicated platform. Zoom is an obvious choice, as it allows for up to 100 participants on a call – or should we say, in a class – where many others are limited to smaller numbers. The great thing about Zoom is the two-way element, meaning you can offer feedback and corrections just as in the classroom. You can also record classes – with student permission – to refer to later. Of course, if you’re teaching one-on-one or in smaller groups, you could also look at platforms like Skype or even FaceTime as alternatives. Be sure to enable all the privacy controls you need to as well, to keep everything secure and safe for your students.
#3. Social media
If you want to offer free open classes to the world, without actually needing to see the students, Instagram or Facebook Live are great options. Teachers can broadcast live on your channels, and anyone can join in. This is a good way to build brand awareness and keep your pupils and your local communities engaged in what you’re offering. Some studios are offering a mix of paid classes with two-way instruction, and occasional free classes on social media to the wider community – the best of both worlds.
#4. File sharing
If you’ve got teachers who want to pre-record a class or some choreography to share with your students, you’ll need a way to share these video files securely. Google Drive is a good option for businesses who need to share lots of files between multiple staff members. If you’ve chosen one of the task management tools from before, like Slack, you can share files within the app itself. Alternatively, WeTransfer is an easy option for emailing large one-off files or folders.
#5. Website updates
Now is the best time to ensure your website is up to date. Adding a password-protected section to your site is an excellent way to communicate with your parents and pupils, share resources like class videos, choreography or online class links, updated timetables and so on. It prevents public access to student-only info and means you can all stay connected. Chat to your website developer or, if you’re tech-savvy, research how to do it yourself via your chosen website builder.
#6. Donation platforms
If you’re unable to generate an income via two-way instruction with a roster of regular pupils, you might need to offer online classes to the masses with a suggested donation. Studios like Peridance Capezio Center in New York are embracing this new way of working, broadcasting their open classes in return for whatever people are able to give. Online platforms such as GoFundMe allow you to set up an account to request donations. You can link this account to any advertising you do for your classes. Just ensure that you’re clear about where the money is going – to your teachers or your studio costs, for example – so people know what they are donating to. While these are unprecedented times, and dance studios and arts businesses are struggling with some of the biggest challenges we have ever faced, it is important that we continue to keep moving and supporting one another until we can make it out the other side.