Starting up a dance company

Discussion in 'General Business Forum' started by e_ankers, Aug 5, 2010.

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  1. e_ankers

    e_ankers UKBF Newcomer

    11 1
    Hi

    i'm new to this site...

    i found it when i was doing some market research,

    i'm currently a free-lance dance teacher around the north east of england, but i'm looking and researching into starting up my own dance sessions then eventually starting up my own dance school. Like i said i'm researching into anything and everything relevant in the dance industry, was just wondering if anyone on here as any experience in setting up a dance school, sessions etc and if yes any advice, things to look into, marketing ideas would be of massive help. iv already got my company name, just really need help on new ideas to make my dance sessions unique from the usual dance school/competitors. i'm self taught in street dance, trained in contemporary but street dance is the route i want to take.... and oh yes if anyone knows of any street/ freestyle dance teaching courses available in the north east could you send me a message :)
    any other info would be great...

    Thanks

    Emma
     
    Posted: Aug 5, 2010 By: e_ankers Member since: Aug 5, 2010
    #1
  2. mangoprint

    mangoprint UKBF Regular

    439 49
    Hi there,

    My sister is currently getting into the same thing. I've just started the website http://www.streetdancecroydon.co.uk for her. It's a work in progress at the mo.

    I would recommend getting yourself a similar domain (www.streetdanceYOURTARGETAREAHERE.co.uk). Could be a big help when trying to market yourself via the web.

    I was quite happy that the croydon one hadn't yet been taken. :)
     
    Posted: Aug 6, 2010 By: mangoprint Member since: Dec 17, 2008
    #2
  3. MoonlightEnts

    MoonlightEnts UKBF Contributor

    100 20
    Hi Emma

    Im also based in the North East, Gateshead in fact.

    I think your idea is great, definately need more 'Street Dance' Schools in the North East especially with all the media attention Street Dance is getting at the minute!

    Maybe i could help you, especially with the Marketing side of things? At present i currently run my own events company and have an extensive list of contacts ranging from venues where you could hold the classes too print suppliers for flyers etc....

    I specialised in under 18 events for a period of 4 years so no how and where to market too this age group if this is your intended target market which i presume is?

    The North East market is huge:

    Gateshead: 69 primary Schools - 11 Secondary
    Newcastle : 70 Primary Schools - 14 Secondary
    South Tyneside: 49 Primary Schools - 10 Secondary
    Sunderland: 83 Primary Schools - 14 Secondary

    PM me and we can discuss further.

    Chris
     
    Posted: Aug 6, 2010 By: MoonlightEnts Member since: Apr 27, 2010
    #3
  4. e_ankers

    e_ankers UKBF Newcomer

    11 1
    yeah iv got a website sorted, even though its pretty empty at the minute, as my classes wont be starting until Jan next year, at the earliest. so iv got that done, and once i have all my research and done the business courses i will concentrate more on the website. so thanks for that.

    i think i just need a helping hand in the right direction, as im confident i can do well but because im on my own and i know it will be hard, it would be nice to know maybe some of the things i could avoid, like the general things that could lead me into the wrong directions.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2010
    Posted: Aug 6, 2010 By: e_ankers Member since: Aug 5, 2010
    #4
  5. James R. Cook

    James R. Cook UKBF Newcomer

    15 1
    Hi Emma,

    I can tell you now that you are entering a really vibrant and exciting market, I'm based in Lincolnshire and Dance is big down here as it seems to be everywhere. I agree with the previous comments asbout getting into the schools. this is a great way to get yourself noticed and from there you can start running other classes. All you need to do once your in a few schools is tell the kids and parents that you are starting another class at the weekend or in the evenings. You can even run an offshoot for the adults then. If you are going to get into the schools though you will need to be CRB checked.
    My wife has just organised her sisters hen weekend and part of the was a dance session for the entire group. They were taught a few simple routines and at the end they put it all together and filmed it. It looked great and everyone seemd to love it! So maybe that's an area you could look into.
    I could go on forever I think but I've got a meeting in 10 minutes so I'll have to go shortly. If it's of interest to you I offer new business owner a free, no obligation consultation. We can brainstorm some ideas and get you going if you think it would help.

    Bye for now!

    James R. Cook
     
    Posted: Aug 6, 2010 By: James R. Cook Member since: Jun 28, 2010
    #5
  6. gogojonny

    gogojonny UKBF Contributor

    210 29
    I work in schools and have seen a lot of dance companies. There is a market. In my opinion you need an event to work towards if you are working with school children. Have a dance show between schools (dance-off or something!). Also make sure there is an exit-route for the children, a dance session they can attend out of school with again another show to work towards.

    I would go down the route of getting permission to perform before major sports games, in the city centre and dance shows at the theatre. It's got to have a wow factor. There are loads of dance companies now so you have to stand out and give the children what they dream of (performing in front of a large audience).

    Also make sure you price your services accordingly. The number of over-priced companies trying to get into schools is silly. Take for example circus skills - plate spinning, diablo etc - I have seen prices of £300 for one day - that is more than most teachers get! Your best bet is to run a club at minimal cost in school - £1 at the most - in the hope children will join an out of school club for which you could charge a yearly subscription for and also have add-on sales such as t-shirts, extra workshops etc.

    Good luck, hope it goes well.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2010
    Posted: Aug 6, 2010 By: gogojonny Member since: May 30, 2007
    #6
  7. Simple Accounting

    Simple Accounting UKBF Newcomer

    3 0
    Hi,
    good luck with your business. if you need an accountant please see my website simpleaccounting1980.co.uk

    Regards

    Laura
     
    Posted: Aug 6, 2010 By: Simple Accounting Member since: Jul 29, 2010
    #7
  8. MyAccountantOnline

    MyAccountantOnline Full Member

    13,639 2,590

    Hopefully once you have got your practising certificate sorted;)
     
    Posted: Aug 6, 2010 By: MyAccountantOnline Member since: Sep 24, 2008
    #8
  9. MyAccountantOnline

    MyAccountantOnline Full Member

    13,639 2,590
    Its not specifically related to your business but Business Link provide a lot of general information which might be helpful to you in the early planning stages -

    http://www.businesslink.gov.uk/bdotg/action/home

    Good luck with the new venture:)
     
    Posted: Aug 6, 2010 By: MyAccountantOnline Member since: Sep 24, 2008
    #9
  10. e_ankers

    e_ankers UKBF Newcomer

    11 1
    great thanks guys, a lot of useful information there. iv started on my website just need to start putting things into motion! any other advice wouldnt go a miss :) thanks
     
    Posted: Aug 9, 2010 By: e_ankers Member since: Aug 5, 2010
    #10
  11. paulears

    paulears UKBF Legend

    5,005 1,378
    £300 for a day's workshop is quite normal. It's of course more than the teacher gets, but what has that to with it?

    External teacher training, and direct workshops with students is typically based around this kind of price, plus travel and accommodation if applicable. The reason nobody worries is because when schools and colleges send their staff on courses, this is a typical price for external activities.


    Having been to over 50 schools and colleges during the year, visiting their performing arts departments, I'd agree that Street and Street variations are really popular. My only concern is that indications are it will be a short lived strand in schools. It's very flavour of the month at the moment, but two years ago, Jazz was really 'the thing' - mainly as a result of the 'Maria' TV shows - musical theatre suddenly becoming popular.

    The idea of a dance school sounds great if you have the ability to change with the tide. The only thing about setting up a school are the problems that have nothing to do with dance. So it's the business premises, insurance, CRB checking etc. You also need to decide on standards. Will you have very high standards and produce showcase display work with a small number, or settle for a happy average, including, shall we say, er, the less able dancer?

    In the past year, I've seen simply stunning Clowning and Crumping - and some truly dire synchronised jerking!

    One of my friends runs a dance school here - and there are at least 4 new 'Street' schools now, and they seem to constantly pinch kids from one to another. Bad debt is also becoming more of a problem, she tells me - with parents wanting the kids to do it, but not having enough money to pay. Saying a child cannot take part, when she turns up without the promises outstanding payment is very unpleasant.

    A school with premises is probably a better business proposition - especially if you need to invest your money in it, whereas a visiting workshop style system is financially better - but you are unlikely to get more than 3 month/single term/semester contracts, and they can simply dump you when they like.

    If you do intend working in schools and colleges, the current trend is also to require you to have some kind of teacher qualification - as well as your dance ones. A PGCE or Cert Ed is the full one, however, the variations on the C&G 730 should be enough if you only do limited hours. Without this, the policy is often to require a teacher to be present too, making the running costs very expensive.

    If you can get your business up and running in a flexible way, this will help no end.

    The real question is to consider how good you actually are in your chosen area, and then offer something the kids can excel in.

    The schools will also need to consider if this is a 'leisure activity' or a genuine vocational skill. This depends on how OFSTED would see it in an inspection process. Leisure activity = low risk = low expenditure. Vocational skill = higher risk = extra costs.
     
    Posted: Aug 10, 2010 By: paulears Member since: Jan 7, 2015
    #11
  12. gogojonny

    gogojonny UKBF Contributor

    210 29
    It all depends on the experience of the instructor. INSET days can cost a lot of money but if the leader if a renowned expert in their field, who is going to pass on their expertise to staff to use in school then it is considered a price worth paying.

    I have seen lots of people pitch to schools, some with very little qualifications (particularly sports coaches who have spent one weekend completing a level 1 award) trying to charge vast amounts of money.

    All this will change now with the cuts, schools just don't have the money. Any external activity is likely to be put to after school, where the pupils are charged directly. This cost varies but usually £3-4 a child.
     
    Posted: Aug 10, 2010 By: gogojonny Member since: May 30, 2007
    #12
  13. KreativeJuice

    KreativeJuice UKBF Legend

    1,683 220
    Hi Emma,

    Our local school does very very well, here is a link to their site http://www.sandersondance.co.uk.

    As you can see they are very diverse in the courses they offer...

    If you are looking for any sort of design or marketing materials then let me know

    Kind regards
    Karen
     
    Posted: Aug 10, 2010 By: KreativeJuice Member since: Nov 30, 2007
    #13
  14. e_ankers

    e_ankers UKBF Newcomer

    11 1
    i think thats all really good advice and a lot to take in but i think 300pound for a day is insane, i wouldnt dream of charging that amount if i wanted to keep a good relationship wit schools etc. and yes street is the inn thing at the moment but iv been going to street classes since i was 5 and im now 22, so its definetly not a phase and has a very high market value for the future. but thanks for the information, its given me a lot to think about. but you dont need a pgce or a gtp. as im going to be a teacher/ choreographer and i have a dance degree in those two subjects. but yes the business side is defo something i will find challanging but im very willing to learn so its just going to take time, i dont expect it to happen overnight. atleast 2-3 years is my target for my company to be fully established. as far as i know the teacher only has to be present if you dont have a CRB and are volunteering. but i might be wrong, so thats something else to think about.

    and thanks karen that would be very helpful :)
     
    Posted: Aug 10, 2010 By: e_ankers Member since: Aug 5, 2010
    #14
  15. Newcott

    Newcott UKBF Legend

    1,438 303
    I've been speaking to a couple of local companies who are similar recently about doing Video , something for YouTube that can actualy showcase piece (rather then fly on the wall and or recorded at a gig but a specificly shot for video presentation)

    Might be something you want to consider?

    Regards

    Nick
     
    Posted: Aug 10, 2010 By: Newcott Member since: Jul 9, 2010
    #15
  16. paulears

    paulears UKBF Legend

    5,005 1,378
    If a teacher has a day off for something like exam duties, then many schools (not so much colleges) have calculated real costs to the 'business'. So this equates to paid for cover, some admin costs for getting the cover, and £300 can be considered ok. The other thing is that sometimes a day in a school can 'mop up' quite a few groups. There's an excellent percussion workshop going around with Status Quo's old drummer, Geoff Rich. More than £300, but every school who's had it thinks it damn good value. However - Gogojohnny is correct when he says it depends on what you do and 'give'.

    Sessional pay in colleges is typically £25-30 per hour depending on level - so pricing yourself too low suggests something?

    Yesterday - I did a business lunch with performing arts people. One who also runs her own dance school is packing up her school work in September, and the other who runs all sorts of dance and fitness classes in schools, colleges and local authority centres is also on the fence.

    I mentioned the idea here, and they both said the same thing. Street dance may be a short lived strand. They had both started street style classes riding on the wave, and seen interest dropping steadily, once the people realised how much hard work, dedication and energy needed to be given. They had had success earlier with boy groups, but they faded away quite quickly. Their opinion was that if you can start it on a no/low cost basis, hiring in studios and perhaps additional teachers then it's worth it - BUT they recommend not tying yourself into any finance or premises agreements as there's no guarantee something else will suddenly appear and wipe your business out. If you can switch to other dance styles, ok - but one cited a dance business that started up on the wave of Strictly Come Dancing, and it fizzled out badly - no sticking power.
     
    Posted: Aug 11, 2010 By: paulears Member since: Jan 7, 2015
    #16
  17. gogojonny

    gogojonny UKBF Contributor

    210 29
    Believe me I have seen some street dance sessions where the teacher teaches the exact same moves for every song. Kids cotton on, get bored and leave.

    Street dance is suffering a bit from Britain's Got Talent - 30/40 screaming kids dancing to 'Thriller' - it's just not orginal anymore. Diversity however keep going strong as they are a small group and very different - lots of gymnastics moves incorporated into their routines.

    The key is performance. An athlete trains in a gym for an event. A dancer trains in a studio for a performance. Dance teachers should be scheduling performances at Christmas, Easter and Summer. Book out venues, get local radio involved and local businesses sponsoring. Have a dance-off between schools, finish the event with a dance party / disco. It has to be cool to make the children want to carry on. With a performance the children will attend every week as they don't want to fall behind.

    Teachers haven't got time to organise dance shows. Dance teachers do.
     
    Posted: Aug 11, 2010 By: gogojonny Member since: May 30, 2007
    #17
  18. e_ankers

    e_ankers UKBF Newcomer

    11 1
    yeah i can see everyones point, and i am going to venture outside of just teaching street, am starting a professional teachers freestyle course, and will be a qualified teacher in freestyle. and the prices im charging at the moment for an hour is £20-£25, depending on what and who i am teaching, and to be fair, it seems to be working out as i got paid from one company £110 for a 3 day summer school, 2 morning and 1 full day. so if i can pull that in for working for someone else, im damn sure i can do it on my own, iv got my business cards sorted too so its going well. im just going to take it really slow as the more experience i get the better off im going to be.

    the problem about the idea of Dance off's between different schools etc is that they arn't actualy learning anything and unless they have any dance experience at all then it would be a waste of time and cause issues such as bullying if one side looses etc. what i want to do is have children come to my classes to have fun, make friends and learn moves and dances along the way, it needs to be a fun enviroment not a competition, as i was brought up in dancing with you had to be the best if not you were out..... to me thats wrong, dance isnt all about being the best, its about building confidence, getting fit and having fun!!! and thats what im going to apply to my classes.
     
    Posted: Aug 16, 2010 By: e_ankers Member since: Aug 5, 2010
    #18
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