Starting a dance club is a wonderful way to bring people together to share in the joys of dance. Before starting the American Dance Association (ASDA), I had leadership roles in the formation of two other dance organizations: the Houston Swing Dance Society in 1997 and Dance Houston in 2003. I watched both groups form out of a shared passion among a few people and their vision continues to bring people together to this day. Here's what I believe holds the key to success for building a new dance group.
1. Define the group's style
Pick a dance style, genre, era, or group of styles. Include the name of the dance in the name of the club so people can find you on the internet easily.
2. Location scout
Staying in the same location for a long time will be great for your club, so choose your location wisely. Before you begin, visit a minimum of ten locations. Consider special event venues as well as dance studios. As you search venues, note all their characteristics. Here's a template based on a document I created for a team of location scouts when the Houston Swing Dance Society changed venues in 2013. By the way, churches are notoriously a risky option because their priorities can shift from year to year.
3. Develop great teachers
Teachers are the core of your group and essential to its success. Here's a document we use at Dance Houston to help guide our teaching staff. At the very least, be sure to hang onto teachers who are consistent and who your students like.
4. Build a membership
Don't let your students learn and leave. Build a membership through genuine relationship-building as well as social dances and targeted marketing campaigns. Marketing and PR tips for dance groups are available to ASDA members through our Resource Library (please Join Today to access).
5. Plan big events
Build excitement and create cherished memories for your group by planning big events. You could host a big dance at a special venue with a live band. You could plan a group trip to a dance camp or competition. Create event committees that can help you manage these activities and give people besides yourself the opportunity to take on leadership roles.
6. Run the business like a business
Just because you're running a dance organization doesn't mean you aren't liable and responsible for it. You need policies, documents, and practices in place. Samples are available through our Resource Library (please Join Today to access).
I hope you'll start your group off on the right foot and Join ASDA Today to get over 20 essential leadership documents and promote your events on our calendar.
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