Development Series, RA Dance Blog

Development Series: Holiday Activities

As you read this, I’m not resting as I usually would be over a school holiday. Instead I’ve will be mid-way through my first Dance Camp. Many schools may already provide these at their dance school and so may not be surprised that I’m using my holiday to create another event for the school. However, as I work freelance I don’t have control over what different schools put on or don’t put on, even if I’m up for it. So this holiday I simply asked the Studio Owner if it would be alright if I put on a day of dance, she agreed and so off I went and created a schedule, price, marketing, etc.

So the in’s and out’s of it. I won’t give you the complete run down of costs, but I will say that because it was the first one I was reluctant to spend too much money on marketing. I knew this would reduce the pool of people who would actually come but decided that making a loss on the first holiday camp would be justified if it did shed light on a little gap within the market. Knowing that people have come to the holiday camp, even on the funny date I needed to choose this time round has shown me that there is potential for it to grow. My plan is that next time I will spend a little more on marketing in the hope of getting more people through the door.

At the moment I teach near to my family home, and around the area I live (135km apart), as I was going to be at my parents over the holidays I decided it would be better to plan something there. It’s also a better area costs wise as hall hire is significantly cheaper. However, this also means the price people will pay is a lot less, so that’s something to weigh up. If you’ve looked around my website or socials recently you’ll have found that I offered the day at a price of £15 or £20, giving a discount to those who booked within the first week or so of me announcing it. As the day I’ve planned runs from 9-5 that’s 8 hours of dance, working out to being £2.50 an hour! (Bargain right?) If only hall hire was that price!

Then it was just the simple matter of advertising where and when I could. I created a poster/flyer on Canva, a mostly free tool that can be used for a whole mix of marketing needs, using a template that I liked. I spent a little while changing and adapting the template to be good for my needs, before sharing it with the world. I started advertising it about 5 weeks before the event, which in an ideal world isn’t long enough but by the time I had sought permission and hired the hall, that’s all I was left with, so it had to do. To advertise I printed out the flyer and gave it to the children that I teach (with permission from the studio owner), and popped a few up on the doors to the halls I use to teach in. Secondary to this I also posted to lots of facebook groups for the area. I limited this to once or twice a week, as certain groups have certain rules when it comes to business advertising and I didn’t want to be too pushy and have people not come because they’d seen it too often. The third way of advertising was a slight shot in the dark, so I’ve no idea how well it worked, but I sent the flyer out to local schools in the area and simply let them know it was going on and showed my appreciation if they’d be able to share it with the parents of their schools. I got a couple of replies from this, one saying they’d pop it in the news letter and a second stating they’d already broken up from term.

For the day I chose to have a big wide age range, mainly to cover more of the costs as I’d be able to have a bugger group. It will also mean that the two age groups can rest or rehearse quietly while I work with the other age group. They’ll create a group dance as a big group but then have age specific routines as well. My plan is that this helps push both groups, as they’ll be doing a showcase at the end of the day for the parents.

Response for my first holiday camp has been quite supportive, it’s been great to have a booking process implemented too as I know who’s coming, permission for photos, and have received most payments in advance of the day. Which means I can focus on the dancing on the day completely.

Fingers crossed it’s all gone smoothly. I’ve planned to have just 15 minutes for my lunch, while they all have a little break so I’m going to be working pretty much all day, and the following day I’m running dress rehearsal for the dance schools panto group, wish me luck.

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