The Session Shuffle & Cashflow Blues

Running a dance business can be a constant hustle from session to session, riding on the fortune and famine of staggered registration income.

Each session money comes flowing in as students sign up at the beginning of your series and then you’re left to budget and manage till the next round of signups.

As classes finish up you bite your nails and wonder will the next session fill up so you can pay for the studio space.

You’ve got the Cashflow Blues.

While this rhythm is inevitable to some extent with any studio or dance business that schedules classes as series, it can be mitigated with a little fruitful planning.

Drop-In Classes

As instructors it’s rewarding to have students work through the progression that series classes offer.  They learn faster, receive consistent guidance, and classes develop a social bond.  It’s also confirmed income, which provides more security for the class.  However, not everyone is able to commit to a full length series.

Running drop-in classes gives students unable to commit to longer series a way to participate, new students a way to test your classes, and adds a little something extra in the budget every week.

Scheduling drop-in classes before a dance or open studio time adds some of the social element back in which helps create a stronger community.


It’s great to bring in big name instructors and host full-on weekend extravaganzas every once in a while.  They also bring outside talent to your local scene, keeping it current with what is going on in the wider world of dance.  But they require a great deal of planning and more outlay in terms of money

However, mini-workshops are a great way to boost your bank account and your community.  Mini-workshops are smaller one-day intensives around a specific topic.  It’s a great way to focus on a topic that wouldn’t necessarily be included in a regular series or wouldn’t be able to fill out a whole series of its own.

Mini-workshops are also exceptionally easy to tailor to specific levels.  If you don’t offer high-level instruction and focus primarily on beginner and intermediate technique, they can be a good place to target the more advanced dancers in your community.  Or vice versa, a mini-workshop can be a way to offer an intensive introductory class to get people started.

Open Studio Time

For those dance studio owners who operate out a single space full time, having an open studio time slot where individuals can use the space for a small fee is a good way to capitalize on the all of that unused studio time.

Depending upon your city, good dance studio space can be hard to come by so offering open studio time where individuals can drop in to use the space is a boon to those working on a choreography or wanting to practice.

It may not be a major money maker but it reinforces your studio as a friendly and encouraging space for your dance community.

Private Lessons

Hopefully you already offer private lessons, but if you don’t you should probably start yesterday.

Private lessons are a boon to your teachers, your studio and your students.  Teachers are able to hone their individual feedback and critique skills while earning a good hourly wage. Students receive valuable one-on-one instruction and get to interact on a more personal level with instructors.  Your studio benefits from the improvement of the students, the teachers, and the use of the space.

Whether your studio rents space to teachers for private lessons, takes a cut of the rate, or offers it free to studio teachers, you’re reinforcing the whole community chain when you include private lessons in your curriculum.

Sell A Product

Whether you keep a supply of dance merchandise on hand, DVDs for sale or offer an online service for students, having a product to sell that doesn’t rely on studio time divorces income from time and teachers.

Developing a product may not be the standard for dancers and dance studios, but it creates another revenue stream for your dance business and offers more valuable content to your community.  Spend time researching the kinds of products your students would be interested in, ask them what they’d want that would improve their dance experience.


Last but definitely not least, having good financial planning and budgeting will keep your books in the black even with the cashflow blues and session shuffle.

Leave your comment