Do you really have a dance school or do you teach dancing?
Updated: Jul 20, 2019
It was my very great pleasure to examine this weekend for two very good friends Philip and Christine Diment in Southampton. Philip and Christine have owned their school in Southampton for 43 years making it a very sustainable business. It is still a growing business as their daughter Hayley opened a sister school in Southampton.
Philip is a Past President, Examiner and Director of the International Dance Teacher’s Association (IDTA). Christine is an established Championship Adjudicator and is also the secretary of the South East Area IDTA. They are also both supported by a team of very skilled, highly qualified teachers.
It is evident they have the right qualifications to do the job well, but it is in its feeling of community and warmth that the school wins you over. Philip was telling me that when he and Christine started the school their vision was for a social club and the provision of dance teaching. Having a tea bar and a drinks bar go far in helping them achieve this atmosphere but it is about so much more.
There are many people able to teach dance to a good standard but if you want to have a sustainable business you have to have a wider remit and be true to your vision.
When you enter Philip and Christine’s school in Southampton it is a very welcoming atmosphere. The staff know the names of the people coming in and greet them easily and warmly. Around the school there are advertisements for future events: dance nights, holidays, classes, practice sessions and these extra curricula events do much to bind people together in a kind of extended family. If you join this school there would be no excuse for being lonely. The dance awards day for the IDTA is part of these extra curricula events. Dancers come in in groups and have a short practice before the examining session. Philip, Christine and the staff get people up to dance so that they can prepare, and then it is time for the event. Dancers of all grades show what they have been learning and they are supported by their friends and by the staff.
FRIENDS FOR LIFE
The evening before the awards examination there had been a barn dance with a ploughman’s supper and Philip and Christine were telling me that they now have no free Saturdays till Christmas as they are running so many events. It is not easy to run a dance school of this quality with its many facets such as competitors for Nationwide Competitions, IDTA dance awards, and such a strong community spirit, but if it is your vision then it is attainable. Somehow for Philip and Christine I think it is about more then vision. It is about passion for what they do and the warmth of being good, caring people.
I’m really proud to count Philip and Christine amongst my friends. That’s the other thing about dancing. You can make friendships which last. My thoughts drift back to when I was dancing at Butlins, Filey in 1966. Dancers from all over
the country met at Butlins Camps for Dance events. Who would have thought that when we were there as children, we would still be friends in 2018; still working to share our joy of dance with others? Now what can you do to make your dance business sustainable?