Your Name/Title: Elizabeth Emery/Owner
Studio Name: Dancers Unite Fine Arts Academy LLC
Years in business: 2
Your studio’s philosophy: First and foremost, we want to make sure our dancers are learning the right way to do things. We want top quality instructors who teach our dancers correct terminology and body placement so that if they want to become professional dancers they have the proper tools to do so.
Secondly, we want it to be a postive environment. We want it to be a safe place to try things. We want to encourage our dancers to try difficult steps in an encouraging way. We are a family owned and operated studio, and we want all our customers to feel they are part of the Dancers Unite family.
Thirdly, we want them to have learned skills that would help our students in any aspect of life. For example, learning how to try new things if you fail, learning how to perform in front of large groups of people and learning how to accept criticism are all wonderful skills that can be used in any career choice.
Dance styles taught: Ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, hip hop, tumbling, pointe, contemporary, musical theater dance, bellydance, zumba
Approximate # of classes per week: 40
Approximate # of teachers: 7
Biggest struggle in getting off the ground and how you handled it: Getting the word out about our studio. A lot of people choose a dance studio based on what their friends & neighbors recommend, and as a new studio it’s going to take awhile for your studio with the best word of mouth. You just have to be patient, not give up and work hard at building good relationships with your customers.
Also, try to get your name out in the community by working with local schools. For instance, my dance studio teamed up with a well respected private school in the area to host a dance camp out of their facilties.
Best advice you can give someone who is opening (or thinking about opening) a dance studio: Save up as much money as possible before opening a studio. I opened a studio with my sister and we worked hard in high school to get full scholarships for college and then lived at home with our parents and shared a car. Opening up a dance studio takes a lot of capital and there are expenses that you probably wouldn’t even think about before opening a studio!
One mistake you think potential dance studio owners make: Bending over backwards too much! People don’t appreciate it, and often the ones you bend over backwards for still aren’t happy and leave your studio anyway. Make sure you don’t spend so much time trying to please the hard to please that you forget about your supportive base of customers!
Specific tip for having a smooth recital: We had a checklist of every possible thing we would need for our recital going into it, and that really helped make sure we didn’t forget anything.
Best marketing move you’ve ever made: Having a really great website that my sister runs herself so it is constantly updated. We also constantly work our social networking. We’ve found most of our customers have found us through the internet.
Most rewarding moment: Walking through the lobby during intermission of our recital and seeing all the pleased parents. It was so nice seeing so many proud, happy parents and knowing that I had helped make a wonderful, memorable afternoon for them.
BIO: Elizabeth Emery began dance at the age of three, and started teaching dance at the age of thirteen. She taught dance throughout middle school, high school and college. She danced competitively since age seven and her routines won numerous overall awards. A personal favorite dance performance of hers was Disney World, a favorite vacation spot of her family. In addition to teaching and dancing at her studio, she was a member of the Charlotte Catholic Dance Team for four years. She was the only freshman on a team that placed first runner up in a national competition..
She graduated Charlotte Catholic with honors, and her dance and academic achievements helped her receive the Thomas Cooper Scholarship to the University of South Carolina. She then graduated cum laude from the nationally ranked Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina with a bachelor of science in business administration. She double majored in business economics and marketing, and minored in sociology where she took such courses as Childhood Sociology.
Elizabeth’s combined loves of business, dance and working with children has made owning a studio a natural dream of hers. Elizabeth strives to provide children with self-esteem, but at the same time provide them with a good dance background. Elizabeth continues her dance education today, and has taken numerous classes up and down the east coast, most recently at Broadway Dance Center in New York City, the Boston Ballet School, the Dance Complex, and the Jeannette Neill Dance Studio in Boston. She has taught hip hop and jazz for the after-school program for the Mecklenburg Area Catholic Schools (St. Patrick Catholic School, St. Ann Catholic School, St. Gabriel Catholic School, St. Matthew Catholic School, and St. Mark Catholic School) and the Summer Dance Camp at Charlotte Latin School