If your competition or recital choreography seems a little lackluster, your studio might benefit from a fresh set of eyes. Using dance choreographers for hire is a great way to take a little bit of responsibility off your plate – you surely have enough to go around – and spice up your dancers’ repertoire. It’s a win for all parties involved, because you focus your energy on other tasks, while your dancers have the opportunity to learn a new style of dance and experience different teaching methods. If you’re thinking about welcoming a guest choreographer into your studio this year, here are some tips for choosing the best teacher for the job and being a stellar host.
1. Set a Budget
The first major consideration to take into account is how much you have to spend on dance choreographers for hire. Dance Studio Life explained that, on average, it will cost around $100 per student for a choreographed piece, not including travel and hotel costs. Naturally, you’ll find teachers who charge different amounts depending on their expertise, experience and other factors. Chances are that you won’t be dishing all that money out of your studio’s funds, so it’s crucial that you talk to the dancers’ parents about the expense. Explain why you think the opportunity is valuable for the students and what exactly the choreographer has to offer. Be straightforward about the cost and see if you can come to an agreement on a final budget.
2. Do Your Research
Once you know how much you can spend for some professional choreography, start doing research on teachers that you might like to work with. The Dance Exec explained that your first instinct might be to choose someone whose style is similar to your own, but why pay someone to do a job that you could do just as well? It’s better to choose a choreographer who will bring something new to the table. Explore different genres! It will be beneficial to everyone if you mix things up.
Once you have a few choreographers in mind, delve deeper into your research. The Internet is an amazing tool for “dance dating.” Check out the social media accounts of each teacher. Instagram, YouTube and Facebook can all give you insight into the choreographer’s style, teaching methods, personality and professionalism. You might be surprised to find a lesser-known artist who you like much more than a big name choreographer. The Dance Exec suggested that you reach out to any individuals that you think would be great for your students, even if you don’t know them. You never know if they’re available or too expensive until you ask.
3. Be Welcoming
When you’re hosting a teacher for the first time, don’t be afraid to roll out the welcome wagon. In an interview with Dance Spirit magazine, guest choreographer Lauren Adams explained that it can be nerve wracking to enter a new studio for the first time.
“It’s intimidating for us to walk into a space filled with dancers, all expecting us to create this great energy,” Adams told Dance Spirit.
It’s in your best interest to make the guest feel welcomed and comfortable in your studio. Give your students a little bit of background information on the choreographer beforehand, and encourage them to introduce themselves and be hospitable. The more at ease a guest choreographer feels, the better he or she will be able to communicate with the students and the more impressive the end results will be.
4. Be Strict About Time
When you get down to business, be specific about how much teaching and rehearsal time you’ve allotted for the class and ask what will happen if the piece isn’t finished on time. You’re paying this professional for his or her services, and it’s your right to know what to expect. Dance Studio Life explained that sometimes a choreographer will run out of rehearsal time and the dancers might not be adequately prepared to execute the piece. Talk to the choreographer about taping the last few run-throughs if you’re concerned about time. This will at least give you a guide to work off of once the teacher is gone.
5. Build Relationships
If you’re impressed with the choreographer’s work and think he or she is a wonderful match for your students, don’t be shy about building a relationship. Talk to the guest about coming back the following season and express your feelings about the piece. The Dance Exec noted that not all choreographers will become friendly with studio owners, but personal connections can benefit both parties in the long run. If your first guest choreographer experience is a stellar one, go ahead and express those sentiments. If it’s just subpar, give the guest a firm handshake and your heartfelt thanks, wave goodbye at the airport and then try again next year.