by Olivia Morrell l Rezpect Dance Academy
Wednesday, March 28, 2018
I hope everyone is pumped about this year! Yes, I do realize that it is half way through March, but I’ve only just found time to stop & let you all know what’s been happening this year with Rezpect Dance Academy.
For those of you who do not know, the Rezpect Dance Academy staff consists of myself, overseeing all administration, finances, managing of and directing in the world of Rezpect (as well as tutoring); we also have two tutors, my husband Russ, and a handful of young people we are training to assist dance tutors.
Usually, I find December / January quite a relaxing time; however, this was not the case this time around. I didn’t realize how big of a job it was going to be preparing for 2018! Last year in Term 4, we ran 8 dance classes & 9 dance crews at our studio, with 232 dancers coming through our studio doors each week.
By the grace of God, we ended 2017 with a record number of dancers wanting to be a part of our dance crews for 2018. This made us re-look at everything we do.
Planning, reflecting, and a lot of thinking
Looking at 2018, the reality was we did not have enough time in our week to cater to volume of people we had wanting to be a part of our dance family, and every evening was booked at the studio. Not to mention our waiting list was, and still is, around 40 – 50 people long.
We had to take on a massive self-reflection, looking at the why of what we do, working out what thing we do impact young people’s lives the most, what is the most productive use of our resources, and from there, plan what 2018 would look like.
I had to also re-look at my life and what I was piling into it, realigning things and making my new priorities; times of rest, time with my husband, time with our two kids and aiming to lead a healthier & more joyful life. I’d realized in Term 4 that if I wasn’t operating at my best, neither was the Academy and I had worked too long and too hard to waste the amazing gift I get to be a part of each week. This also added a new goal for me which I am working towards, who will carry the Academy when I don’t? Let’s train up and build a strong team!
Easy, right?! No sweat!
In the end of all our talking & brainstorming, it wasn’t hard to get clarity. It was just re-finding something we already knew. Our dance crews were our priority.
Within a dance crew, young people experienced the most growth, the most life altering experiences and challenges. It is here within crews that we are able to work with a small group of young people and train them not only in dance, but also in character: teaching these young people tools that they will carry through the rest of their lives and giving them experiences that nothing else they were involved with could do.
In contrast, classes are great, but they are rather impersonal; shorter times spent together with less mentoring quality. We decided that our classes, while extremely popular, were not changing the lives of young people like our crews were. Our classes were mostly a great way of introducing people to dance and Rezpect Dance Academy and a tool we used to filter dancers into dance crews.
In this clarity lay our dilemma. We would be looking at 16 dance crew in term 1, 2018 with no studio time left for our classes and not enough tutors.
What do you do? Open a second dance studio!
I thought for a very minimal amount of time about my options: option 1, stop running classes, or option 2, hire random halls on different days of the week and run classes this way. Option 2 would easily cost $50 a day to hire a hall for 5 hours and would take a lot of communication with different venues and a lot of extra work.
God then dropped an idea into my mind. Something I would not have thought of or considered an option.
I approached the current lease holders of our old studio building, which is a large building housing Flip Out (a trampoline park), and they were willing to give us full and exclusive access to the upstairs room 7 days a week for a great price!
Term 1, 2018 growth
We do have a few minor challenges and things we’re wrinkling out but, we are growing, we are flourishing, and we are changing the lives of young people in the Hawke’s Bay through dance.
This term we have 14 dance classes running each week, (in term 2 I am looking at increasing this to 17 classes) and 16 dance crews!
This leaves us with over 290 dancers coming through our two studios each week. I’m aiming that in term two we will be welcoming 320+ dancers through both our studios each week.
Anything else happening?
Next month, we’re heading to Nationals to compete with 7 dance crews and 39 dancers. This event takes place in Auckland in the 1st week of the school holidays and is always a highlight for our dancers.
We do have a few side projects going on; working within schools, and in term 2, we’re aiming to restart our community dance classes
I would like to close by saying that in all of this there is no ‘set hours’ of work for me, because it’s not a job. I put in work because there is work to be done, and I do it tirelessly, because there is a generation of young people who need change makers in their lives. Young people who need to be empowered, who need to be loved, valued and acknowledge as something that is of worth.
Don’t quit because you’re not seeing results, young people are looking for someone or something that will be a constant in their lives when nothing else seems to be.
Keep at it family, don’t lose sight of your why and TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF!