Rules are everywhere: in homes, schools, workplaces, organizations, society, and, hopefully, YOUR studio. Our Studio Guides offer a glimpse into the importance of systematization for varying facets of the studio: policies and procedures, recital guides, competition guides, and staff guides.

Rules bring order, discipline, function, and standardization to your operations and functions. Put the rules on paper, explicitly share and review them with your staff, clientele, and students, and hold each and every person accountable for their responsibilities. 

In your rules, take the time to address EVERYTHING (behavior, dress, timeliness, communication protocols and procedures), and be particularly specific regarding attendance expectations and allowable absences.

Here are a few examples of explaining rules:

1.The recital dress rehearsal is required to perform in the recital. A parent may question this requirement, but if you explain that it is necessary for the child’s positive experience and success on recital day, they will usually understand (you can explain the unfamiliarity of the setting, the importance of learning the stage and theatre environment, etc.).

2. For ballet class, a female student is expected to wear leotard, tights, ballet shoes, and hair in a bun. A parent may question this requirement because their child does not enjoy wearing the required ballet attire. Explain the history of ballet in addition to the necessity of seeing a child’s placement and alignment (for physical safety and proper technique). This is the “uniform” for this particular activity (compare it to a swimsuit for swimming).

Some people assume rules are thrown into place for no reason (and they will have their opinions and judgments), but rules are implemented to enhance the success and quality of everyone’s experience.

And, no matter how many times you reiterate that no exceptions are allowed, people are going to assume they are above the rules. One year, a parent blatantly stated that the rules did not apply to her or her family. Parents will also interview other parents to inquire if you are making exceptions for others, and occasionally, they will recruit others to join their quest. People will try every excuse, reason, and attempt in the book to circumvent the protocol and procedures in place. Revert to your rules, and stay consistent in your enforcement. If you break a rule for one person, you will have to break it for everyone.

If you explicitly communicate your expectations (as well as consequences) and uniformly apply the standards to everyone, these situations are easy (albeit frustrating) to handle.

Be confident in your infrastructure. Communicate in advance. Specify your expectations. Take pride in your organization. Keep in mind that your infrastructure may not work for everyone (and that is okay).

Rules must be applied equally to everyone, or they will not work for anyone. 

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