Case Study: How Software Can Benefit Dance Companies

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  • Location:

    New York City, USA

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Saltare in Elementis Dance Collective

Saltare in Elementis Dance Collective (SIEDC), was originally formed in 2018 to present work in South Korea during an undergraduate study abroad trip. Co-founded by Zoe Couloumbis, Fiona O’Brien, and Sebrena Williamson, the collective now produces workshops, dance films, classes, and live performances.

Sebrena Williamson is a Co-founder, Choreographer, and Director of Research at Saltare in Elementis Dance Collective. 

In the modern dance industry, there’s quite a lot of barriers to launching a dance company; but more importantly, there’s quite a lot of threats to the traditional dance industry as a whole. While the arts industry as a whole seems to be torn on whether or not technology and social media can aid in facing old and new dilemmas, at Saltare in Elementis (SIEDC), we’re firmly in favor of tech and modern media– and for us, this strategy has worked.

In 2020, the pandemic paved a bright new path for the dance industry as a whole. As classes and performances began to move online, many traditional barriers to dance began to dissolve. That is not to say that they dissolved entirely, though. For many dance businesses, integrating tech into company infrastructure is still new territory; but, at Saltare in Elementis Dance Collective, we’ve found that software has been vital to the health of our daily operations. Through the software case study below, I’ve covered our first hand experience in how Ruoom’s software has elevated our dance company. Under a partnership with Ruoom, our dance company functions more efficiently and effectively. As a result, our products and services are more distinguished in the digital landscape. More specifically, because of the software design, we have been able to demonstrate the values we would like to see within the dance industry–like innovation, accessibility and inclusivity.

“Resolution” from SIEDC’s original film, Terra. Photo courtesy of Lilly Dyer.

Software Case Study; Solutions for Dance and Fitness Businesses

Below, I have detailed some of the main problems we’ve experienced and how our partnership with Ruoom provided dynamic solutions. Our problems ranged from implementing basic functions like payment integration and paywalls to more advanced needs, like branding and presentation. While some solutions were present on other platforms, many of the features were on separate software. Ruoom, moreover, simplified our company operations by encompassing several facets of what dance and entertainment businesses require.

Virtual Events; Flexible Paywalls for Links, Accessibility and More

At SIEDC, the majority of our performances, products, and services are digital. As a dance company that mainly promotes dance films, classes, support groups, and other virtual events, finding something that met all of our needs was challenging. In the past, we encountered the following issues with other platforms:

  • Many platforms don’t include paywalls, and the ones that do have no payment flexibility.
  • There’s not usually not an easy insert for a zoom link.
  • Platforms are often difficult for the customer to navigate.
  • In order to correct all of these concerns, we would need to utilize several separate platforms.

When we debuted our film Terra in 2021, unfortunately, we ran into all of these problems simultaneously. Moving forward with Ruoom, however, we were able to create virtual classes, film premieres, and events that our customers could easily view and access from our calendar. Once they’ve signed up, clients automatically receive a zoom link.

“Water” from SIEDC’s original film, Terra. Photo by Lilly Dyer.

For our film premiere of Hurricane 6, we charged customers to watch virtually, so this worked nicely as a paywall for a virtual event; but since we want to promote accessibility within the dance world, we also offered free donation-based classes. As a result, it was very essential to have flexibility in terms of payment infrastructure. With Ruoom’s software, customers can leave a donation at check-out. In addition, the software is fully integrated with Paypal and Stripe, which made purchases seamless for both us and our customers.

In the dance industry, there are many barriers to just taking class. Oftentimes, there aren’t a lot of adult classes available outside of dance hubs like New York City and LA. At SIEDC, we want to promote accessibility and inclusivity, which Ruoom helps us provide through its virtual sign-up. With our Everyone Everywhere class series showcased through Ruoom, we were able to provide classes to anyone with a computer.

Customizable, Sleek CRM Software

For any business, branding plays a huge role in first impressions. Millennium Dance Complex, a famous dance studio with branches in the Western US, is known for its striking red studio walls and font. At SIEDC, our dance company’s directives, goals, and intentions are reflected in our earthy, feminine design. From company to customer, our branding communicates the tone of our movement styles and themes.

Unlike other CRM software companies, Ruoom allows its user to customize their customer calendar and website, including brand colors and logo in the very design. This way, brands are able to establish a remembered presence in the customer’s mind. More crucially, the calendar is integrated with our website. Potential customers that look through our website can easily access our calendar, leading to higher conversions and class sign-ups within our site. 

Average Class Schedule at SIEDC

In our experience, customers and clients were very impressed by the convenience of check-in. With one sign up, they receive the physical address or zoom link. Oftentimes, there’s not a lot of options for check-in software, but Ruoom helps customers and companies to keep their connection with one another. With Ruoom’s software, we have access to any customer who has signed up for a class. Put simply, that means that if we have any interesting new opportunities coming up, we can reach out to them. From sleek first impressions to continued relationships, Ruoom’s software has been integral in our customer relationship management.

Task Management and Staff Calendar

A dance business essential is the ability to handily manage tasks and shifts. While project management tools can be useful, we often find that our company goals and needs relate directly to our class and event calendar. Since dance and entertainment businesses are very event focused, many of our tasks involve our calendar. For example, if one of us needs to choreograph a phrase, it’s likely in preparation for an event or performance. Having the two integrated is not only convenient, but vital. In simple terms, we needed software that allows us to assign tasks and stay on track for different projects, but a daily shift management system as well.

Co-founders Sebrena Williamson and Fiona O’Brien on the set of Hurricane 6. Photo by Reed Morgan.

Ruoom has a feature where administrators can assign tasks, and it also keeps track of staff members and shifts. These are all easily viewed from the administrative dashboard. In addition, most of our work is collaborative, and Ruoom allows for multiple people to be assigned to the same task. For us, utilizing Ruoom for our daily task management has helped us stay on track with our company goals and schedules.

In Person Events: Communicating Expectations Before Classes

Under our partnership with Ruoom, we launched A Day of Dance, a full day of classes, a support group, and a film showing. A Day of Dance was our first official workshop we’ve held in the USA, so it was imperative that we put our best foot forward. At check-in, the Ruoom team provided a sign-in that further solidified a professional environment. Utilizing the Ruoom check-in software, customers were checked in and counted, then personally invited into the space.

For events, Ruoom’s software allows users to set the class at a certain capacity as well as add images and text to class descriptions. From the more basic items down to the core content of the class, our dance company is fully aware of how infuriating it can be for new students taking class for the first time with a new dance company or organization. As dancers ourselves, we’ve all been to workshops where the capacity is reached and we’ve already made the commute, or the class is something totally different than what we imagined. Because most of our customers signed up before entering the space, we were able to set capacity and expectations before our customers even arrived. From class capacity to detailed descriptions of the class, Ruoom helped us set and manage the class environment before customers even walked in the building.

Software Case Study for Dance Companies; A Productive Way Forward

After utilizing Ruoom’s software, our company has been able to stand in its ideals. While the dance industry and the arts industry tends to lag behind in terms of business management and technology, we’ve found that the most productive way forward was to integrate smart, structured tech into our company infrastructure. With Ruoom, we were able to more accurately exemplify our company goals and ambitions. From our Everyone Everywhere series to our dance films, our art was made accessible through Ruoom. As a company, we want to highlight everything dance can be in a modern context; this was made possible once the practical needs for a dance business were taken care of by software.

We hope that our software case study with Ruoom can provide other dance companies with insight, clarity, and most importantly, a fresh perspective. Though it might be a secondary thought to many dance, fitness, and entertainment entrepreneurs, finding software that works for you and your business should be a primary focus. That way, art and services offered can shine through, unmuddled by simple dilemmas.

“Fire” from the SIEDC original film, Terra. Photo by Lilly Dyer.

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