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Which entrance to use

I'm debating whether or not my plan for pole party arrivals is working. I prefer to work in my office right up until the point that the parties arrive. Because you never know when a party will arrive. They could be 20 minutes late. And who wants to sit in a studio for 20 minutes alone, bored, waiting for late people to show up. So it seemed like the smart thing to do. My confirmation tells them to go the back entrance and ring me up stairs in my office and then I come down and let them in. This also has the great advantage of taking them into the studio from the back entrance where there is more room for them to remove their shoes BEFORE they enter the studio. If I have them meet me at the studio, they come in from the street entrance where they walk into my studio with their shoes on (I have a giant long runner for them to walk on until they remove their shoes but they always ignore it and just walk around my studio with shoes on even after I ask them not to).

But I have run into some problems with this master plan. First and foremost, they can now arrive whenever they want. Yesterday's party was 15 minutes early. I think another was 20 minutes early. I need a more predictable arrival time so I can be ready on time. Back in my old studio where there was just one entrance, I told them in the confirmation that I arrive 10 minutes prior to the party. Parties that arrived 15 minutes early or 20 minutes early were greeted with a sign on the door reminding them I'll arrive 10 minutes prior to their party. This saved me a LOT of time and stress. I know it seems like only 10 minutes. But when you're like me and your day is packed from start to finish, that 10 minutes is the difference between being ready and professional when they arrive or being half dressed with a toothbrush in your mouth. The other problem with letting them come into the back entrance, is that they decide they can come and go from that entrance whenever they want during the party. They go back to their cars to get things and then leave that gated back entrance wide open, which I agreed NEVER to do in the lease I signed. That door has to be locked at all times since it is also the access to the residents upstairs.

I'm tempted to go back to having the parties come in to the studio from the street. At least then I can ask them to arrive only 10 minutes early and they can't ring my bell 20 minutes before their party (there is no bell from the street entrance). This is too bad. Because the back entrance with the bell also has coat hooks for them. So they can come in and hang their coats and take of their shoes and have plenty of room. When they come in from the street, the coat and shoe area in the studio is tiny and crowded and they are in each other's way.

Comments

Try the restaurant approach

A blatant, but tasteful sign with velvet ropes or non-physical boundaries, that says something like "PLEASE REMOVE ALL FOOTWEAR BEFORE ENTERING THE STUDIO" so that their only excuse is blindness or illiteracy. Maybe smaller letters that note "(there is room in the back for shoe/coat/purse storage)" so they don't have any qualms about de-shoeing right at the entrance. Short of 'tards, people in restaurants don't seat themselves when there's a sign in the entry way asking them to "please wait to be seated", and your students shouldn't have the problem of breaking the rules such as "PLEASE REMOVE YOUR SHOES NOW." as a sign they cannot pass without seeing. Whether first time, or returning students, they won't have the expectation of having come in the back way before, but might realize that there's room there to stash their stuff if they've been here before. If not, a little bit of confusion never killed anyone. They'll live through it. If things get really hard to deal with, maybe some narrow wall shelves or hooks out front to cure any problems, with "THERE'S MORE ROOM IN THE BACK!" after the first 3 or 4 coats and shoes are stored.

I haven't seen the finished space or gotten the sense of layout from any photos or I might be able to be more helpful. But mostly, it's all about training the students from moment one, and setting EXPECTATIONS so that whether they like it or not, they learn to expect what you're asking of them. Some will offer complaints or constructive feedback, and from there you can get an idea of what changes might be worthwhile.

My 2 cents. Take what you like, leave what you don't.

Re: Try the restaurant approach

The only way to make a sign like that visible is a free standing out in the floor sign. So I would need velvet ropes or that kind of thing.

I may try putting a sign on the door that they might see before they enter.
The area near the door has to be kept clear for sensual wallwork. I wish we could put a shoe cubbie there, it would solve the problem. But then we wouldn't have enough room to dance. So they have to enter and then walk around a corner where there is an area for shoes and purses. I have a long runner leading from the door to the corner where they can take off their shoes. As they enter I tell them if they follow that runner, there is a place at the end to remove and put away their shoes.