The ballroom dancing showcases at Fred Astaire East Side Dance Studio in Manhattan are held at least twice a year and provide the students with an environment for socializing, practice, and improvement. The most important part of a showcase organization is the construction of the dance presentations timetable, and, with the number of participants increasing each year, this task (usually performed manually) requires a great deal of time and effort on the part of the management. That is why, for the Summer 2007 showcase, the management of the studio expressed interest in using a computer-based tool that would significantly speed up the process of schedule construction and deliver a much more coherent and efficient showcase program. The tool we developed is rooted in coding of algorithms and integer programming optimization models and is very user-friendly since it is spreadsheet-based and runs in Excel, while taking into consideration the various constraints and requirements posed by the management, instructors, and students of the dance studio. The scheduling tool was successfully implemented for the generation of the timetable of the above-mentioned showcase; the management spent considerably less time preparing this schedule as compared to the previous practice of manual program construction. Therefore more time is now afforded to the other important activities of the studio such as teacher training, dance instruction, sales, marketing, and communication with clients.
To appear in Interfaces.