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Author Topic: An organization for pro/AM competitors? If so, what would it do?  (Read 5235 times)
samina
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« Reply #30 on: May 17, 2010, 01:27:47 PM »

as long as it's not required and there are no drawbacks to *not* being a member of such an organization... meh, why not. i just don't want the obligation or any interference or "helpful standardization". let the common free market reign, i say.
"Helpful standardization" is like "one size fits all" (does it, really?). In a way, what I like about current situation is that everyone is free to choose their own path in dancing, and everyone can figure out for themselves what works for them. Some people like bells and whistles which come with a studio lesson, some people would pay higher hourly rates a more experienced teacher would charge, some people would be OK with someone less experienced but cheaper. In the end everyone decides what is fair to them. So why organize?
i agree. although i wouldn't want to stand in the way of those who would find value in organization. but i don't see that i need an organization to protect my interests, and am not interested in giving up my freedom of personal choice for such a thing.

i still stand behind "buyer beware" in all things... and that there is a great blessing in the freedom to make that call personally in the way that suits each individual. including the engagement with those who are on the more unscrupulous side of things.

BTW: would you recommend the same principle for, say, a surgeon or a lawyer?

why not?
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ttd
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« Reply #31 on: May 17, 2010, 01:29:49 PM »

as long as it's not required and there are no drawbacks to *not* being a member of such an organization... meh, why not. i just don't want the obligation or any interference or "helpful standardization". let the common free market reign, i say.
"Helpful standardization" is like "one size fits all" (does it, really?). In a way, what I like about current situation is that everyone is free to choose their own path in dancing, and everyone can figure out for themselves what works for them. Some people like bells and whistles which come with a studio lesson, some people would pay higher hourly rates a more experienced teacher would charge, some people would be OK with someone less experienced but cheaper. In the end everyone decides what is fair to them. So why organize?
i agree. although i wouldn't want to stand in the way of those who would find value in organization. but i don't see that i need an organization to protect my interests, and am not interested in giving up my freedom of personal choice for such a thing.

i still stand behind "buyer beware" in all things... and that there is a great blessing in the freedom to make that call personally in the way that suits each individual. including the engagement with those who are on the more unscrupulous side of things.

BTW: would you recommend the same principle for, say, a surgeon or a lawyer?
So are you suggesting that dance teahcers need to get state licenses to teach (now that would drive up the prices!) Not all professions have to have oversight like medicine or law, and that includes some that require advanced degrees. Software development is one such area and the only guarantee of our qualifications are our own credentials and the individual company requirements. It seems to be self-regulating (software firms will not keep developers who do not know what they are doing). There is no certification for financial engineers (people who actually develop the pricing models investment firms later use to determine their trading strategy) - their employers often just state that they're looking for a PhD with the right scientific background. That seems to be working out too - a quant (another term for it) who does not do a good job ends up without one fairly quickly.
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samina
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« Reply #32 on: May 17, 2010, 01:31:24 PM »

as long as it's not required and there are no drawbacks to *not* being a member of such an organization... meh, why not. i just don't want the obligation or any interference or "helpful standardization". let the common free market reign, i say.
"Helpful standardization" is like "one size fits all" (does it, really?). In a way, what I like about current situation is that everyone is free to choose their own path in dancing, and everyone can figure out for themselves what works for them. Some people like bells and whistles which come with a studio lesson, some people would pay higher hourly rates a more experienced teacher would charge, some people would be OK with someone less experienced but cheaper. In the end everyone decides what is fair to them. So why organize?
i agree. although i wouldn't want to stand in the way of those who would find value in organization. but i don't see that i need an organization to protect my interests, and am not interested in giving up my freedom of personal choice for such a thing.

i still stand behind "buyer beware" in all things... and that there is a great blessing in the freedom to make that call personally in the way that suits each individual. including the engagement with those who are on the more unscrupulous side of things.
I wonder how the old lady I know of who signed a lifetime contract with a notorious unscrupulous pro would think of this.  And this pro gets his credibility by mixing freely with all the other professional dance teachers (some of whom are equally disgusted but can do nothing about him).
well, people *can* do something about peers who disgust them with their practices... it's their own choice if they choose not to call this guy on it and limit his access to the benefits of their presence, whether personally or professionally. if they choose politics over honesty in their value system, that is their choice.

a little old lady or the feeble-minded being taken advantage of is never a joy to behold. but i don't find that justification for regulation. there is already contract law in place, or other legal avenues, to remedy those who are taken advantage of by thieves. but peer pressure may be even more effective... or the threat of an undesired consequence.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2010, 01:33:42 PM by samina » Logged
MrsMoose
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« Reply #33 on: May 18, 2010, 09:02:20 PM »

Might I just say that hairdressers need a state license at least in the State of NY.

Estheticians need a license as well.

I'm not saying dance teachers should or shouldn't be licensed.

I just will say that I think EE makes sense. More than I am making.

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emeralddancer
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Nottingham, MD (by way of NJ)


« Reply #34 on: June 12, 2010, 06:41:11 PM »

I am not sure I am all for any more organizations or not in Ballroom socially OR competitively. I think organizations, like politics, starts out with good intent, for good reasons and good aim. Inevitably though these good things turn bad. Just the nature of the beast called humanity.  Roll Eyes

I see both sides to this situation. (just trust me on this score)

I am by nature someone who researches a great deal before committing to anything. I DID my research on ballroom, what I wanted to do and the types of studios out there. Unfortunately, there is very little in the way of finding out the WHOLE truth of any studio or pro for that matter until one comes into contact and has dealings with. Even those that had left previous pros and moved on were pretty tight lipped in what they said.

Just simply because the ballroom dance world is so small and so incestuous, it leaves little for people to really to speak openly and honestly without causing some backlash. The political climate is to great both socially and competitively.

You have the pros and cons of studios.
You have the pros and cons of pros.
You have the pros and cons of comps.
You have the pros and cons of students.
Etc and so on and so forth.

While a lot of information is shared, a lot of it is also like going on a geological dig for the lost city of Atlantis.

That oft times you also have to sift through what words are being told to you, the riddles, the guessing games, the looks, the everything. Like one giant I spy with my little eye game. Ugh ....

I believe people should research, however, there ARE many tactics that are used even to the most scrupulous and wise of students that draw them in and have them shaking their heads later wondering how the hell they got themselves into positions like this.

I have talked to pros that almost unanimously agree that pro/am fees should be told to the student by the teacher or studio and not allow the fees to be disclosed other wise. There are those pros out there that do not want to break down or disclose what they are making. I have been told point blank it is none of my business. I disagree with this. I have a right to know what my money is paying for. I also have the right to choose or not choose to do comp based on this knowledge. Or anything for that matter. Of course there is mark up on everything! Having a general idea though in the service industry is preferable. AND as most service industry related things are concerned the heftiest price is on actual labor. AND since ballroom is almost entirely on the labor scale of the service industry, it really is hard for a break down in most cases. But when it comes to competitions or showcases, bet your bum you can figure out the the ratio between what is what.

(side note here .... I have told a few pros that are friends of mine, when in discussions about giving themselves a raise, ie: raising their lesson fees, I asked them .... WHAT ARE YOU WORTH? or more importantly .... What is your time and knowledge that you have to impart to another person worth to you!? <---- very valid I might add)

I do not need to know the most minutest of breakdowns. But I do not feel I should pay for a pro that wants to let say have a $150 dinner on my bank account. Screw that! I am all for paying the fees associated to dance pro/am within reason. I am disgusted to see such an wide ranging of pricing across ballroom. That is just in say my own home studio not to mention the differences between local studios, regional and so forth. AND YES I understand prices can be dictated upon for a variety of factors, ie: if you pro is a champion or not, region, blah blah blah. Those things can fall with in the scope of reason. But some of these "packages". I better be getting some great service, and not all but there are many pros out there that all this is to them is cake. I do not need a pro to be at my whim, but some they way I see them treat their students .... EEEEEWWWWWW. And many of these students are unaware and are miserable and are brainwashed or scared.

Then there are the pros that are the nice ones who are treated as badly as some AM students have been. So it goes both ways. Sometimes I think it can be worse for pros because this is their lively hood and it is a business that fluctuates a great deal for as many reasons as there are people and money. For them to survive on being a pro alone is oft times very difficult. Many of the pros often have their partnerships to maintain as well as having students, they have to find time to practice and also get training themselves AND support their everyday lives. Their lives are often more consumed by dance than a students is because in this case they are both student AND teacher. They have to deal with all sorts of students, the needy ones, the obsessed ones, etc. Then on top of that they have to usually deal with the drama of their "harem" or "stable of stallions". Students want to be the favorite or students cause problems with other students, or several students at same level of dance and age category and pro must figure out how to make everyone happy. Roll Eyes

So there are things on both sides.

There will NEVER be an organization to be fair to all or to look out for all. Whether it is an organization for the Pros, or for the AMs or for the AMs in pro/am or whatever. Just not going to happen. Why? We are dealing with human beings. Even if there are policies in place, and no tolerance things in place, or whatever, all rules for good are usually broken. Humanness reigns. LOL

Regarding certifications/licenses ..... REALLY?HuhHuh In the state of MD you have to be licensed to be many things. Makeup artists, hairdresser, massage therapist, etc and so forth. I could care less if a dance teacher is certified so to speak. Doesn't really show me anything. Show me teachers that not only are proven themselves in the dance arena but show me what their students are doing across all levels. Shoot some of MD's public school teachers who must go on to get Master's degrees are some of the most horrid teachers of education anywhere! AND they are teaching our kids. go figure.

As with ANY profession .... you have good and bad.
As with any in the teaching profession you have those that are good teachers that can explain beautifully but that dance horribly, you have beautiful and technically correct dancers that can not teach a lick to a flea and then you have teachers that have the combination of teaching beautifully and dancing beautifully and last the teachers that are horrible teaching and horrible dancing. So what is a license or certification? I can get a certification, doesn't mean I can teach.

Licenses and certifications are not an answer.

Also one can not put a broad spectrum on who gets duped or who doesn't. I am of the personal believe whatever my choices, then I made my bed so I have to lie in it. But there are AWAYS exceptions or circumstances that you can not paint with any one broad brush.

PS ..... I love the ballroom world.  Grin

end rant ..... steps of soap box.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2010, 06:56:59 PM by emeralddancer » Logged

It is more important who they are as people and only then is it important who they are as dancers.~Marcia Haydee
MrsMoose
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« Reply #35 on: June 14, 2010, 01:21:07 PM »

Great post. emeralddancer.

You are right, just becuase a hairdresser has a license doesn't mean you'll get a good cut.

I do have one question for you. You say people don't or refuse to talk about certain things in the dance world because of fear of repercussions.

Now I understand this from a Pro's point, someone who is competitng on a professional level, making a career out of it, but for a student who got burned at a studio why would they be afraid of discussing, talking, etc to stop it from happening to others??

I'm not questioning what you wrote, I'm just trying to understand the whys of the dance world.

I must say I find your post very wise, especailly on the research part.
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phoenix13
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« Reply #36 on: May 25, 2013, 08:01:06 AM »

Hmm.

I'm going to vote "an organization might be nice, but what could it really accomplish?"   And then I'll add a vote for "online forums are great, but any idiot can post poor advice,so beware."


It would be nice if there were safeguards in place to protect ams from poor choices. But how would you get ams to sign up?  Would (even reputable) studios buy in?  How would one establish enforcement powers?  Would such a body be national?  International?  How would jurisdiction be defined, when you consider that there are already bodies, such as the BBB and FTC (in the US) that regulate trade?

What a (potential) mess!!  I think caveat emptor would probably be a better approach.


I also agree with whoever said that info is readily available on the internet these days.   But again caveat emptor rules,IMHO.  I know several people online who have very specific experiences and personal agendas and who tell their story to anyone who will listen,whether it applies or not.   At the end of the day, if you're an adult spending large sums of cash, it's up to you to look out for your own interests.

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elisedance
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ee


« Reply #37 on: May 25, 2013, 01:00:18 PM »

So do you think that the amateur couple and professional organizations should be disbanded too?  I mean they would seem to suffer from the same faults...
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phoenix13
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« Reply #38 on: May 25, 2013, 02:53:48 PM »

Hmm.  Hadn't thought about it that way,but no.  I see no need to disband the existing organizations.   Although you are right.  They do suffer from some of the faults that I have listed.   They must be accomplishing some good or surely they'd have gone away by now?  Of course, I don't know enough about their operation to have an informed opinion. *shrug*

From what I have seen, I think that one of the biggest issues with forming an organization for ams is that so many people think that bad things won't happen to them.   One example is the lady mentioned above who paid $50K to enter a comp.  It probably never occurred to her to push back when that ludicrous price was quoted.  It's quite likely that she knew that there are scheister (sp?) teachers out there; she just never considered the possibility that her teacher might be one of them.

Even if there had been a watchdog organization out there, it's unlikely that she (or people like her) would have benefited from it.  She didn't ask until after the fact. *sigh*  And the fact that her teacher showed up in a brand new Lexus after the comp may have had something to do with her awakening. *grin*
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phoenix13
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« Reply #39 on: May 26, 2013, 09:36:12 AM »


I am by nature someone who researches a great deal before committing to anything. I DID my research on ballroom, what I wanted to do and the types of studios out there. Unfortunately, there is very little in the way of finding out the WHOLE truth of any studio or pro for that matter until one comes into contact and has dealings with. Even those that had left previous pros and moved on were pretty tight lipped in what they said.

Just simply because the ballroom dance world is so small and so incestuous, it leaves little for people to really to speak openly and honestly without causing some backlash.

Of course.  Any time you open your mouth to criticize someone else, you take the risk of being poorly perceived yourself. So most people are very careful about what they say, even after they have moved on to another studio.  I can't really blame them. You really do have to watch out for yourself.  That's why I look for the "damning with faint praise" comments from former students of a pro.   Maybe they won't say anything bad, but, i they had a bad experience, they usually won't say anything over the top good, either.


Quote
I have talked to pros that almost unanimously agree that pro/am fees should be told to the student by the teacher or studio and not allow the fees to be disclosed other wise. There are those pros out there that do not want to break down or disclose what they are making. I have been told point blank it is none of my business. I disagree with this. I have a right to know what my money is paying for. I also have the right to choose or not choose to do comp based on this knowledge. Or anything for that matter. Of course there is mark up on everything! Having a general idea though in the service industry is preferable. AND as most service industry related things are concerned the heftiest price is on actual labor. AND since ballroom is almost entirely on the labor scale of the service industry, it really is hard for a break down in most cases. But when it comes to competitions or showcases, bet your bum you can figure out the the ratio between what is what.

For the life of me, I cannot understand why this is such a sticking point for so many.  When I go buy a loaf of bread, I don't get a listing of prices for all the ingredients. I just decide whether that loaf of bread is worth the two or three dollars it costs.  then I buy it or I don't. Or when I buy a car, which supposedly has all the prices listed,it really doesn't. It has the retail prices listed, not the wholesale costs.

I do not understand why  it's perceived that a studio is being dishonest if they don't disclose their wholesale costs.

Yes. If they charge a ridiculous mark-up, that is wrong, IMV.  But why should they have to disclose their costs, in order to be seen as honest? Either you trust them or you don't.

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elisedance
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ee


« Reply #40 on: May 26, 2013, 10:15:10 AM »

For the life of me, I cannot understand why this is such a sticking point for so many.  When I go buy a loaf of bread, I don't get a listing of prices for all the ingredients. I just decide whether that loaf of bread is worth the two or three dollars it costs.  then I buy it or I don't. Or when I buy a car, which supposedly has all the prices listed,it really doesn't. It has the retail prices listed, not the wholesale costs.

I do not understand why  it's perceived that a studio is being dishonest if they don't disclose their wholesale costs.

Yes. If they charge a ridiculous mark-up, that is wrong, IMV.  But why should they have to disclose their costs, in order to be seen as honest? Either you trust them or you don't.


I think you are missing a  major point.  Many of us DO get a breakdown - a fee for the pro plus the entry fees for the competition.  But the entry fees for the comp are a lie - they have been marked up.

thats like buying your loaf of bread where the grocer swears to you that he can not sell it for less than 1 dollar because it cost him 90 c - when he actually paid 40 c for it.  That is cheating and lying in my book and if I found out I would never trust that grocer again.

Its a very different case if the studio just gives you a total fee and refuses to break it down - but then they will likely loose customers like me who will presume they are ripping me off.

ee
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If you must leave the house, go build a home...

The limit of your love is also the limit of your art...
phoenix13
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« Reply #41 on: May 26, 2013, 11:58:51 AM »

I understand.

I have seen studios successfully do it either way -- by giving a package price or by giving a breakdown.  I suppose it really comes down to the relationship between pros and their students. IMV, smart pros will come up with a pricing structure that enables their students to trust them. *shrug*

I don't think this is what is being said but, just ftr, I don't see charging a mark-up as dishonest.  It's standard operating procedure, if you want to make enough profit to stay in business.  There are standard formulas for it that I studied in managerial accounting a billion years ago, so please don't ask me to quote the percentages. I do remember that mark-up was much higher than I'd have thought it should be.

Maybe the reason studios sometimes don't disclose their actual cost is because they don't want to open a conversation with students who don't understand the concept of mark-up or overhead. I have had so many conversations with people who honestly believed that a dance teacher who charges $80 an hour is pocketing $80 an hour.   (floor fees,insurance, music fees, professional training, advertising costs, utilities, opportunity cost of lessons missed,  etc, anyone?) It's silly, but people believe that kind of stuff.  I wouldn't want to have those conversations with students either.


I see two things in this scenario as potentially dishonest.  One: charging a mark-up while saying you're not.   (Although I do understand why teachers might feel pressured to do this.)  Two: Charging exorbitant fees while using the excuse that it's "what the market will bear."    IOW, just because an easily duped pensioner will pay $50K to compete doesn't make it morally acceptable to charge her that much when everybody else is paying a tenth of the price.  That's just wrong, IMHO.

At the end of the day,I'm with ttd.  I like to comparison price, before plunking down major cash.


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