Ballroom Dance > Franchise Experiences

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by SDsalsaguy, Jul 20, 2003.

  1. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    well...let's be clear...ballroom dance doesn't corner the market on calling anyone who has been given a certificate for a very minimal investment, "certified"....

    it is however unfortunate that so many folks do so little research and find themselves underserved and over-charged...
  2. TinyDancer109

    TinyDancer109 Well-Known Member

    The thing is, a lot of franchises focus more on attracting social dancers... couples, wedding dances, etc. So the inexperienced teachers ARE capable of providing an ELEMENTARY basic understanding of the dances, but they are not the ones who have seriously competitive students. But, frankly, franchise studio owners dont really care - the money is with the social dancers.
  3. MissKitty

    MissKitty New Member

    Ahhh I see - that makes more sense now! Thanks for clearing that up! :)
  4. nucat78

    nucat78 Active Member

    I don't know the economics of the situation, but some indy studios focus on social dancers. While there are a few more dedicated dancers who stick around, usually there is a batch of inexperienced "fresh meat" every 3-4 months.
  5. nucat78

    nucat78 Active Member

    Saw a "plan" done by a Certified Financial Planner yesterday. A nice, thick binder of material that anyone with a basic finance class under their belt could put together for FREE using Internet resources. This individually typically charges around $2,000 for such a plan - that's quite a few private lessons.. ;)

    But I digress...
  6. TinyDancer109

    TinyDancer109 Well-Known Member

    that may be the case, i was just answering MissKitty's question as it pertained to franchise studios.
  7. Bailamosdance

    Bailamosdance Well-Known Member

    I disagree. A beginning teacher has the same issues that a beginning dancer has - among which are the concept that it is a series of 'steps' that, once memorized, is considered dancing. By the time the 6 week wonder realizes how to properly start a student in dance, he may have to stick around for a few years. By that time he has churned through hundreds of folks who either clomp around doing variations of the 'magic box' or give up dance entirely. The scary part is that the students never get the advantage of either dancing with nor getting instruction from a real dancer; also, they compare the rudimentary dancing of the wonder to the local guy at the social and decide that the local is either good (ha ha) or that the local is at the highest level that they will ever dance (ha ha ha).
  8. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    same could be said of amateurs that teach... never properly trained in the art of teaching and breaking down info...

    At least a teacher at a franchise, even at a few weeks, is put through HOURS AND HOURS of mock teaching situations, mans part, ladies part, how to fix this, how to fix that, how to properly count, watch out for this, clean that up quick so it doesn't get worse... Years and Years worth of teaching info properly documented and distilled, passed on, teachers are watched and evaluated, sometimes they even shadow the senior teachers... The very fact that they are hired as teachers means they learn to teach. Their own dancing is not their focus, because they are not dancers who are trying to reverse engineer their own bodies.

    The six-week wonder myth is not as bad as many people would have us think... that is just propaganda meant to dissuade people from going to franchises. Kinda like worms in pork videos, sent out by the beef industry.
  9. TinyDancer109

    TinyDancer109 Well-Known Member

    lol... no, i agree with you... i never said it was a GOOD understanding... just ELEMENTARY and BASIC... such as the basic steps/choreo.
  10. suburbaknght

    suburbaknght Well-Known Member


    Agree with everything Larinda posted. That said, I want to add two points.

    1) The quality of the new teacher is heavily dependent on the training the franchisee or independent owner puts him or her through. A good studio owner knows how to train teachers and dancers, will train the recruit well, and won't let him or her teach until the recruit is ready. The training is intense - the word "grueling" would not be amiss - and can and often does produce teachers who are more than ready to teach beginner dancers.

    2) The recruit who comes out of such a program is by no means done, and he or she is never encouraged to consider his or her training complete. When I completed my initial training and started being passed along newcomers and wedding couples, I was still putting hours in every night and day studying the bronze syllabus, practicing every aspect of dancing and teaching, and trying to improve as a teacher.
  11. TinyDancer109

    TinyDancer109 Well-Known Member

  12. Bailamosdance

    Bailamosdance Well-Known Member

    Agreed, especially if they did not take training for teaching, or at least did not go thru a syllabus course to learn.
  13. I think this analogy is flawed. If you were to translate the pork/beef analogy to the world of ballroom dance, what you are implying is that independent studios (the beef industry) are putting out propaganda (worms in pork videos) trying to dissuade people from going to franchises (the pork industry). I may be totally clueless and wrong here, but I believe that quite of few of the people (including myself) who have made posts discussing 6-week wonders do not work for independent studios.

    I am just merely a student of ballroom dance, and a lowly beginner. I don't claim to know the ins-and-outs of the ballroom dance industry, and I certainly don't claim to know more than someone as well-respected in the ballroom world as you, Larinda. But even in my short time dancing, I myself have seen the 6-week wonder "myth" in action. Of course, this is just one school, and I can only speak of my experiences in that one franchise studio before I left. Maybe that school is some sort of "mythical" school, where 6-week wonders ride pink unicorns in their back office. Either that, or maybe the 6-week wonder myth is not just a myth.
  14. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    I didn't say they don't exist. Heck I was one!!!! I walked in off the street. I was teaching within 2 weeks. I was competing with my first student barely a few months later. And I proudly admit it (wink, wink)

    I said it is not as bad as some people would like everyone to believe... there are plenty people out there that are desperate enough for business that they have to go around knocking the competition anyway they can.
  15. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    One of my first students KNEW my history in teaching was practically nil. He said he gave me a chance because on our first lesson I stopped him in the middle of a pattern and said "something is wrong there, let's work on it." He knew I did not have the answer, but felt I had an understanding of the problem and the desire to sweat it out to work on it. And he said he could tell I cared.

    When someone wants something they will achieve it. I wanted a life in this industry and worked hard to get what I have. If a teacher is crappy it is not because of their background, it is because of the way they operate NOW... not because they were hired as an adult with no dance experience.
  16. tanya_the_dancer

    tanya_the_dancer Well-Known Member

    I'm not sure about that. The ballroom club at our university has 3 levels of group classes and the beginning one is taught by more experienced club members (the ones who's been with the club for a couple of years or more), and for the intermediate and advanced they hired local professionals. So, speaking of the beginning class, the college kids who teach it, aren't that experienced. They have more than 6 weeks of experience, that's for sure, but their experience isn't as concentrated or directed towards knowing how to teach, as they're all working on their university studies as well. But they're doing an OK job with the new kids, it seems. Considering that, theoretically someone who had to cram an intensive course specifically directed at teaching, into 6 weeks, could teach some basics to a brand-new wedding couple or a beginner group class, for example.

    My main objections to the trainee's system is that 1. the price for studio lesson is same regardless of experience 2. they wouldn't necessarily tell new clients about the experience levels. IMV, all that can be addressed with being upfront about experience levels and offering a tiered pricing system based on the experience level.
  17. I also agree that new teachers can teach noob social students or wedding couples without doing harm.

    Yes, but what do you think about the case that you change goals mid-stream and express those needs? The franchise studio that I was at, in hindsight, was clearly a social dance school. But as soon as any student showed any sort of talent, the teachers started "gently encouraging" them to compete. And if you tell them that you consider them to be teachers of social dance, and that you want to go learn competitive dance (or International Style, for that matter) from another teacher/school, they get extremely angry and defensive, even to the point that the owner will force the students out of the school (without refunding the remaining lessons, either).

    I don't fault a school or teacher if the student doesn't make their needs known. But when a school claims that it can meet all the dance needs for all people, as long as you just keep paying them all your money, I think that's just wrong. When I told my teacher that if I were to ever compete, that I would want to compete at open competitions, like OSB, Emerald Ball, Embassy, etc. she told me, "You can't do that with us. But our franchise competitions are a lot of fun! And the people in our competitions are all really friendly, too, unlike those mean, unfriendly, cat-fighting people that compete in open competitions! So just forget about those open comps... and compete at ours instead!"
  18. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Yes to this. I think a newbie ballroom teacher can often (not always; I have examples) teach new students, especially social dance students or wedding couples, what they want to know without doing any harm.

    I think that a big part of the problem is that people (like me, for example) change their goals mid-stream and then blame the dance studio for not meeting unexpressed needs.

    When I started dancing, I was looking to fill an emotional hole in my life by pursuing something I'd always dreamed about. I'd been dancing several months or maybe even a year when I realized that dance achievement and goal-orientation were important to me.

    My goals changed and for quite some time after I left, I blamed the dance studio that helped me achieve what I told them I wanted to achieve. My next teacher had something to do with that, IME. What a judgmental dude he seemed to be (although perhaps he was reflecting to me what I said about my former studio.) Eh. *shrug* But I digress.

    Now, with the benefit of hindsight, I don't think it's my former studio's fault that they couldn't read my mind or stay ahead of the curve of my personal evolution.

    Just sayin.
  19. TangoRocks

    TangoRocks Member

    Inexperienced teachers are not sufficient for the SERIOUS social dancers either, speaking as one. I have never competed, and does not look like I am going to in the foreseeable future, but I do take my dancing seriously and one reason I might be leaving my franchise studio soon is because there are no experienced female professionals left to teach me. Correction, the only female teacher left is a former student, and while she is great dancer and I have danced with her a lot when we were both students, I am not confident I can learn from her, which makes it extremely difficult and frustrating.

    But your last point is bang on--the franchise studio owners really don't care, I am pretty sure the long-time social dancers like me as well as the few competitive dancers who go to franchises are just the frosting on the cake and the studio makes the bulk of its money from wedding couples, and people who take lessons for a few months to a year and then leave. Lots of churn there, and teaching a few basic steps to a wedding couple is probably a lot easier than dealing with full scale choreography and styling/technique for your (few) silver/gold level students.
  20. TangoRocks

    TangoRocks Member

    MDG, what you said happened to a friend of mine, so I know exactly where you are coming from. She actually did franchise competitions, with their inflated price tag, and I am amazed how the franchise lost her to an independent teacher--I mean, she was easily making the studio more money than a few weeks of wedding couples, just by going to a comp for 3 days, you'd think the franchise would do all they could to keep her "in the family." Apparently not...

    I also have personal experience with the studio claiming it could meet all my dance needs--I don't care much for ECS, so I went and took Lindy Hop elsewhere--my private instructor could have taught me Lindy up to a point, but if there is no Lindy played at socials, not a lot of chance to practice it. Other friends of mine have done the same for WCS, Argentine Tango, Quickstep etc, and the studio reacted by putting together "series" classes in some of those dances. Unfortunately, being a franchise and not a specialized AT/WCS/IS shop, their teaching, in my opinion, falls short. I can see the differences between the "real" AT/WCS/Lindy etc as danced by people in those communities versus as danced by franchise-studio series-class students.

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