Franchise Experiences

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

  1. DanceMentor

    DanceMentor Administrator

    What is a singular, monolithic referent?

    Sounds like something out of 2001 a Space Oddysey. :tongue:
    (sorry to get off topic)
     
  2. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    Sorry for slipping into "academese" (I'm grading some make-up finals at the moment, so that just sort of slipped out I guess). I was trying to point out that the term "contract," as it was being used here, did not just mean one large thing but, rather, actually included a range of related concepts and practices.
     
  3. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Here's a little more perspective on the franchise thing. Bear in mind that my experience is limited to one franchise, and one independent studio, so the observations I make may not be representative of everything out there.

    At the franchise studio I attended, I ran into a very proprietary attitude from instructors, particularly since I was one of their best customers. My first instructor claimed me as "his" student and got very testy at the very suggestion I might want to take lessons with anyone else, whether for women's styling, or to broaden my knowledge of dances he didn't know.

    Also at the same studio, students who had the most junior of teachers were charged the same rate as those taking lessons with the most experienced instructors, which I find to be ridiculous. $100 an hour for a teacher who just started dancing six weeks ago and just completed training? Absurd, but that's how they did it.


    Also, be cautious about the "extras" making dance lessons a better value. Not necessarily. Do the math, if you're taking multiple lessons per week. The "value" of group lessons and practice parties diminishes quickly when spread over two or more lessons per week.
     
  4. msc

    msc New Member

    It sort of depends on your level too. The more advanced you become, the more value you'll get out of lessons with advanced instructors. I kind of hate to say this, but I probably learn more in an hour from my current instructor than I've learned in 20 with previous ones. Even if they're more expensive, they're worth it. $100 usually buys an hour from a really good instructor around here, and there are many fairly experienced instructors whose time can be purchased at around the $50-$65 /hr range, depending on the dance.
     
  5. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Hey msc,


    Same experience here. My early lessons were fun, but had very little value, comparatively speaking. Now, I take far fewer lessons, but learn much more. Who would have thought?
     
  6. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    Yup...price and value are two discrete things! They overlap at times, but that doesn't make them synonymous.
     
  7. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Franchise Thread -- One More Time!

    It looks like the entire franchise experiences thread disappeared yesterday. :cry: I certainly can't recreate it, because it was pages long. But I can remember the conversation from yesterday.

    My first post stated that franchise studios carry an extra burden of high overhead. They have to pay franchise fees, salaries for larger staffs, pay for training programs, etc. All overhead. Independent studios, on the other hand, can cut out much of that overhead, so can often afford to charge lower prices.

    SDsalsaguy responded by wondering why bother going to a franchise, if they charge such high prices. What is their value.

    I'm going to respond with two posts, since they are on opposite sides of the issue.

    Post one:

    Franchise studios offer a lot of value to their students. At least, the studio where I started did. It was a fun-loving place that made dance accessible to me and many other people. That studio and its staff got me from terrified to dancing. I really doubt that I'd be dancing today if I had started out in the "real world" of ballroom dance. Not always a friendly place. But the franchise studios work had to create an atmosphere of support and friendship. They provide ample opportunities to perform in a supportive environment. They give safe, and fun, practice parties. They provide groups classes, often multiple group classes, nightly. They have large staffs with a variety of dance backgrounds.

    The only reason I left my franchise studio is because I outgrew them, from a technical perspective. If it weren't for that, I'd still be there, salesmanship nonsense and all.

    Post two comes next!
     
  8. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    On the other side of the coin, there's this. (Oops! I just thought of post three. :lol: )

    Franchise studios are in the business of selling lessons, not necessarily providing their students value, nor necessarily teaching them to dance. There are some exceptional studios out there that do both, I admit.

    But let me tell you a scary story that one of my former franchise teachers told me. He had been teaching about six months when the studio's medal ball came around. On the day of the medal ball, the senior male teacher from that studio got into an argument with the manager and quit. Since the medal ball was on a Friday, the following Monday, he, with a total of six months in ballroom dance, was assigned to take over all of the senior teacher's former students, some of whom had been doing social ballroom dance for fifteen or twenty years, and were at gold and supreme gold levels. :shock:

    What do you call that?
     
  9. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Okay. Here's post three, then I'm done for now. Sorry. I have strong opinions on the franchise issue! :lol:

    Here's the thing. Independent teachers have to train somewhere, and they have to make a living while they're learning to teach. Whether you agree with it or not, many now-excellent independent teachers got their beginning training at a franchise. And franchises, for the most part, do have very good training programs.

    What do you think about this issue? The issue of new, inexperienced teachers being paid to teach dance? Are the students being short-changed?
     
  10. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    Re: Franchise Thread -- One More Time!

    Ooops. I'm afraid I wasn't clear if this is what you read my post as saying. :(

    Rather, what I intended was to say that if -- as your first post specified -- price wasn't something working for the franchises, what were the values? Same content I admit, but a very different tone. My original post in the long thread, for instance, did recognize the atmosphere of the franchise comp., etc.
     
  11. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Point taken, SD. Tone is everything, and so hard to read in an electronic format. I've gotten WAY dependent on emoticons for that reason. Thanks for the clarification. :D

    Jenn
     
  12. DanceMentor

    DanceMentor Administrator

    ...and it's always good to get references from outside sources.
     
  13. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    True. References are a good way to make sure you're getting quality and value. And also make sure you know your own goals. Social dance and exhibition style dance are two different things, so before choosing a studio (or as soon as you can), decide what you want. This will prevent misunderstandings and disappointments.
     
  14. MissAlyssa

    MissAlyssa New Member

    weeeeeeeeell, I have to admit that I'm biased. I remember I posted this in the other franchise thread but I'm going to reitterate (sp?).

    I am currently employed as a dance instructor in a franchised studio (for those of you that don't know) and I can honestly say I LOVE IT and I agree with both sides of what Pygmalion had to say.

    Side 1:
    Franchises do have a very friendly and warm atmosphere (not saying that independent studios don't), in fact, my studio's motto is "the most friendliest place in town". (know what studio that is..?? :) Franchises try really hard to get new students over their fears of dancing, and try really hard to make them comfortable in their surroundings. Eventually the studio, teachers and students, become one big family where everyone knows everyone else. Franchises also have a GREAT training program that helps the teachers excell to the next level at a quick pace so everyone will be on the same level. For example, my studio is working as we speak to certify every instructor in the bronze level. I could say more but it's time for...

    Side 2:
    Franchises do have higher tuitions than independent studios because of mass advertising etc. This is not necissarily all bad and I'll tell you why...in a franchise setting it may be easier to socialize and dance socially with other students at your level (compared to going out to a club/bar and dancing with someone random) which gets students more comfortable with social dancing. In franchises it's true, not all teachers are trained as "technical" instructors but that's not all bad because each teacher isn't the same. Some instructors are "advanced instructors" that teach the higher level students and some (the newer teachers) are "enrollment specialists" (or whatever the titles may be named) that deal with new students. At franchises a student may have 2 or 3 instructors at any given time (if not more). This way instructor 1 can teach steps, instructor 2 can dance them with the student, and instructor 3 (usually the same sex as the student) can help them out with technique and styling. I do think that one of the franchises bad points is the "p" word..."pressure". Some franchises pressure students very hard into buying. I think this is very foul, especially if an older student is being pressured. On the contrary, advice can be mixed up with "pressure". Some instructors (like myself) want their students to dance to their full potential. They lay out a plan and advise the students on what they think the student should do to further their education.

    I've said enough, my eyes are going blurry. gotta go bye :)
     
  15. MissAlyssa

    MissAlyssa New Member

    I'd like to note that FADS doesn't have binding contracts, they have simple agreements that can be terminated at any time with no excuses.
     
  16. smoothdancingirl

    smoothdancingirl New Member

    why 2 dance for professionals

    As you may notice...the majority of professional teachers (and I mean people that do this for their full time job) are not from the US. Most the people in our profession working here in the are from Europe. Hence all the Slavic sounding names. Anyway ballroom dancing has not been in the past something that children are trained to do in the US. Although this trend is currently changing. And most of the children taking dance are studying ballet, jazz, modern, etc. So that leaves a huge gap when studios are looking for new teachers. They are forced then to either import or train new teachers. Most opt to train people that have a dance background in another form of dance. I personally fell into this catagory. I have been dancing since the age of three, but didn't start training in ballroom until I was 22. So of course their are many professionals like myself that had to start competing some time and some where. I was thankful that when I did start competing that the the franchise I worked for offered a division for new professionals. It really helped build my confidence and helped me become a better teacher. Believe me if I would have had to start competing in Rising Star my first comp I probably would have never started at all. It is not only intimidating to dance against some of those fabulous dancers, but it also takes a certain amount of floor craft. And floor craft unfortunately is something you can only learn by actually dancing on the competition floor. And believe me social parties are like a walk in the park compared to competition. Also some smaller competitions don't offer Rising Star events only Open. And the small independent competitions are the ones you try to tackle after the comfort of your franchise comps. For example the first independent comp I ever competed at only had Open catagory for professionals. My partner and I were dancing right away against some of the top ranked pros like Ben and Shalene Archer. Nerve racking!
     
  17. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    There's another post under articles, I think, that you may want to comment on as well. I think it's called the future of dancesport, or something like that. It talks about potentially changing the rules so that competitors are categorized by dance experience, rather then being given the somewhat arbitrary titles of amateur or professional depending on whether they're being paid, the way things are now.
     
  18. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Re: why 2 dance for professionals

    I've noticed that, as well. It's a totally different world in Europe and other places, where children are trained in ballroom practically from when they can walk. Not like here, where people start as young (or not-so-young :lol: ) adults.

    I wonder why that is?
     
  19. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Re: why 2 dance for professionals

    As soon as I can think of a way to pose the question, I'll set up a thread where you can share some of your competition experiences with us.

    By the way, yay! I'm glad you're here. Welcome to the forums. :D
     
  20. MissAlyssa

    MissAlyssa New Member

    Re: why 2 dance for professionals



    AMEN!
     

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