Ballroom Dance > In the relationship between teacher and student, where is the line of professionalism drawn?

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by LordBallroom, Apr 26, 2013.

  1. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    Does anyone remember the Seinfeld episode where he hired a maid and started sleeping with her?
  2. dbk

    dbk Well-Known Member

    Honestly, if it's handled tactfully and no one is taken advantage of (yes, that is a LOT of "ifs") I don't think it's necessarily unprofessional to start a romantic relationship with a dance student. Of course, that usually means taking yourself out of the role of 'teacher,' preferably finding them someone else to take lessons with. And IMO it's really not a good idea unless they could be, y'know, "the one".

    I also don't think it's unprofessional to see students socially, either - especially if you are in a similar age group. But again, it takes tact, and it needs to be in an environment where everyone understands that it's not "special treatment" and no one is entitled to anything. That environment varies from studio to studio, and is difficult to change.

    IMO it's very similar to social relationships in an office environment... just more complicated, since some students feel entitled (they are paying you) and some teachers take advantage of the student/teacher imbalance. But I don't think it's impossible, or inadvisable, to be sociable as long as everyone can respect boundaries. For some studios, some teachers, some students, etc., that's just not possible; for others, it is.
    Olga Y, Loki, Gorme and 2 others like this.
  3. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    What dbk said.
  4. LordBallroom

    LordBallroom Member

    Here's a question, how is the teacher/student relationship in a ballroom studio so much different from a doctor/patient relationship? Most doctors would dream of socializing with their patients. Is it because the matters that doctors deal with situations that often pose immediate danger to their patient's lives whereas a dance instructor is a service industry professional?
  5. SwayWithMe

    SwayWithMe Well-Known Member

    LOL I think my doctor husband would beg to differ about dreaming of socializing with his patients...
  6. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    Err...what? why would "most" doctors dream of socializing with their patients? It's not really any different. I doubt most people socialize with their clients in any industry, doctors included. I do socialize with my dentist, but only because I knew him as a dancer before I was his patient and even if I didn't, it would be impossible not to since we're part of the same community. I would not want to see my gynecologist socially. I do not see my writing clients socially, unless a friend asks me to do something for them.
  7. LordBallroom

    LordBallroom Member

    I meant to say "wouldn't." where the hell is the editing feature?

  8. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    LOL that makes much more sense. I think the difference is that dance teachers spend a lot more time with their clients...most people don't see their doctor once or more per week. You also don't press yourself up against your doctor and create beautiful art together.
    middy likes this.
  9. flightco

    flightco Well-Known Member

    I have been wondering about this, why it is so different with dance instructors and I think you have nailed it. I used to ride motorcycles with my Orthopedic Surgeon (thinking back on it, not a bad idea) and went on week-end hang gliding trips with my GP, this could have been weird (all you guys know about the turn your head and cough things and even worse...) but it wasn't, never even crossed my mind. I have customers who I go to their house and they come to mine, again don't see an issue with it. Although I have never thought about doing anything outside of dancing with my instructor, I can't see anything weird about it but maybe it is because I am so much older than her (and the fact that what we are doing would not be confused as beautiful art - yet).
  10. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    I think dancing with someone one's own age can be a complicating factor, if other conditions also incline one
  11. DL

    DL Well-Known Member

    (I am not a physician but based on personal interactions with them I opine anyway: )

    There is an aspect of the medical profession in which doctors and patients have close personal relationships in day-to-day life. Indeed, there in fact is (or at least can be) value for clinicians in the long-term trust and intimacy that goes with such relationships. AFAICT it's something of an anachronism in the modern western medical age; but I expect that it's not entirely extinct, perhaps particularly in rural areas (a suggestion for which I do not have supporting data).

    Tangentially, I wonder how much history of science and history/tradition of medicine are emphasized in contemporary med school curricula. My own anecdotal observation suggests: not much; and if that's true it's a pity.

    There is a certain *potential* depth, not always realized, to doctor-patient relationships that I think does not translate intact to the teacher-student relationship in the dance world.


    Nonetheless, dance students learn to dance in the context of the lives they live. I imagine that dance teachers hear more than might naively be supposed about those lives; and sometimes become part of them either romantically or not. Furthermore, personal connections can strengthen student-teacher relationships -- and not just in dancing. Surely it's not unprofessional to take that path to being an effective teacher! Of course one sees a conflict of interest minefield in matters of payment, romantic interest, and authority. It seems like an easy line to draw for any particular circumstance; but difficult to draw in abstract terms.
  12. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    thing is....I also don't expect to have a good time at the doctor's office...I don't go to the doctor as a continual frequent part of my life...they are different situations...imv
    SwayWithMe and flightco like this.
  13. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    There just isn't the emotional connection you have with dance.

    I do have several students as facebook friends, though, and chat about non-dance topics.
  14. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    ooo but...

    After having moved and getting new insurance, new doctors, and time to check out stuff that I never bothered to before... I was at the health complex in town getting all sorts of tests and xrays done. And across the four days within two weeks I was there I saw LOTS of the same people just hanging around. Some of them desperate for anyone to talk to. I can imagine how, especially for an older lonely person, having doctors visits actually ensures a fair amount of human interaction. I would probably not be amiss in the assumption that a fair amount of "ailments" are made-up or atl least exaggerated. Complaining and having someone actually listen to them is probably a big part of why they are there!!
    twothreefourone likes this.
  15. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    true...lord knows, especially in a smaller town and with folks whose lives may be winding down or at least waning a bit (you can see that with the postman or the grocery clerk)...and, while I don't take those attachments and complexities lightly, I find that rarely does an "emotional infidelity" beyond a one way attachment bloom out of that sort of least not when there is a significant age differential...doesn't make it easy or okay, but possibly less likely to materialize in other ways...and, I can pay to see my pro 8 hours a week, most weeks of the year...I think it would take some real skill to drum up a valid excuse to see the same physician that often :) ...not disputing that it happens though
  16. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    There is a name for that. Munchausen Syndrome (making up or exaggerating to get attention and/or sympathy, and it can be hard to differentiate from hypochondria where the person's genuinely convinced they're sick) and Munchausen by proxy (making up, exaggerating, or actively injuring/hurting a child to garner sympathy and attention.)

    And for the elderly, a lot of times medical and service personnel are the only ones they have to talk to.
    Loki likes this.
  17. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    hey, I know some teachers who have no social interactions other than their students as well...cuts both we become more insular, the things we substitute for quality relationships simply happens...because we are relational creatures....
  18. LordBallroom

    LordBallroom Member

    What about the relationship between a therapist and their patient? They might meet more than once a week, with a deep emotional trust being built between them, and yet I'm guessing most therapists refuse to hang out with their patients. Why is that so much different than dance instructors and students?
  19. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    therapists, at least in private setting, don't usually meet more than once a week, the trust is generally not mutual, and there is no touch...different...additionally, patients don't usually come in expecting to have fun, rarely get told what they want to hear...and the therapist is very likely not in a financially dependent posture
  20. Cal

    Cal Well-Known Member

    People go to physicians and therapists because they are ill, injured or need some other kind of medical advice and they are probably very worried. A very big difference is that physicians have licenses to maintain and have ethics boards to answer to. They take oaths - I know that many people will scoff at that, but the physicians that I know take those oaths seriously. And the physicians that I know take licensure very seriously too. So a physician or therapist, well, they have patients, rather than customers.
    SDsalsaguy, fascination and flightco like this.

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