Ballroom Dance > What makes a dance studio MORE attractive?

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by Dr Dance, Dec 25, 2013.

  1. snapdancer

    snapdancer Well-Known Member

    Along the line of recent comments, good effective communication. I can point to local studios who've lost out on some of my business because they don't keep their website up to date. Why should I have to dig information out of you? Spend 15 minutes a week and keep your website / Facebook page up to date.
  2. debmc

    debmc Well-Known Member

    I like it when the studio brings in top coaches on a regular basis.
    SwayWithMe likes this.
  3. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    I really wish studios had the guts and stability to list who was teaching their groups....b/c I am not going to drive 45 minutes to take a silver class from an instructor who has had less dance education than myself.....this is my pet peeve....if they would list who was teaching and list their coachings on their calendar, I would be much more likely to frequent a local studio
    Dean, llamasarefuzzy, stash and 3 others like this.
  4. s2k

    s2k Well-Known Member

    I wish my studio would take better care of the floor. It doesn't seem to get swept often - there are dust bunnies in the corners; the boards have separated in several places and the gaps are quite wide; some areas of the floor are slick as glass and other parts are sticky. I've danced at this studio 5+ years, and the floor has gotten worse and worse over the years. I'm not sure how one would go about caring for a wood floor, but getting someone in to at least hammer the boards back together would be nice.

    And I agree with other DFers about kids running all over the place when parents are getting lessons. Last week, a kid (maybe 6) got a cup of water, ran with it across the floor, and spilled it all over the floor - which no one noticed but me, and the only reason I noticed is because I'm the one who danced through it. None of the eight instructors on the floor noticed my partner and I, on our hands and knees, using a roll of paper towel to clean it up - including the parents or their instructor. :mad:
    Warren J. Dew and Dean like this.
  5. sbrnsmith

    sbrnsmith Well-Known Member

    It never fails to amaze me when parents are completely oblivious to their child's behavior
  6. IndyLady

    IndyLady Well-Known Member

    I once walked out on a Viennese waltz group before it even started when I discovered that the instructor who would be teaching it was one of the newer ones with significantly less experience than I had, esp wrt VW... yeah, I don't think so. Not wasting 45 minutes on a group to possibly learn a couple patterns that a newbie instructor had just crash-coursed on two hours beforehand. As I was leaving, another instructor asked me why and I explained, and he insisted that she was ready to teach the group. Uh huh.

    Oh, they noticed... they just pretended not to so they wouldn't seem obligated to come help you clean up.
  7. Hedwaite

    Hedwaite Well-Known Member

    Edit 2: Weird. My browser isn't refreshing the threads like it should, so I cut all shenanigans on this one.

    But reading something else made me echo "keep the floor in good shape"- as I've watched our studio's floor go from fantastic to having two large slow-spots over the past several years. I feel both guilty and proud that I've contributed to wearing it down.
  8. Hedwaite

    Hedwaite Well-Known Member

    I normally don't disagree with Indy, and I don't even think I really do now, but as "still new and annoyingly hopeful" instructors, we started teaching due to whatever circumstances more quickly than usual. We trained really hard, we studied a lot of technique, we worked at it, we spent a lot of time learning to teach and focusing on things we could foresee to be challenges, and yes, we are able to demonstrate, explain, and teach a lot of things better than people who have been dancing at the same studio under the same instruction much longer than we have, and this caused some resentment.

    Our instructor explained that a lot of them had been dancing longer than we had, and were upset that they weren't 'where we were', and not to take it personally (they took a group class once a week, came to one party a month, and never practiced. They didn't understand that we were doing the same things we were, PLUS the extra hours, or that maybe WE have things that perpetually haunt us that WE find challenging or impossible to do as well as we'd like with our dancing. ). It's very difficult not to, though. It stings, when you know that if YOU did the same thing to those people "Whatever, can't teach them anything, they've been dancing longer than I have and can't even such and such", they'd flip out.

    Again, I don't know Indy's whole situation- maybe she knew the other instructor personally to be a dud, and it went deeper than the situation I've described. I've stayed in some classes I thought were pretty basic for "Intermediate and Advanced" at various places, and I still took something away from them- even if I didn't learn material, I found a different way of explaining something that worked, or even ways NOT to do something because it didn't. Again, not to be snide, just presenting the other side. (wee, couplet!)
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2014
    IndyLady likes this.
  9. stash

    stash Well-Known Member

    When studios have monthly rates for practice, instead of just hourly rates.
    Sania, Dean and Dancing Irishman like this.
  10. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    there is a difference between a person who has been dancing in a very peripheral way for ten years...taking a private here and there, mostly groups, and barely practicing...and a person who has taken nearly 8 private lessons a week from a high level pro for 10 yea, I don't know indy's situation either but I do know that there are very few instructors in this area from whom a group lesson would not objectively be a waste of my isn't about looking down my nose at them...I have great respect for everyone and where they are in the process...but I am not about to drive 45 minutes to learn from someone I could be teaching just because the studio couldn't be bothered to list their a matter of respect for those considering using their services
  11. Dancing Irishman

    Dancing Irishman Well-Known Member

    If only I could find a studio that did that...though the one my studio coaches at is super casual (honor system with envelopes is how they collect the money for it) so I could probably negotiate with the owner for it if I was of the mind. But for now, free time at my company or apartment complex gym is totally serviceable.
  12. IndyLady

    IndyLady Well-Known Member

    Just for context... I've taken anywhere from 2-6 lessons a week and attended 1-4 parties (both my studio and open dances) a week for the last several years (there have been very few "non-dancing" weeks in that timeframe), so while I have a loooooooooooong way to go, I'm not a fly-by-night student and I can pinpoint someone's level pretty easily. I'm somewhere between the two extremes that fascination describes.

    Hedwaite, you are absolutely right that there are instructors who do surpass students with more experience... I have taken lessons here and there with some of those instructors, so I don't apply a blanket dismissal of anyone who happens to have less experience than I have. In fact, one instructor who started training shortly after IndyGentleman and I started taking lessons eventually became one of our instructors, and IG still takes lessons from her. However, I get around a lot, with both instructors and dance partners, so I think it's fair to state that I've got a pretty decent handle on who is qualified to teach me and who is not, and when interactions creep into the "trying too hard and not appropriate for her level" territory.

    The situations I referred to have both involved either a very new instructor or one that I knew was not ready to teach an advanced dance... the "you have great timing" came from someone who just showed up at the studio a couple weeks ago. Although he clearly has prior experience, and maybe more than I am giving him credit for, well, I've danced with a lot of men, and he's got more work to do than I do right now. And let's be honest, no advanced pro is ever going to tell an intermediate/advanced student "you have great timing" during a social dance to pump up their ego - that's like saying, hey you did a good job getting dressed today (though maybe some day if I am in a nursing home someone will say that to me and I will be eating these words). On the VW group - when I showed up for that group, I had already previously done a VW Showcase with an advanced pro and had patterns and technique nitpicked... so I was not about to stay in the hopes that I might pick up some small tidbit of wisdom from someone who had probably collectively done 60 minutes of VW in her training so far... Hedwaite, I'm pretty sure you are well beyond the level of instructor I am thinking of.

    And I am projecting my own current situation onto all this.... time is at a premium and I'm not willing to throw money around like confetti, so I've become extremely choosy about how I'm willing to spend that time and money (I have been more casual in the past), so I need to come away thinking that was 45 minutes well-spent, not "well, at least I wasn't watching TV". I quit going to group classes about two years ago for this reason.

    Which brings me back to the thread topic, and apologies if this was already mentioned, but I do (did?) like it when group class levels are "enforced"... too many people in upper level groups who can't really handle the material, but are there by virtue of tenure, and it slows down the group and wastes people's time. Not only because the instructor often has to slow down the pace, but if my partner is one of those who can't handle the figure, then my time is spent trying to help him or adjust to his inability to lead the figure instead of really practicing it.
    nikkitta likes this.
  13. Bailamosdance

    Bailamosdance Well-Known Member

    "And let's be honest, no advanced pro is ever going to tell an intermediate/advanced student "you have great timing" during a social dance to pump up their ego"

    Hmmm… actually, that is EXACTLY what is said when approaching potential new students by a teacher.
  14. IndyLady

    IndyLady Well-Known Member

    OK, I just realized I referred to something in a different thread ("silly things non-dancers say") - so sorry if none of that makes sense about the timing compliment I should probably go back to bed. Or impose a "no weekend posts before 10 am" rule for myself.:oops:
    Bailamosdance likes this.
  15. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    most advanced pros that I know of feel no need to troll for new students at socials...and most advanced students know when they are having smoke blown up their butts for business purposes
  16. RiseNFall

    RiseNFall Well-Known Member

    I know that I am very fortunate. I have switched studios once, when my teacher moved out of state. I had taken some lessons with my new teacher before the previous one left so it was an easy transition. He worked for a "sister" studio which he has since bought with another teacher. Here are some of the things I like about the studio that I dance at:
    • High level instruction… and all of the teachers are working on their own dancing with top-level coaches. The owners are particularly advanced and that helps the continual improvement of the others. The instruction is pretty consistent because the owners work with the other teachers regularly as well, but it isn't "cookie cutter". The teachers have their own way of explaining concepts and approaching material.
    • Frequent top-level visiting coaches (only distressing because the number is beginning to outstrip my dance budget so I have to make choices).
    • A nice set of classes--including one which I realize many wouldn't consider attending: Country & Western partner and line dances. (It's a lot of fun having a more relaxed dancing outlet.) The teacher of a class isn't published on the calendar, but if you are in the studio it's easy to look at the detailed schedule and find out--or call/text/e-mail.
    • I don't know how they have managed it, but the entire studio is filled with a very nice bunch of people: very low on drama. I think part of it is that everybody is very fond of the owners and the other teachers so behavior that would be detrimental to their business (or stress level) is frowned upon. If other students won't get involved in the weird stuff that can go on in a studio, there's no incentive to do it.
    • No little kids running around on the floor; the ones who sometimes come are more than well behaved and supervised. Down right charming, actually. (I wouldn't have even thought of this as an issue if it hadn't been raised so many times.)
    • If you are student there, you are welcome to use the floor for practice anytime they are open.
    • Good communication (wasn't always as true, but they have the staff now to take care of it): Facebook, e-mails, website.
    • My teacher knows my budget and we worked together to decide how to spend it. (And he knows that I had an absurd number of house hold repairs this year and that my dance budget might have to be cut if something else goes wrong… we decided how to prioritize what would stay and what would go if that happens). Complete transparency in all pricing and zero pressure to spend over my budget. From what I have seen, that is how all of the students are treated by all of the teachers.
    • While it is a franchise studio, they like to take students to non-franchise competitions as well…and price it accordingly (i.e., try to keep it as affordable as pro-am competitions can be, plus, there are usually several students going so that keeps the price down too).
    • On the rare occasion that something happens in the studio that I am unhappy about, we have a frank conversation about it. As a business owner, he appreciates that I tell him and it is always a professional conversation (no defensiveness or crankiness on either side).
    I know that some of this will not last forever…there will be students that potentially detract from the atmosphere, but don't quite cross the "not worth the business" line; they will hire some new teacher who doesn't work out so well (it happens), or who knows what. But boy, I am really enjoying it in the meantime. I think when the culture in a studio is so positive, it is easier to keep it that way than it is to fix a negative situation. It isn't the closest studio to me, and I do have to drive 35-45 minutes to get there, but the extra distance is well worth it (and, I realize, minimal compared to how far some of you have to go).
    Sania, IndyLady and fascination like this.
  17. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    sounds great
  18. IndyLady

    IndyLady Well-Known Member

    Studios that practice what they preach. Example of how this does *not* work:

    Received a mass e-mail today from studio, a very long-winded "memo" that was basically a reminder of the 24-hour cancellation policy (which leads me to believe this must be a problem right now).

    Same day, my husband receives a call about an hour before his lesson that the instructor has to cancel. Upon further investigation, it is not because of illness/emergency, there is some other studio meeting thingy (not a regular occurrence) that was running over.

    Um, ok.
    Hedwaite likes this.
  19. Hedwaite

    Hedwaite Well-Known Member

    You know what I like? When studios are on top of their custodial duties.
    I don't like opening the front door to a studio and being smacked in the face with what smells like buttermilk and cadaver. Take out your mother#$%&ing bathroom and kitchen trash. Like, every day.
  20. Dancing Irishman

    Dancing Irishman Well-Known Member

    Sad that you need to tell businesses that compete on aesthetics this...

    In other news, I've discovered the second studio in my area without a working drinking fountain...and this one doesn't even have a front desk to hawk bottled water! How do dancers put up with this? Granted, the two studios in question have without a doubt the nicest floors and practice setup in the area, but still...really?
    Hedwaite likes this.

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