Ballroom Dance > Your first dance teacher

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by chomsky, Aug 31, 2011.

  1. dancerdol

    dancerdol Member

    Kira196 - your post breaks my heart because this happens more often then it should in ballroom dance. Especially at the large studios where pros aren't independent and they have to share income. I'm glad that you did get to experience USDC and that you are continuing to dance.

    Welcome to Dance Forums. I think you will find this is a supportive community.
  2. toothlesstiger

    toothlesstiger Well-Known Member

    I find it interesting that it is overwhelming ladies addressing this topic. Is it that ladies are more inclined to become attached to their first teacher?

    I was very annoyed when I got handed off from a "front-office" teacher to a "regular" teacher at my first studio. And in an odd turn, I got assigned to two teachers at that point.

    I never really got a sense that my teachers were all that invested in me. So that helped me to avoid excessive attachment to my teachers. But I also found that it took me a few lessons to train a teacher to teach me the way I wanted to be taught. ;-) So that made me reluctant to switch teachers.

    I have a feeling that attachment and trust are going to be a considerably stronger issue for followers that dance pro-am, am I wrong?
  3. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    I can't speak to anything other than pro-am because that is all I have danced...but if I were to speculate on it, I would say that the reason why pro am ladies happen to be the majority of people posting, could be for the following reasons which might not apply to everyone who posted but have been factors for people I know personally.

    I think plenty of pro couples become attracted to one another, plenty of am couples as am students dance with their teachers, it is physical...attachment or even attraction can happen...particularly when the two are together several hours a week and when the student is new and not anticipating this possibility...if this happens more with women than men, which I am not convinced is the case, it is simply because there are more lady pro-ammers, and possibly because women are more likely to tie emotional attachment to physical intimacy, and even potentially because female instructors are sometimes more likely to be cautious about this....but I have seen many a female instructor on the recieving end of unwanted bouquets and disappointed male students...I have always been of a mind that there should be a surgeon general's notice that is distributed to new pro am dancers about the addictive nature of dancing with someone that much better than yourself, along with the potential financial and emotional side effects.... :)
  4. freeageless

    freeageless Active Member

    TT, I think that men are equally as likely as women to be attrached to their partners or teachers. I don't think that they are as likely to admit it, even on a forum, where nobody knows who they are as women are. ;)
  5. kira196

    kira196 New Member

    Attraction was never the case in my experience as I would never be my former instructor's 'type', if you know what I mean. I was not in love with him, I was not attracted to him. And as far as attachment goes, I could not say this was the case either. As I mentioned earlier we were to do USDC together. But what I didn't mention was that this was to be our last performance together. I was going to move on to another teacher the very next week. My former instructor was going to do other things in the studio. I was okay with moving on. I had a few lessons with two new teachers so it wasn't like I was overly attached. My disapointment was in the fact that he just couldn't wait until after the competition. He failed to fulfill his obligations to myself and another student. Anyone can leave a job. We all have done this for various reasons. If he had come to me and said, "hey I'm going to be leaving in a few weeks. But we're going to have a blast at USDC." I would have been sad to see him go, but I would have gotten him a card and said a proper goodbye. He chose to deny us the pleasure of wishing him luck in his new job. I feel I am owed an apology and if I ever see him at future comps it will be awkward. I didn't do anything wrong but I will feel strange not being able to speak to him. I often wonder if he feels he did the right thing or if he has any regrets. I may have to wait a long time for those answers but until then I will still continue to love ballroom dancing and will look towards the future.
  6. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member I said, attraction is not everyone's experience, perhaps not even attachment (though I do see that in most pro-am relationships) just addressing the things I have seen and the comments that have been made about attachments of whatever kind...

    but, IMO, in your scenario, you are correct in thinking that you deserve an apology, it was a really crappy exit...usdc is a major comp that most students take seriously at pay through the nose to attend... and at a week before the comp, with no real option for a refund, it was an out and out stupendously crappy thing for him to do...I have had similar issues in my past...suffice it to say that there is a professional way to end things and professionals should ascribe to that...I am sorry for your experience...and I hope that you have the good fortune of moving on to someone who has a better ethic
  7. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    probably this as's nothing that any of us is particularly proud of
  8. dancerdol

    dancerdol Member

    Sigh. I really didn't want to write this post but, reality check of our industry is needed. There have been a number of books written about the history of the pro/am ballroom industry that illustrate how the "attraction" component has been woven into the very nature of the business in the US from the Arthur Murray days. We've all seen, known or been (ahem - guilty) the lonely heart who is going through a divorce, or the older gentleman coming back on dating scene, or the woman in her 40's in a bad or souless marriage, or the woman trying to regain her youth, beauty, or vitality after an illness or depression. We're human. We're vulnerable.
    This industry - including the dress designers who charge $4,000 for the "winning" look - encourage some level of neediness. This is how some of the challenges happen when a pro/am student - male or female begins to spend hours and hours every week with a pro teacher. Look at how many marriages, affairs, etc. happen in ballroom and how many marriages have broken up from teachers dating students.
    It's a fine line most pros walk when they work for a studio that has sales meetings with them and tells them a weekly quota for lessons and comps. These same studios charge a great deal extra for participating in comps then an independent pro charges. Something a good friend of mine discovered when she left a major chain.
    When you start lessons you are encouraged to compete. Why? Because you are that awesome? Um. No. Because competitions mean more lessons and more income for pros and studios. Some studios like the Freds have two instructors to keep you from forming a bond in case a pro leaves - you won't follow and lose the studio income.

    However, there are many many "good guys" male and female pros who care the most about the true spirit of dancing and who are dedicating their lives to teaching dance at a high level. There are also many pro/am dancers who come toballroom dance from a love of dance and not to replace something missing in their lives. I am not judging or generalizing - just bringing into the discussion the fact that there are people in any field who will take advantage of the vulnerable for financial gain. In ballroom we just sometimes dress this up with swarovski crystals and fantasy.
  9. toothlesstiger

    toothlesstiger Well-Known Member

    OK, that may explain it, that men are more reluctant to admit attachment. And other factors come to mind now, as well, including the fact that, as far as I can tell, there are a lot more pro-am partnerships with the student as the follower than the other way around.
  10. bia

    bia Well-Known Member

    I obviously know nothing about the situation, but I wonder if he had complete control over the manner and timing of his leaving. From other threads here, I know that some studios don't tolerate a long goodbye -- as soon as they know that an instructor plans to leave, that instructor is out the door. So I could imagine that your teacher may have been planning to stick around through USDC and was keeping his plan to leave quiet from everyone at the studio, including his students. And then he didn't keep it quiet enough, and management found out, and told him to get out right away. In that case, he wouldn't have been able to contact you through the studio to explain or apologize, though it certainly would have been better for him to find a way to do it through non-studio channels. Anyhow, this is complete supposition on my part, and there are all kinds of other possibilities -- maybe he's just a jerk, maybe he wasn't planning to leave at all but was fired for some reason, maybe maybe maybe. And it doesn't change the effect on you, whatever the full story is. But I just wanted to throw out the idea that there may be more to the story.
  11. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    those are very good points...and I'll tell you, I'd be hopping mad if it was the studio...given what an investment usdc is...however it shook out, arrangements should have been made that left that student in a better circumstance...very very unfortunate...and regardless of the circumstances, i would find it hard to beleive that the instructor didn't have his studnt's phone number to at least say "I can't discuss the details but I am very sorry"
  12. toothlesstiger

    toothlesstiger Well-Known Member

    @dancerdol, I guess I have had a sheltered existence when it comes to dance. I've thought about your post a bit. This in the light of the first studio I learned at, which was very large. The part about encouraging participation in events is certainly true, but it was not external competitions, it was strictly internal showcases and medal balls. As far as praying on vulnerability, hmm, the most popular male teachers were very clearly not interested in women off the dance floor. And where I am now, the most popular male teacher is too much a little boy in his behavior to be exploiting such vulnerabilities.

    So, I find I agree with you in principle, but when I examine my experience, it doesn't seem to match up.
  13. kira196

    kira196 New Member

    Unfortunately, his leaving was just as much of a surprise to the manager as it was to me. I can only go on what I was told but the boss was shocked, his co-workers were shocked and hurt and it was a surprise to everyone involved. Thursday we worked together and talked about squeezing in a couple of more practice time. Monday he calls off. Tuesday he sends an email saying he's not coming back. And in seven days is USDC. The manager did offer me a refund but I wanted to dance. And my new instructor stood up and offered to dance with me. He didn't have to but he has a lot more honor than my former teacher. I wish I knew more if there was more to the story. But I'll never know. But it was a shock to all.
  14. kira196

    kira196 New Member

    @fascination- We've had each others cell numbers since almost the beginning. When I was told that Tuesday night I contacted him via text and he ignored it. So, he has no interest in explaining himself to me...
  15. dancerdol

    dancerdol Member

    Hi Toothless Tiger - I must sound cynical but, it's the exact opposite. I've seen some of the worst of the ballroom industry and some of the best. I'm glad to hear that you have had a good experience. I'm in a city where there are lots of folks who aren't always on the up and up. It was eye-opening for me when I learned more of the sordid back story of pros I admired.

    In response to Kira196 - wow. That must hurt that he didn't even return your text and it might always be a mystery why he left the way he did.
  16. toothlesstiger

    toothlesstiger Well-Known Member

    Actually, I'm a very cynical guy. ;-) I was actually surprised when I looked back on my experience and it was not as bad as I expected. I always plan for the worst in people.
  17. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    i don't doubt your experience at all...but I will say that "little boy behavior" is often moth to a flame for many women
  18. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    ant this is "little boy " at best and "bum" at worst
  19. DanceMentor

    DanceMentor Administrator

    I finally found my first dance teacher on Facebook. She doesn't seem to be dancing anymore, nor my second dance teacher. :)
  20. debmc

    debmc Well-Known Member

    Kira196, too bad you can't sue him for breach of contract (verbal or written) for bailing on you one week prior to the comp. In the medical profession, the providers of care are held accountable, not just to their own personal ethics but to the very real possibility of a lawsuit if they "do harm". To me, bailing on a student a week prior to a very important comp is harmful behavior. Regardless, if/when you see him again at a future comp, he is the one that should feel uncomfortable, not you. Sounds like a cliche.. but just hold your head up high and tell him he's lucky you didn't sue him! :)

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