Studio non-fraternization contracts, protecting whom?


New Member
And for several reasons. My then boyfriend became one of the teachers in my aikido dojo... it was hard. We could not train, but he would be teaching me. You might not do that mistake, but not being teacher and student means fewer chances to mix up the different roles.
The one real concern I have is that once word gets around (and believe me it will) there will be talk. Lots of it. Talk that she's getting preferrential treatment. Talk that she's getting higher scores because of your relationship. Yadda yadda yadda. There is no stopping this, people love to gossip. The more you keep it totally away from the studio, the better for the both of you.

We have a couple of instructors who date at our studio. There is no way I would have known that they were together if someone hadn't told me. They are completely professional when working, and even when out on a studio function, they do not show their relationship at all. The only time I have ever seen them remotely "together" is when a group of us "trusted" students went out with some of the instructors for a purely social night, nothing to do with the studio.

Now while this scenario is two instructors, I would say the ideals are the same. Don't give anyone any reason to perceive any sort of preferential treatment whatsoever. It may not be the end of your career, but it may be the end of any respect you have from your other students.

Good luck with it!! :together:
It depends I guess... I love going out with my students as a group... but am careful abotu geting involved...I don't want to hurt anyone or get hurt... I don't want a bad reputation... I guess I haven't yet found a guy that I really liked among my students... :)
There was a really lengthy debate on this issue on another thread(maybe Sagitta posted the link already? Read up!). I have seen this MANY times in the salsa scene and number one- people find out. Other students KNOW, word gets around. People get jealous. Students quit on you. What I am going to say next is probably some of the best advice I have ever received(although I do not teach dance), and my friend didn't mince words when he said "Don't $hit where you eat!". :?


Active Member
007 said:
i guess more then anything i'm trying to weigh the cost of losing my job to the importance of the girl and having a relationship.
Since she is mature and understands your position and the risk involved, perhaps she could go to another teacher or possibly another studio and stop being your student?

I don't know what the studio guidelines say exactly about getting involved with students, but isn't "keeping things strictly professional in the studio" the same thing as "lying to the studio", if you are seeing your student albeit not openly?
I'd never thoguht stuff like this would be an issue. I think it just happens to be that our teachers are more laid back. My Swing teacher sometimes has her b/f come to be like an aid kind of. I don't know, then again maybe my dance studio is bizarre. :/


New Member
i've been in a few situations around studio's that i've worked in.

one: my gf and i were both instructors at the same studio. this was fairly easy. we both were professional around all students and student functions. we both knew the business and knew how to behave in the best interest of the studio. the relationship lasted 5 yrs with out any studio controversy.

two: gf was instructor at another studio. this relationship had the most controversy. lots of gossip about her leaving her studio and coming to mine or visa versa. bunch of students trying to ride the coat tails of either instructor to gain access to the other for advice or lessons. lots of problems.

three: dated/dating one of my students. after teaching a student for 9 months, knowing the student for about a year. we became "more than friends" and a romantic interest arose. i approached the studio owner and stated my situation and was very clear about what was happening and how it would be treated. everything was professional inside the studio and at studio functions. eventually we left the studio (months later), but not for any reason related to our dating (it was just time to move on).

we are still with each other and talking about marriage.

some stories have a happy ending. :D


New Member
as someone who has been in this situation on the student side, i would say that you should end your professional relationship and see if the romantic part continues.

the feelings a student feels for a teacher always have something to do with the authority the teacher has. that doesn't mean the student isn't thinking for him or herself or is afraid what will happen if they say 'no,' but it does mean that their admiration for your professional role is maybe a factor in their developing romantic feelings.

the fallout from the end of this relationship can be very, very bad.

from my own experience, i have a lot of concerns.. some of which deal with the potential end of the relationship, some of which are immediate.

1. people finding out (inevitable)
2. the way other teachers might feel about me/treat me when they do find out
3. what it would be like if and when the teacher moves on to their next fling with another student, who will probably be a peer of mine
4. both parties' ability to continue working productively at the same studio if and when the relationship goes south
5. impact of the discovery upon my teacher's career/reputation/status at the studio

It's great when you find someone you feel is a soulmate, but I have to say, if you care about her, separate your feelings from your role as a teacher. If the relationship continues for a long time, you can consider working together again in the future.


Well-Known Member
Yes, 008. :) Welcome to df.. Every situation is different, every situation is unique. It's good to be a little more cautious than suffering through the fallout if your job is important to you...
Re: fraternization with students

007 said:
what is everyones thoughts on this subject? do you approve in students and teachers hanging out together? how about if a teacher and a student start dating? i know most studios have very strict guidlines on this subject to protect there "product".
Non-fraternization policies some studios have are similar to non-compete clauses that were common in the dot com world around the turn of the century, prohibiting you from working for a competitor or client for a period of time after quitting your job. These kinds of clauses are typical reactions of clueless busybodies in a litigious atmosphere. They are best ignored, since their legal standing is weak to nonexistent. In general an employer cannot dictate what you do in your spare time as long as it doesn't adversely affect your performance on the job (in the U.S. of A., that is).

Of course, your employer can try to enforce any ridiculous clause you sign--god knows I've seen some amazingly stupid people in the business--and things can get messy for all parties involved, but if they let you go for an illegal reason you can effectively shut down a small company by suing them, so you shouldn't worry about this too much.

Now, on the personal side, my advice is: forget the "I love my studio" line. It's just a job dude. Your personal relationships are by far the most important and most difficult part of this one life you've got. Jobs will come and go, but if you find a person you want to spend a significant part of your life with the last thing you should worry about is what your employer thinks about it. I've had five different employers in the last seven years, and I love what I do. Meanwhile, my wife stood by me through good and bad. Trust me, your job doesn't care about you, no matter how it looks from where you are at the moment.
The test for me would be: Will your relationship survive outside of dancing?

My fiance's ex-wife was a student of his. Turns out all she really wanted was to have a permanent dance partner. When he decided he didn't want to compete anymore, she cheated on him. Total length of marriage = 3 months.

Now take the same person, he has taught me how to dance, and though I DO wish we danced more together, dance is not our life. In fact, it's not even what we usually do for fun together. I usually go to lessons and the club without him. When we do dance together, we have a great time.

The rule I put in place when he's teaching me is that during that time we are TEACHER/STUDENT, not boyfriend/girlfriend. When I'm learning from someone, I want their honest opinions about what I'm doing, I don't want them worrying about hurting my feelings.

BTW, we have been together for over a year and a half, have a beautiful four month old boy together, and we are getting married in Vegas next week.

Good luck - hopefully things will work out for you!
I think the standard non-frat policies/clauses are dumb. I understand the point behind them, but the assumption is that the two will not ever be in the same social circles... and the only way that is likely to happen is if one or both never venture outside of studio for social dancing. I understand that a lot of studios have people, both students and instructors, just like that. I think that is sad.

I dance in social clubs as well as my studio. My students do as well. IT is where I attract most of my students from, and as nice as it is to dance in a familiar and safe environment, lead follow is never truly tested when dancing with class mates, or other students teachers who have all learned from the same people. Part of the joy of social dance is dancing with people from other places, who have different styles and the creation of a unique piece of art that happens when you dance together.

As to the no dating aspect... I firmly agree with. A student/teacher relationship is just not a good power dynamic to base a relationship on. To much chance for abuse.
DanceMentor said:
I had a student come in to take the introductory special, which was 4 half hour lessons. On the second lesson, while I was holding her hand, she was lightly caressing my wrist with her fingers. I couldn't tell whether she was doing this subconciously or on purpose. Either way, I couldn't stop wondering what was going on.

Our studio had a policy that forbid teachers from dating students. This especially applied to private lesson students. Sometimes they would "look the other way" if the student was only enrolled in group lessons. Dating a student who was taking private lessons was strictly prohibited.

On the last lesson it was time to sell her a program. I expressed concern when she told me the private lesons would be difficult to fit into her budget. I told her that maybe group classes might be a good start and then she could add private lessons later. When she got done writing a check for a month of group classes, I asked her out to dinner.

We have been happily married for 3 years (and known each other for 4½ years). :D
WOW!!!!! :shock:

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