General Dance Discussion > Cheaper alternative to private lessons?

Discussion in 'General Dance Discussion' started by Statlady, Oct 19, 2007.

  1. mamboqueen

    mamboqueen Well-Known Member

    She's a very elegant dancer, imo. She's a newscaster in NYC, isn't she? Think I read that in Dancebeat....
     
  2. Me

    Me New Member

    Well, I really think you did a good thing by coming to the DF to ask questions, and I encourage you to continue doing so!

    I should have posted this earlier - USA Dance has a very nice page on starting out as a dancer, and as a link from their page to the FTC Guidelines for ballroom dance: http://www.usabda.org/social_dancers/how_to_get_started/index.cfm

    Some of the guidelines are rather gloom and doom, and do not in any way describe or represent a majority of ballroom studios, but I do think you should read them. I've pasted them below as well.

    Good luck!



    Facts for Consumers from the Federal Trade Commission
    Dance Studios --November 1992

    Although dance lessons may offer opportunities for fun, entertainment, and
    companionship, they also may be more expensive than planned, especially if you
    do not know how to protect yourself against some dance studio sales practices.

    For example, beware of:
    Signing long-term contracts and prepaying thousands of dollars for dance
    lessons or clubs that you may be unable to complete or cancel;

    Signing additional contracts before the current one expires;

    Making large prepayments to studios that may be unable to give refunds should
    they suddenly close or go bankrupt.

    In an effort to make consumers aware of certain sales practices used by some
    dance studios, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has prepared this brochure. It
    also suggests ways in which you can protect yourself.

    Sales Techniques:
    If you are thinking about or are already taking dance lessons, you should
    understand the sales techniques that some dance studios may use to persuade
    you to take lessons, or to take additional lessons.

    Relay Salesmanship: Some studio instructors use the technique of relay
    salesmanship (consecutive sales talks by more than one representative in a single
    day) to try to persuade students to buy lessons or buy more lessons. This tactic
    may put you under heavy pressure to sign a contract, encouraging you to buy
    lessons you may later realize you do not want or cannot afford.

    Overlapping Contracts: Some studio instructors try to convince their students
    during lesson time to sign additional contracts before completing the current
    lessons. In some instances, you may unwittingly be buying additional lessons that
    extend beyond your interest, your physical fitness, or even your life expectancy.

    High-pressure Sales: Some studio instructors, using high-pressure sales tactics,
    exploit student emotions or personal vulnerabilities to oversell lessons.
    Sometimes, when students refuse to buy additional prepaid lessons, instructors
    will neglect them in classes, embarrass them in public, or transfer them to a less
    skilled instructor.

    Precautions:
    Awareness about the possible use of these sales techniques can help you avoid
    potential problems. In addition, you may avoid some potential problems if you
    comparison shop for dance lessons.
    Finally, before signing or renewing a contract for dance lessons, consider taking
    the following measures.

    Pay in advance for only a certain number of lessons to see if you like them. You
    may get a discount if you make a large prepayment on a long-term contract, but it
    will have little value if later you are unable to take the classes, you want to cancel
    them, or the studio closes before your lessons are completed. At this time, only a
    few states require studios to post bonds to protect consumers' prepayments.

    Insist that the following items are clearly stated in writing:
    any oral promises;
    the cost per hour of private and group lessons;
    your cancellation and refund rights; (These are important in case you change your
    mind about lessons, move, or become ill.)
    any prepayment protections, if required by state law.

    You can ask about these important items when you comparison shop.

    Do not sign a contract immediately, especially if you have concerns about the
    stability of the studio or are asked to prepay a large amount of money for a
    lifetime membership, an exclusive club membership, or dance cruise offer.
    Take
    time to think about the matter and talk it over with a friend, a family member, or an
    attorney.
    Even if your contract offers you a refund or cancellation option, you may
    be unable to get your money back if the studio closes or its refund check
    bounces.
    Prepay only as much as you can afford to lose if the studio closes.

    As an additional precaution, you might wish to contact your local or state
    consumer protection office to learn what rights you may have under local or state
    law with regard to maximum costs for contracts, cancellation and refund rights,
    studio bonding requirements, and a " cooling off" period, which may give you a
    few days to reconsider your decision after you sign your contract. Also, by
    contacting your local Better Business Bureau office, you may be able to learn if
    there are any current complaints registered against the dance studio you are
    considering.

    Complaints:
    If you have a problem with a dance studio and cannot resolve it, send a letter
    describing your complaint to your local or state consumer protection agency and
    your local Better Business Bureau. (Check your phone directory for addresses.)
    Also, send a copy of your letter to: Correspondence Branch, Federal Trade
    Commission, Washington, D.C. 20580. Although the FTC generally cannot
    intervene in individual disputes, the information you provide may indicate a
    pattern of possible law violations requiring action by the Commission.
     
  3. star_gazer

    star_gazer Active Member

    You mentioned that you went to BYU. Well, they have two great 5-day summer adult ballroom dance camps that are very reasonable. And by summer you'll probably need a break from the twins (been there..done that)
     
  4. Statlady

    Statlady New Member

    Oooh, thanks for the suggestion, star_gazer. I didn't know that!
     
  5. Statlady

    Statlady New Member

    Me - Thanks so much for posting those guidelines. The one thing I will make sure to do that I might not have thought of is find out what happens if I need to cancel the contract or if the studio goes out of business. Well, the latter isn't important unless I prepay. I told them that I can't pay all at once, but in reality I would be able to pay a few hundred dollars at once if it's cheaper that way (but I won't volunteer that info!). The way it was presented to me the first time was I could make 12 monthly payments of X dollars or I could pay one lump sum of 0.8*12X dollars. It seemed like the former wasn't so much a pay-as-you-go plan as it was an installment plan--meaning you're obligated to make those 12 payments. I'll need to clarify that if I opt to pay monthly. I don't plan to sign a very long contract because 1) I can't afford that and 2) my financial situation should change in about 9 months.

    I'm very interested to see what kind of program they come up with. I won't find out until the 7th, though, because I'm going out of town. The "Intermediate Bronze" package is usually 50 or more lessons over a year to a year and a half. Clearly, I won't be doing that. I'm hoping for a very small program of maybe 12-15 lessons. Since I still have 9 lessons left in my current package, I should only have to pay for 3-6 more lessons that way. I figure if I spread that out over 9 months I can probably afford it.
     
  6. Firsttime Dancer

    Firsttime Dancer New Member

    Must chip in here with...Don't look to far down on us "over 40's"...While I understand that is a large age difference to your 29. You might be surprised at how much you could/can learn.

    Just my 2 cents. I'll go get my walker now...time for tea ;-) :)
     
  7. Statlady

    Statlady New Member

    I have nothing against becoming friends with people over 40 . . . . It's just harder sometimes. :)
     
  8. MissBallroomBear

    MissBallroomBear Active Member

    My dance instructor is 58 and I love the guy! (Friend love). It's not just because he's a great dancer but also because he's got an absolutely fantastic personality. In my mind, he will always be a teenager.
     
  9. Ria

    Ria New Member

    My dance instructor is also an older guy, 61 to be exact. But he knows so much and he is so enthusiastic. His energy and his passion for dancing makes him seem much younger. I wouldn't want any other instructor to teach me how to dance.
     
  10. Ria

    Ria New Member

    My dance instructor is also an older guy, 61 to be exact. But he knows so much and he is so enthusiastic. His energy and his passion for dancing makes him seem much younger. I wouldn't want any other instructor to teach me how to dance.
     
  11. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    "Really, I just want to dance. Since my husband doesn't dance, it's not like I can just go out dancing with him. It doesn't even have to be ballroom, necessarily, but that seems to be the only form of dance that adults do anymore. I did folk dancing in college, and have found some social folk dance groups, but they usually consist mainly of people over 45, and I'm 29."

    Long thread, and I just skimmed for a while. Someone else may have mentioned this. I see Peaches mentioned Argentine Tango at least once.

    Here are some other dances adults do: Argentine Tango, West Coast Swing, Salsa, whole bunch of country western stuff, folk dance, Zydeco, Lindy Hop.

    Both Argentine tango and country western attract a very wide age group.

    I've also taken jazz, mixed with a bit of ballet, and also hip hop. Line dancing is very popular in some locations.

    If you go to group classes, you will meet other people who are interested in dance.
    If you take jazz, hip hop, or line dancing for instance, you won't need a partner to keep dancing, but will be around ohter people who will probably become friends.

    Where you are will have a big influence on what's available, so some of this might not be true where you are. But, the main point is that ballroom is definately not the only dance adults do anymore. (But maybe not where you are.)
     

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