NDCA Code of Ethics

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by KevinL, May 3, 2004.

  1. KevinL

    KevinL New Member

    I was checking out the National Dance Council of America'a website, and found the following Code of Ethics in thier Professional Certification brochure. There is lots of other good guidelines for instructors in that brochure, but what do you think about the following:


  2. DanceAm

    DanceAm New Member

    I love the code of ethics, and if the NDCA really tried to enforce them, most teachers would be out of business.

    I think focusing on the needs of the student and not the teacher's financial situation should be the highest, most reveared of all.

    But then there is the situation like Eddie Aryes and Nancy Senner, since those two fell in love out of a teacher/student relationship, what should be done? I don't think the relationship is exploititive, because surely it is beyond Eddie trying to get a few more lessons out of her. In fact, Nancy may have hurt his ability to make money. How do you charge your significant other for lessons and comps?

    As for the sexual innuendo, that is just way to prevalent and subjective to control. What is said and joked about at a dance studio would have major corporations in court on sexual harrisment suits. What one might consider offensive might not be considered offensive by another. I also think that women instructors learn to live with a lot that normally they wouldn't stand for.

    Do any women instructors think they have lowered their standards since they became a dance instructor? What about the way many students fall into lust and infatuation with their teachers? I would guess that many teachers are not leading their students on, but in a close situation like one on one dance instruction, the physical closeness is a barrier that is broken long before any releationship is even started. Yet in regular courtship, holding hands is a sign of getting closer. But that may be due more to the fact that our society doesn't teach dance enough at a younger age for anyone to put dance into perspective. Dance is a way of socializing like conversation or drinks, it should not be any more sexual than talking about work or the weather. Simply another way to get to know each other.

    I am starting to ramble so I will stop.
  3. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Hmm. I have had some teachers who by no means adhered to these ethical guidelines. Sad, isn't it, how unprofessional and exploitative some people can become in the name of making a living? :(

    Don't get me wrong. I think it's important that the guidelines be there, but there are unenforceable, aren't they? I mean, what can the NDCA do to a teacher who doesn't conform, even if they are NDCA affiliated? And especially if they're not? Not much. *shrug*
  4. DanceMentor

    DanceMentor Administrator

    Maybe they should make it a rule that you have to post the code of ethics on the wall at the studio. :lol:
  5. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    That's not such a bad idea. At least, In Florida, studios have to post their license on the studio wall. Why not the code of ethics, too?

    For obvious reasons, I don't want to go into detail, here, but I have been at the receiving end of every single thing described above, with various teachers at various times. Some things, like sexual misconduct, are fairly obvious, but what about emotional or financial exploitation? If something had been posted, I would have read it, and perhaps recognized sooner that I was being abused by a teacher. Hmm.
  6. MadamSamba

    MadamSamba Member

    DM, I suspect that won't happen at too many places because, it seems, at least one Lothario is required per studio (or the female equivalent).

    Obviously not all studios operate in such a manner, but I recently heard of a teacher slept with a student who claimed to be much older than she was, but it turned out she was only 16 or 17. (The legal age here is 16), but regardless, he's old enough to be her father, if not grandfather, and is known for sleeping with students.

    It's not really his fault if he honestly didn't know, but what's really worrying is that the studio turned a blind eye (to all his flings with students) and all because he brings in lots of money to the studio. The worst bit is that there are many lonely people in dancing and I can't help but feel that some of these guys and gals prey on that...
  7. dragon3085

    dragon3085 New Member

    Just curious but what license do they have the post. Does the state have a license specific to dance studios or is just a lic to run and operate a business?

    Pat
  8. Warren J. Dew

    Warren J. Dew Well-Known Member

    Some teachers might. I think most teachers obey those ethical rules; you just hear more about the exceptions because they make for more interesting rumors.

    I'm not sure posting them on the wall would be a good idea in all cases ... at studios where that kind of thing is never even considered, they might give people ideas!
  9. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    It's a dance studio specific license, with a state registration number. It doesn't mean much, though, IMHO. It's not associated with any certification requirements that I know of. (DancingMommy might know. She used to teach dance in Florida, I think.)
  10. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    Florida has some exceptionally tough laws specifically regulating dance studios. Some of the most outrageous abuses you hear about have involved seniors who would like to do something fun like dancing being talked into spending simply astronomical amounts of packages, most of which they probably won't be able to use. Florida has a lot of retirees and must look like fertile ground for this sort of scam. So now Florida has laws.
  11. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Yes, that's true. Unfortunately, there are loopholes which studios sometimes use very effectively to minimize or avoid the impact of those laws. That's partcularly true in the issue of emotional exploitation of students, and, despite the stereotypes, it's not just seniors who are being targeted. At least in my observation, middle-aged widows/widowers and divorcees are equally likely to be victims.
  12. DanceAm

    DanceAm New Member

    I never meant to imply that most teachers are unprofessional, just that some items are so subjective, that surely these guidelines could be considered broken. I apologize if that is how it sounded. But being part owner of an independant studio, I have formulated many general opionions about dance instructors which I won't discuss. But, in their defense, it is a very tough career and one with a very unsecure future.

    I think if you look on the NDCA site, I remember reading that the NDCA does want you to post these guidelines in the studio. And we do post them in ours.

    As for disciplinary action, that is not the concern of the NDCA, though they can choose to suspend membership of blantent violators. That may keep them teaching, but would not allow them to enter any comps that require NDCA membership. But how many students even know what the NDCA is? Do they know they can submit complaints to them? I think the biggest mistake the NDCA made was to require separate membership cards for amateur couples and not for amateur competitors that just dance Pro/Am. Now I get the same NDCA documentation that the pros get and I even read it.

    At another studio I was at, my wife asked our teacher about where the NDCA code of ethics was displayed and he had no idea what we were talking about. Before that, he probably wondered if his students could spell N-D-C-A.

    Knowledge is power, learn about the NDCA, even if you are just a student. They make a lot of policy and hold a lot of power in the dance world. USABDA even has a seat on their board, but if you look at all the other seats, 1 chair isn't enough for all of Amateur Dancing, there should be more representation of the Amateurs, especially for Pro/Am competitors.
  13. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    I think I saw that dance once... people were making letters with arms over their head.
  14. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Yes. A lot of these items are subjective, but blatant is blatant. Darn! I wish I felt free to share details, but I don't. I have my own personal code of ethics that won't allow it. *shrug*

    I've known about the NDCA for quite a while, and I doubt I would ever submit a complaint. The dance community is too small for me to cause that kind of trouble for a teacher and keep a clean conscience. People talk. And, as you say, it is a tough job. Walking the line between ethical and unethical behavior has to be difficult sometime, since personal feelings and making a living are both involved.


    For me, it's a vote with your feet kind of deal. When you experience unethical behavior from a teacher, confront the other person to try to resolve things. If that doesn't work, leave and find an ethical instructor. Bottom line, that's an approach that works for me.
  15. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Must've been at a USABDA dance. :roll: :lol:
  16. KevinL

    KevinL New Member

    Yes, the same document says:

    Probably not, since I started this thread and didn't know I could submit complaints!

    I agree that people should take the time to learn about the larger dance community, but there are lots of people who just don't bother.

    That's true, when was the last time you heard a rumor about that dance teacher who didn't charge his students because he was late for class? Or that other teacher who told her students to take classes with someone else because they were more skilled in what the student wanted to learn?

    I don't know about this, unethical people seem to think of lots of ideas that the rest of us would never consider.
  17. Purr

    Purr Well-Known Member

    I, too, have been an emotional and economic victim of teachers.
  18. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Leave, Purr. Find another teacher. Otherwise, you're going to get hurt. Please believe me.
  19. KevinL

    KevinL New Member

    Without a better understanding of each of you there probably isn't much that any of us will be able to say that will be helpful, but I'm sure lots of people will try to be helpful.

    Welcome to Dance-forums, Purr!

    Kevin
  20. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Sorry. My response was too emotional.

    I suggest, if you're in a studio with multiple teachers, start taking exchange lessons with other teachers. That will help keep you dancing while minimizing the emotional impact of this teacher on you. Also, take a week or two off, completely away from the studio, perhaps after your next exhibition. Dance, if you want, but get away from the studio, so you can start to sort out your feelings about dance and about this teacher.

    Go to public ballroom dances. Talk to people. Go out and watch other teachers dance and interact with their students.

    Don't sign another contract at your studio until you feel better than you do now. (Not signing up for lessons in advance will sometimes make teachers show their true colors, if they're exploiting you.)

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