An exodus of male students from my dance school

#1
Look, I get it. Dance instructors, male or female, they're in it to make money just like any of us who have a profession. You don't necessarily like everyone at your workplace or the clients you serve. As someone who works in the consulting industry, I know how important it is to develop a good relationship with clients to service their needs. It's not personal although sometimes, you tend to get along with certain people more than others. That's just human nature.

Physical touch and developing a kind of friendly intimacy is necessary in order to facilitate dance. The older men and older women students get this and understand this. Also, a lot of them have a significant other or are divorcees and aren't interested in getting into a relationship ever again. For them, dance is a recreational activity that allows them to get into shape and to relax and occassionally dress up and attend formal events.

The problem with the younger male students. Many got into dance because of the social aspect. Although they didn't necessarily get into it in order to meet girls, I'm sure being around a lot of females is a plus. My dance school isn't large as I live in a medium sized city. Most of the students are older men and women. The number of younger male students can be counted on one hand, myself amongst them. In the past couple months, all have left due to their female dance instructors also leaving.

One male student, who I sometimes socialize with, told me why he quit. He had been with the same instructor for a year and a half. He had grown somewhat attached to her I guess. Although they don't have a relationship outside of the studio, he had come to see her as a close friend. It's no surprise. For regular students, they probably see more of their instructor than they do their close friends in real life. His instructor recently quit due to her schooling obligations. As with most dance schools, this was announced without warning. My esteemed classmate was disappointed to say the least. I think the more disappointing thing for him was that she left and didn't bother to keep in touch with him. Yes it's forbidden but I think he felt that he mattered more to her than that. The fact that she just left and never looked back and cut all ties I think hurt him. He finished off his remaining lessons and didn't bother renewing and he now left and cut all ties to everyone just like how his former instructor did.

Not sure the purpose of this thread. I think it's a sobering reminder of why I chose to dance. My dance instructor is amazing. I probably am guilty of having a crush on her. I mean, who wouldn't? It's part of the business model of dance schools to hire not only instructors who can dance well but also are probably attractive too. And they are trained to put on a personality that is nice to students.

Sometimes I wonder if my instructor quit, would I continue with the school? I think I would. Although I'd be disappointed if she left, I have since developed a genuine like for dance. It's done wonders for me physically and mentally. Although it'd be hard, I think I'd find a way to continue on.

I also am very realistic about things. Harshly so. Maybe it has to do with getting older and having seen just how brutal society can be. Maybe I'm jaded. I don't have any illusions that my relationship with my instructor will develop into anything other than teacher and student. I've never gotten any kind of interest or attention from women who are in her calibre in real life and so how can I expect her to feel anything for me other than just as a student? She's nice to me and maybe a small part of her does like me but I'm not someone important in her life.

The thing is, as attracted as I am to her, I've since developed a genuine respect for her. She's an amazing young women. Creative and hard working. I admire her. And I see how hard she works and the dedication she put to it. I would never want to make her feel awkward or put her into some sort of position.

So that's that. Dance is for the sake of dancing. That's all there is to it.
 
#2
I've read some of your posts which have given me the impression you can be reflective and put a lot of effort into articulating your thoughts. Your analysis however, of the various scenarios and situations described are incomplete in my view because you don't have all the information, knowledge and experience you need. And in true philosophical style, it's likely to be information, knowledge and experience you may never acquire e.g. what is going on in someone else's head.

I wholeheartedly disagree with your statement 'Dance is for the sake of dancing. That's all there is to it.'

That asides, I think you have taken a much too short term view with respects to what you hoped to gain from learning to dance and becoming the kind of leader with whom women are keen to dance.

Partnered dancing is a social skill. It is a language without words. Through the music, you connect, communicate and derive pleasure in the experience shared with your dance partner for the duration of the song. You (and your dance partner) enjoy the music and the joy of being able to express yourselves in a structured way together...even if you have never met before or speak the same language.

Of course there are the physical benefits you allude to in dancing - exercise, fitness, stress relief etc. not to mention the growing medical evidence for positive stimulation of the brain. The other huge benefit is the social aspect - your very motivation for learning to dance in the first place? Have you any idea of the dance club nights in other towns and cities? Have you any idea about the festivals, congresses and all-weekend events which attract dancers from all over your country as well as international dancers?

And don't forget, when you reach retirement age (even if forty years away!), what kind of social life do you hope to enjoy? I've got many years to go before then, but I know enough men and women who are living it up travelling round the world from festival to festival.

I'm not trying to convince you to continue learning to dance. I want to give you an alternative perspective to consider and challenge what you've written ;)

Good luck with whatever you choose to do. Just remember to enjoy it and find happiness in it!
 
#3
@c995

You are quite correct. So I'm not as old as some of my fellow students but I'm glad I'm starting this while I'm still relatively young and yeah, I do want to keep healthy and fit and have an active social life when I'm older.

It seems a lot of elderly folks don't really have much going on after retirement. Dance is a great way to keep active and be healthy and also a great way to socialize and meet people.

You are absolutely right. The rewards of continuing to learn to dance far outweigh any kinda crush I have with someone who isn't really a part of my personal life and whom I only have a professional relationship with.
 

DL

Well-Known Member
#4
I also am very realistic about things. Harshly so. Maybe it has to do with getting older and having seen just how brutal society can be.
I imagine 20 different people saying "brutal"; and then I imagine 20 different stories about what led them to use the term; and then I wonder whether they would each use that word to describe all of the others' life experiences.
 

cornutt

Well-Known Member
#5
You are wise to view your relationship with your instructor as nothing more than a pleasant business relationship. Enjoy it, but do keep in mind that for her, it's a job. And yes, the day that her employment at that studio ends, that will probably be the end of your relationship with her. Bear in mind that nearly all studios require instructors to sign no-piracy agreements -- if the instructor leaves and goes to another studio, he/she is prohibited from soliciting their previous clients. If she leaves the studio and then calls you up, even just to say hi, that could get her in trouble if she's working at another studio.

The sad truth is, for a lot of younger dancers, dancing is some place that is on the way to some place else. A lot of people your age are still trying to figure out what they want to do with their lives and what they do and don't like. Some start dancing, do it for a while, and then decide it's not really for them. Some get married and have kids, and kids being the incredible time- and money-sinks that they are, there's no longer any room in their lives for dancing. There are some that only take up dancing as a means for searching for a mate, and then as soon as they acquire said mate, that's the end of their dancing because the mission has been accomplished. At some studios, the age mix acquires a donut-hole profile, where there are a lot of teenagers and college students, a lot of over-35, and not much in between, for all of the above reasons.

And one other thing: Retention of male students in particular is recognized as a problem all over the ballroom dancing industry, and nobody has found a universal solution to it. Reasons why a lot of male students don't stay are: perceptions that dancing is unmanly; "leader's hell" (the issue being that it takes longer for a lead to work up to a level of minimum competency than it does for a follow), lack of female instructors in some areas, and in some studios a focus on pro-am competition that tends to not have room for male amateurs. I personally think the industry could be doing a lot more to market itself to men, but that's a rant for another thread.

A few years ago, our long-time female instructor left our studio, and nearly at the same time my DW began encountering health issues that made her unable to dance. I almost quit at that point, but another lady at the studio volunteered to partner with me. Since that point, she and I have been taking lessons together, and with a male instructor. We chose him because he was the most experienced instructor at the studio. Yes, I do dance with him some in lessons, although any particular bit of instruction ends with my partner and I trying it. It's actually been useful for me to have an instructor who dances as a lead, and get that perspective. I'll admit I would not have done that if I didn't have an amateur partner.
 

opendoor

Well-Known Member
#6
..Not sure the purpose of this thread. I think it's a sobering reminder of why I chose to dance. My dance instructor is amazing. I probably am guilty of having a crush on her. I mean, who wouldn't? It's part of the business model of dance schools to hire not only instructors who can dance well but also are probably attractive too. And they are trained to put on a personality that is nice to students....
Vronsky, what is the difference between a dance teacher and an instructor?
 

IndyLady

Well-Known Member
#7
I was just about to write something about regarding your dance instructor similarly to any professional service provider, e.g. dentist, and see if you would feel the same way.

Then I realized that I had exactly that experience with my own dentist that you referred to with dance instructors. Many years ago, I showed up for my semi-annual cleaning and was told on the spot that my dentist was no longer with the practice and Dr. So-and-So would be seeing me today instead. I didn't have the wherewithal at that stage of life to give them the "wth" response or ask questions, so I just went with it. There was no letter announcing her departure (very common with doctors/dentists - I've received several) or anything else, just poof!

A few months later as I was driving to work, I saw her name on a building. I cancelled my next appointment with the other practice and scheduled with her. It turned out that the old practice had not allowed her to inform her patients in advance that she was leaving nor let them know where she was going (to open her own practice) - just like franchise dance instructors, lol.

Thankfully there was no legal non-compete clause (that I am aware of) since I ended up following her to her new location and she is still my dentist. :D
 
#8
You are wise to view your relationship with your instructor as nothing more than a pleasant business relationship. Enjoy it, but do keep in mind that for her, it's a job. And yes, the day that her employment at that studio ends, that will probably be the end of your relationship with her. Bear in mind that nearly all studios require instructors to sign no-piracy agreements -- if the instructor leaves and goes to another studio, he/she is prohibited from soliciting their previous clients. If she leaves the studio and then calls you up, even just to say hi, that could get her in trouble if she's working at another studio.

The sad truth is, for a lot of younger dancers, dancing is some place that is on the way to some place else. A lot of people your age are still trying to figure out what they want to do with their lives and what they do and don't like. Some start dancing, do it for a while, and then decide it's not really for them. Some get married and have kids, and kids being the incredible time- and money-sinks that they are, there's no longer any room in their lives for dancing. There are some that only take up dancing as a means for searching for a mate, and then as soon as they acquire said mate, that's the end of their dancing because the mission has been accomplished. At some studios, the age mix acquires a donut-hole profile, where there are a lot of teenagers and college students, a lot of over-35, and not much in between, for all of the above reasons.

And one other thing: Retention of male students in particular is recognized as a problem all over the ballroom dancing industry, and nobody has found a universal solution to it. Reasons why a lot of male students don't stay are: perceptions that dancing is unmanly; "leader's hell" (the issue being that it takes longer for a lead to work up to a level of minimum competency than it does for a follow), lack of female instructors in some areas, and in some studios a focus on pro-am competition that tends to not have room for male amateurs. I personally think the industry could be doing a lot more to market itself to men, but that's a rant for another thread.

A few years ago, our long-time female instructor left our studio, and nearly at the same time my DW began encountering health issues that made her unable to dance. I almost quit at that point, but another lady at the studio volunteered to partner with me. Since that point, she and I have been taking lessons together, and with a male instructor. We chose him because he was the most experienced instructor at the studio. Yes, I do dance with him some in lessons, although any particular bit of instruction ends with my partner and I trying it. It's actually been useful for me to have an instructor who dances as a lead, and get that perspective. I'll admit I would not have done that if I didn't have an amateur partner.
Everything you wrote rings true to me.

I started dancing because I thought it'd open doors in terms of being able to meet more women. But since I started, it's become my gym. I've always hated exercise and the whole gym thing. I'm not athletic at sports either. For me, dancing is the best way to stay in shape. Ever since I started dancing, my weight has been under control and I'm happy with my body. My body has never looked this good since my early 20s and I'm in my mid 30's now. So it's amazing.

All that stuff about ballroom dance being seen as "unmanly" and it being a peculiar sort of hobby, I decided I don't give a damn. I'm not an ideal normal man anyways as judged by society. I am who I am. I enjoy odd things and I'm a bit of an oddball kinda person. I've come to terms that I'll never be the ideal attractive man that is in high demand. I'm always gonna be the weird guy who is a bit of a loner and introverted. Oh well. I seek inspiration in people who have lived their life on their own terms and stopped caring what others think. So in that sense, dancing has taught me a bit of confidence too.

I'm gonna be single for the foreseeable future. That's ok. My money is my own and I can spend it on all my various hobbies and live my life the way I want to. At the end of the day, nobody except my parents actually give a damn. Nobody really cares much about other people these days anyways. At most, someone will have a flashing thought that it's too bad that I'm single and that I must be lonely but then they'll just go on about their day and not give it a 2nd thought. Nobody really cares.

Even if I weren't single, I think I'd continue dancing. I can't see my life without it. It's like my part of my fitness routine. It's not gonna stop just cause I found a wife. And personally, I find people who see marriage as the end-all and be-all as pathetic. No wonder the divorce rate is so high. Just cause you get married doesn't mean you give up on your passions. That would prove to be a pretty dull marriage.

Everything in life is temporary. I've learnt to live life with a sense of gratefulness and appreciation. I have a wonderful instructor. I'm lucky to have been assigned to her. I know she will move on some day. And I know that will mean the end of our "relationship." So I enjoy and appreciate her. And I do this with all areas of my life where things are good. I do this with my job. I do this with people I play music with knowing that things will also change for them at some point and want to move on. I do this with friends too.

I think I prefer to leave good memories to special people in my life. Just cause the relationship has ended doesn't mean you can't cherish the memory and leave a good memory for the other person. I don't want my instructor's last memory of me to be some lovesick student who professes his undying love for her and that he can't bear the thought of her moving on. That's pathetic. I have more pride than that.
 

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