Dancing with different instructors

#1
Hi, I'm new and am looking for thoughts/insight on something that is bothering me...but maybe shouldn't be, not sure. I have been dancing for just over a year, private lessons with the same instructor. We have an amazing rapport. Recently he advised he wants me to dance with another instructor 50% of the time (I go 90 min...so would be 45/45). Even told me who. He says it will make me a better dancer, but I can't help shake the feeling that he's "dumping" me. It also bothers me that the decision was made for me...that it is happening, the instructor and frequency. I am so upset that I don't even want to go to my next lesson which will now be split (old/new instructors) So my questions:

1) Is it normal to have lessons with other instructors? Is it really for growth?
2) Should it upset me as much as it has? I'm paying a lot of money...should the decision not be mine?
3) How should I address this with my instructor (current one)?
 

RiseNFall

Well-Known Member
#2
How normal it is depends on the studio. It certainly can be beneficial to take lessons from more than teacher--I do--but it is my choice. It was suggested by my primary teacher, but the decision was definitely mine.

Is one of the teachers a studio owner? Is one much more experienced than another? Do they have different specialties? I'm just trying to figure out why it was suggested.

Pretty much, yes, the decision should be yours. It's possible that something has happened so that your original teacher needs to cut down his hours, but they should be honest about that.

For better or worse, studios and teachers are used to dealing with upset students. If it were me, I would just as soon not deal with it on my lesson time that I am paying for. :) I would call the studio and ask if a meeting could be arranged to discuss it. Depends on you and your relationship with studio owner(s)/manager(s) who the meeting should be with. [This is a situation that they have created; sometimes there is an issue that I feel should be dealt with on time I'm paying for.]
 

DL

Well-Known Member
#3
1) Is it normal to have lessons with other instructors? Is it really for growth?
Absent any other information, I would say "yes" on both counts.

2) Should it upset me as much as it has? I'm paying a lot of money...should the decision not be mine?
Dancing can provoke strong and widely-varied emotions. "Should" is therefore a fraught concept.

You are of course free to do with your money what you please. On the flip side, when you use your money to pay a vendor for services, the vendor is of course free to constrain both the amount of money accepted and the amount/nature of services offered.

From a student's perspective, I suggest that it's wise to try a variety of teachers. There's no need to stick with one with whom you aren't able to achieve a good learning experience. However I often found that I learned things in usefully different ways from different people (teachers and peers alike).

Does that help?
 

Loki

Well-Known Member
#4
There can be many reasons for a student to be shuffled around - both good and not so good. Is he dumping you? Depends on your definition IMO.

The biggest negative I've found with rotating teachers is that style, technical emphasis and expertise can vary a lot. That can be a big time and money sink if you have to "unlearn" things. YEMV.
 

fascination

Site Moderator
Staff member
#5
Hi, I'm new and am looking for thoughts/insight on something that is bothering me...but maybe shouldn't be, not sure. I have been dancing for just over a year, private lessons with the same instructor. We have an amazing rapport. Recently he advised he wants me to dance with another instructor 50% of the time (I go 90 min...so would be 45/45). Even told me who. He says it will make me a better dancer, but I can't help shake the feeling that he's "dumping" me. It also bothers me that the decision was made for me...that it is happening, the instructor and frequency. I am so upset that I don't even want to go to my next lesson which will now be split (old/new instructors) So my questions:

1) Is it normal to have lessons with other instructors? Is it really for growth?
2) Should it upset me as much as it has? I'm paying a lot of money...should the decision not be mine?
3) How should I address this with my instructor (current one)?
personally, I think it is your decision and it shouldn't be made for you...and I would be very offended with any studio climate which felt that was acceptable without choice/notice/explanation of philosophy long before doing it, especially if you have bought a package of lessons...if you pay lesson to lesson, no biggie...just say no....but I wouldn't see it as a dumping....there could be numerous reasons...they may just be trying to get the second guy some students...I know of many franchises who operate that way (where there are buddy teachers)....but it should be explained in advance and, regardless of what you have paid, you have a right to request a refund if you are forced into a situation that isn't the one you for which you thought you were paying....but, don't take it personally.....this isn't a friendship/relationship...ask for an explanation
 
#6
Sooziq -

Welcome!

Another perspective perhaps. I like having one primary instructor and occasional lessons with a consistent second one at my studio. I learn from the differences.
But, it also helps the studio if your primary instructor departs for another job. They would already have you familiar with "instructor B" and therefore you are probably more likely to continue taking lessons at their studio if "instructor A" leaves for another job elsewhere.
Is that cynical or calculating, or just good business sense? I don't know, but I see their perspective and I think it's also sort of a win-win, as long as you feel you benefit from lessons from both instructors.
 

RiseNFall

Well-Known Member
#7
Yes. I have had two instructors move away. The first one after three months, the second one after two years. In both cases, I knew exactly who I wanted to dance with because I had had enough exposure to all of the available teachers either through private lessons when "my" teacher wasn't available or from classes. I made an announcement at a studio party when my current teacher became the person who had taught me the longest without feeling the need to move far, far away. ;)
 
#11
How normal it is depends on the studio. It certainly can be beneficial to take lessons from more than teacher--I do--but it is my choice. It was suggested by my primary teacher, but the decision was definitely mine.

Is one of the teachers a studio owner? Is one much more experienced than another? Do they have different specialties? I'm just trying to figure out why it was suggested.

Pretty much, yes, the decision should be yours. It's possible that something has happened so that your original teacher needs to cut down his hours, but they should be honest about that.

For better or worse, studios and teachers are used to dealing with upset students. If it were me, I would just as soon not deal with it on my lesson time that I am paying for. :) I would call the studio and ask if a meeting could be arranged to discuss it. Depends on you and your relationship with studio owner(s)/manager(s) who the meeting should be with. [This is a situation that they have created; sometimes there is an issue that I feel should be dealt with on time I'm paying for.]
Thank you for you input. My current instructor is the owner of the studio. I started there for a charity event and he was my partner. Had so much fun, I decided to continue with him...only reason I stayed with that studio. I will definitely discuss with him next time I'm there, after my lesson. As you said I don't want to take up my paid lesson time!
 
#12
Absent any other information, I would say "yes" on both counts.



Dancing can provoke strong and widely-varied emotions. "Should" is therefore a fraught concept.

You are of course free to do with your money what you please. On the flip side, when you use your money to pay a vendor for services, the vendor is of course free to constrain both the amount of money accepted and the amount/nature of services offered.

From a student's perspective, I suggest that it's wise to try a variety of teachers. There's no need to stick with one with whom you aren't able to achieve a good learning experience. However I often found that I learned things in usefully different ways from different people (teachers and peers alike).

Does that help?
Thank you DL. Yes it does help. I suppose it probably wouldn't hurt to dance with others but I do feel it should have been my decision. I will go with it and see how it goes, at least for my next few lessons already booked. Worst case, it doesn't work, bedtime case I learn some new things.
 
#13
personally, I think it is your decision and it shouldn't be made for you...and I would be very offended with any studio climate which felt that was acceptable without choice/notice/explanation of philosophy long before doing it, especially if you have bought a package of lessons...if you pay lesson to lesson, no biggie...just say no....but I wouldn't see it as a dumping....there could be numerous reasons...they may just be trying to get the second guy some students...I know of many franchises who operate that way (where there are buddy teachers)....but it should be explained in advance and, regardless of what you have paid, you have a right to request a refund if you are forced into a situation that isn't the one you for which you thought you were paying....but, don't take it personally.....this isn't a friendship/relationship...ask for an explanation
Thank you for your reply! You hit the nail on the head I think...it's not a friendship/relationship. I think because of our great rapport I took it to be a friendship, and that's probably why it's bothering me so much. I am offended too that the decision was out of my hands and will definitely ask for further explanation.
 
#14
Sooziq -

Welcome!

Another perspective perhaps. I like having one primary instructor and occasional lessons with a consistent second one at my studio. I learn from the differences.
But, it also helps the studio if your primary instructor departs for another job. They would already have you familiar with "instructor B" and therefore you are probably more likely to continue taking lessons at their studio if "instructor A" leaves for another job elsewhere.
Is that cynical or calculating, or just good business sense? I don't know, but I see their perspective and I think it's also sort of a win-win, as long as you feel you benefit from lessons from both instructors.
Thanks LateToTheDance! I will try and go with an open mind and try it out. Occasional lessons would be OK, and I have danced with most there at one time or another, usually when my primary instructor is on vacation. I have learned things no question. Always happy when my regular guy is back though. Maybe I can discuss the frequency of lessons with instructor B so we are all happy.
 
#15
Thanks all! Your input has helped. I am going to discuss this with them next week and get a further explanation and see if I can adjust things a bit so that I'm a little happier..being the one paying Will also go in with an open mind and try to enjoy my upcoming lesson.
 

RiseNFall

Well-Known Member
#16
Your primary teacher being the studio owner does shed some light on the situation. It is beneficial under many circumstances to take at least some lessons with different teachers. It is also possible that it is financially beneficial for the studio for somebody other than the owner to be teaching some of your lessons. It depends on how the employee instructors are compensated and how much else the owner has to do.

My primary teacher is one of the co-owners of the studio. It is unquestionably beneficial for the owners that I take lessons from other teachers as well; that does not negate the fact that the lessons with the other teachers are good for my dancing.
 

Partner Dancer

Well-Known Member
#18
Hi, I'm new and am looking for thoughts/insight on something that is bothering me...but maybe shouldn't be, not sure. I have been dancing for just over a year, private lessons with the same instructor. We have an amazing rapport. Recently he advised he wants me to dance with another instructor 50% of the time (I go 90 min...so would be 45/45). Even told me who. He says it will make me a better dancer, but I can't help shake the feeling that he's "dumping" me. It also bothers me that the decision was made for me...that it is happening, the instructor and frequency. I am so upset that I don't even want to go to my next lesson which will now be split (old/new instructors)
He is "dumping" you, in the sense that this kind of arrangement mostly
benefits the studio. If you have an amazing rapport, then it's probably
not a personality/teaching-and-learning-style conflict, but just a better
set-up to free up your old instructor's time and obligations and make it
easier for the studio to provide a substitute.

It is to the advantage of studios to have instructors operate "generically"
so that students are attached to the studio, not any instructor, and can
have their lesson schedules juggled more easily. Pretty much the same
business model as of the chain hair salons. More instructors also means
more options for (more) entries at comps.

1) Is it normal to have lessons with other instructors? Is it really for growth?
It's "normal" enough, for the reasons mentioned above.

At the 1-year mark, the confusion/inconsistency of teaching is apt to
stunt more than aid growth.

More experienced students may be able to absorb input from different
instructors and sort out the discrepancies. Some students thrive on
having different private instructors (and pro partners in comps).

2) Should it upset me as much as it has? I'm paying a lot of money...should the decision not be mine?
Different people react differently, but being highly upset is certainly a
legitimate reaction. Many people don't take bait-and-switch kindly.

Of course it's your decision, as it's your money.

3) How should I address this with my instructor (current one)?
Tell your instructor you'd try a couple of lessons to see how it works
for you, but if you don't care for it, you'd like to go back to the old
arrangement or cut back to just 1 lesson (or leave the studio if
they can't accept that the customer is always right [as far as
money is concerned]).

Standing your ground early sets up a good precedence, as it tells
the studio you're no floor mat, especially in future negotiations.
 
Last edited:

RiseNFall

Well-Known Member
#19
At the 1-year mark, the confusion/inconsistency of teaching is apt to
stunt more than aid growth.
While I don't disagree completely with the above statement, I do want to throw in that if the owner is doing a good job of training his staff, this may not be the case. It's one reason that what I do works for me.
 

s2k

Well-Known Member
#20
I completely agree with Rise and with Loki - this is not a typical situation. He's dumping you shifting you to a different instructor because as the studio owner, he probably doesn't really teach as much as he's handling studio business. I practice at a studio where the owner has maybe four students/couples and they're all silver. He has taught two group classes in the past year and that's only because of scheduling conflicts with staff. When he does DWTS, if his celeb partner decides to stay on, eventually he shifts them to a staffer best suited for their needs. I've seen this happen so many times over the past eight years, this "shifting."
 

Dance Ads