Studio prohibits teaching at non-profit

PaulBunyon

Active Member
#1
In my area there's non profit folkdance center. Been around for at least 25 years. It's not a studio and has no employees. Completely run by unpaid volunteers. Twice per month they put on a ballroom variety dance. Before each dance a local teaching professional conducts a 1 hour lesson. I attend most of them, some of the teachers are instructors at studios (no franchises) and some are independent instructors who teach wherever there's a floor available. They have one the nicest and largest dance floors in the region.

I was speaking with the volunteer who organizes the dances this last weekend. She told me of two independent studios in town who forbid their instructors from teaching at the dances.

I found it a strange policy. The studio is always given credit. Both verbally and in the written materials. The folk dance center is not competing with the studio. They don't have ballroom as part of their curriculum. It's all volunteer run folkdancing. They pay instructors $50 for the hour of teaching.

What is the motivation for the policy? It seems like a good marketing opportunity for any studio. The money not so "sweet" that it would "lure" anybody anywhere. My only thought is they think their teacher will attract a following and go Indy on them. That seems like a remote possibility. The much more likely scenario to me is that a student might show up at the studio because of their experience at the dance.

Those of you with experience on business side of ballroom why forbid activities like this?
 

danceronice

Well-Known Member
#2
Possibly they don't want to look like they're sponsoring/endorsing the event. Also, what if someone falls and hurts themselves in a class one of their instructors is teaching, is the "nonprofit" insured? If the teacher is there advertised as being from Studio X, could the injured party sue the studio?
 

PaulBunyon

Active Member
#3
Possibly they don't want to look like they're sponsoring/endorsing the event. Also, what if someone falls and hurts themselves in a class one of their instructors is teaching, is the "nonprofit" insured? If the teacher is there advertised as being from Studio X, could the injured party sue the studio?
Perhaps. As far as insurance and such, I would think they have their bases covered. They are older than any ballroom studio in town and probably have more attendees per week than any two studios combined. I see lots of posters up for visiting teachers for the folk events. Have to believe they have those ducks in a row by now.
 

Mengu

Well-Known Member
#4
What is the motivation for the policy?
Money surely... Studios don't want their instructors to be hired by 3rd parties (which could be breach of contract anyway if they have exclusivity terms). They want the studio to be hired. If the event is paying $50 to the studio, the studio can send a $15/hr instructor to the event, and the studio makes $35. Of course, same instructor at the studio is probably bringing $70/hr so really the studio has little reason to take this gig unless they can negotiate a much higher price.
 

RiseNFall

Well-Known Member
#5
The insurance issues seem plausible--even if the folk dance center has it taken care of, that doesn't stop somebody from suing the studio and the studio having to deal with it. On the other hand, there is a ballroom dance in this area once a month, plus pro demo, plus intro lesson. Teachers from the various franchise studios have taught the intro lessons and one would think the franchise owners would be sensitive to any insurance issue. They (franchise owners) like the organizer and and are happy to be a part of what he does, but I don't think they have gotten a single student from doing it over many years.
 

snapdancer

Well-Known Member
#9
In my local area, studios with employee instructors tend to be more insular, not mixing with the dance community at large. Or other studios. I think they want to hang on to their students; being afraid that they will vote with their feet if they discover other options. And tend to sell lessons in packages and programs.

If their instructors attract students from the larger dance community to their studio, the new students may "infect" their existing student base by letting them know that there's a wider dance world beyond the 4 walls of their studio.
 

Loki

Well-Known Member
#10
Ive heard of one studio here that's notorious for the don't ask / don't tell / no talk / no fraternizing rule re: other studios, teachers, events.

But yet it stays in business somehow.
 

Mr 4 styles

Well-Known Member
#11
I don't consider studios with employee teachers independent. Those are non franchise employee instructors. Independent in my book pertains to instructors who pay a floor fee only and can teach anywhere that will have them
 

snapdancer

Well-Known Member
#14
Ive heard of one studio here that's notorious for the don't ask / don't tell / no talk / no fraternizing rule re: other studios, teachers, events.

But yet it stays in business somehow.
Sounds like a cult. Seriously. Not all cults are based on religion.
 
#16
Insurance & liability is a real issue. A local I know is being sued, as well as the local chapter of USA Dance as co defendant, because a woman got her arm broken. I'm sure it was an accident, but the instructor is on the hook for a huge amount. The studio he works for is , apparently, not named. Lucky for them.
I stopped dealing with them because they wouldn't accept any instructor from my studio except me, and the pay is not reasonable.

In short, who cares if a studio doesn't want their teachers there. Enjoy the ones you have!
 

Loki

Well-Known Member
#17
Standard industry wide nomenclature "Independent" can either refer to the studio or the teacher... I do wish we would have different words for each, though. It is a tad confusing in situations sometimes.
I've heard "nomad" and "gypsy" when speaking of teachers who work for themselves / rent floor time.
 

Larinda McRaven

Site Moderator
Staff member
#18
No. An instructor that works for themselves, yet is at the same studio 5 days a week for 10 years is not a gypsy. They are independently employed. A teacher who works at 3 different studios each week, lasts in each town no more then 3 years, and has been on the move for 12 years is a gypsy.

Nomad and gyspy are not employment descriptions, they are lifestyle descriptions.
 

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