Sometimes you will encounter an individual who believes that their payment for admission to a evening of dancing, a dance class or a workshop entitles them to far more than that which is stated or even implied. Some seem to think that their payment includes great indulgence on the part of the event promoters who are there to serve their every whim or fancy.
I hear constantly from the dance teachers or promoters about these individuals who seem to not care about what is appropriate or even decent behavior in public. They seem to forget that their mothers aren't around to remind them that their behavior might leave much to be desired.
I think we know who they are. We've sat beside them and danced beside them. And we've wished they were somewhere else.
If you're in the room where the class or workshop is being held, then you're a participant. If you're a participant, then you should pay to get in. That's how the dance teacher makes their living. If you're waiting for a friend, wait outside. If someone's waiting for you, send them to the nearest coffee shop. That should be the general rule unless the *promoter* agrees to an exception.
If you're getting into a dance, you're not paying for dancing. You are paying for music. This is especially true of events which feature live music. Bands are expensive and the musicians deserve to be paid some reasonable amount of money which covers their cost and their work to bring you good dance music.
It's annoying to hear people's cellphones outside and to listen to one half of a very loud and annoying phone call. Haven't you ever wanted to grab someone's cellphone and toss it under a passing bus?
If it's annoying out in the street, then it's worse inside a class room where your phone is going to distract and disrupt the class. If you were in a dance competition, would you want the distraction of someone's ringing cellphone? It's even worse when the owner of the phone starts talking as if in their own home to someone whom they could call back after the event.
If it's anything short of an emergency, shut off the phone or set it to vibrate (pretty much every phone has this feature now). If you have to take a call, take it outside where no one has to listen to your conversation.
I remember someone holding a charity dance at some studio and being really proud that they raised $600 for their favorite charity. That dance studio also paid $700 to redo the wood floors after the charity dance.
Your street shoes will track in dirt, rocks, and even glass shards that will scratch and damage a wooden dance floor. Some people will dance in bare feet if they forget their dance shoes. Bring a change of clean shoes so you won't be grinding the dirt off the streets into that nice wooden dance floor or leaving glass pieces for others to walk onto.
The same rules apply here as on the dance floor. No teaching. No assuming your partner is not "getting it". No criticizing your partner. You are not being paid to teach anything to your partner.
If you and your partner are having problems figuring out a move, call the instructor over for help. That's what they're getting paid for. Say that you *and* your partner are having a problem and you needed some help figuring it out. Let the teacher figure out where the problem lies; let the teacher figure out the solution. It keeps the peace because you're not blaming anyone for the difficulty.
It also saves face, too, because what if *you* were the problem and not your partner?
People are paying to hear what the teacher says. It's incredible rude to be disrupting the class just because you want to have a conversation with your dance partner. It's rude in a regular school; it's rude in a dance class. Save your personal conversations for outside the classroom.
It's a distraction when people show up late. You've already missed some of the material and the class is slowed down while you try to figure out what you missed. Sometimes the class will move on without you.
If too many people are late, then the class might start late. Many of the classes are in rented halls. Some of the hours are already scheduled for other events. Occasionally, events will be booked back to back so there is little time left to gab while you change your shoes and pack up.
Show up on time. It shows respect for the instructor and shows respect for your classmates.
The visiting instructor may have attracted students based on their hard work and reputation. The promoter may have travelled to every dance venue to promote the dance workshops. You should not be capitalizing on their hard work. If you wish to advertise for another *visiting* instructor, talk to the promoter and they *might* allow flyers (and maybe even announcements) at that event.
Other teachers *should not* be promoting their own local classes at another teacher's classes or dances. Don't try to recruit students for your own classes at the expense of the other teacher whose class you're attending; don't hand out your business cards. This is considered a hostile act and just plain rude. You may be banned from ever attending those classes again, and you can be sure that the other local teachers will hear about this.
Many of the local dances and workshops in Swing, Hustle, Argentine Tango, and other dances are publicized on this website and, considering the numbers for the weekly traffic, it's a good bet that most of the attendees at any given workshop will have seen the information provided here. This may supplement any advertisement that a teacher may give to his/her class or even replace it.
Also, there is a lot of cross-pollination of students. Many students will try out different teachers or start out with one teacher and continue with another. There will be few students who have taken classes with only one teacher. Some students might hear of and attend a workshop that is being organized by any one of their teachers.
That some of your students are in attendance may be true, but you may also be assuming too much of your role in getting them there. Just assume you're paying unless told otherwise by the dance promoter.
The fact that someone is a teacher does not give them an unalienable right to free dance lessons at the expense of others. Teachers make money from dancing so they should pay for any activity that will improve or help their business. If a teacher is getting a lesson for free, that's money that another teacher isn't getting. And it annoys the rest of the people who *do* have to pay.
Also, teachers who attend a workshop are not just learning new moves. They're also watching how someone else teaches a class and that is *much* more valuable than learning a new dance figure.
Ultimately, unlike us mere mortals, teachers can deduct their dance expenses (such as lessons and shoes) on their tax returns.
Don't assume you're a somebody and that everyone would want you in attendance just because your animal magnetism will attract other students to the class. You might not want to find out how much of a somebody you really aren't.
Ultimately, the event promoter has the final say. If the promoter and the teacher are two different people, then the *promoter* has the final ruling. The teacher is hired by the promoter to be a part of an event.
I'll be honest here. Often I don't have to pay for the dances and workshops that I attend. I never ask for free admission to anything; I'm ready to shell out my hard-earned money for the entertainment or education that I'm about to receive. However, because of my efforts with publicizing the dance events in Boston, New England and around the country, many dance promoters *don't* want to take my money because they feel that I'm helping them out a lot without asking for anything. And yes, occasionally, I feel guilty about it (but not too often).
If you wish to have an exception to the rules, you should check with the dance promoter *ahead of time*; don't wait until you get to the door to argue with the promoter. At the start of the class or dance, the promoter is busy checking people in, collecting their money, and making sure the instructor or band starts and ends on time. They are going to be too busy to be dealing with your personal issues.
Dance promoters? You might want to post these workshop rules outside the classroom.
Feedback on this article should be directed to Benson Wong at benson@@btwong.org,
Copyright © Benson Wong 2003. All rights reserved by the author. This article are intended for the reading pleasure of the DanceNet On The Web readers. Duplication or use in any other medium, including but not limited to print publication, another web site, or downloading to a storage medium on CD, floppy disk, hard drive, zip drive, or tape, without the written permission of the author is prohibited.