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Thread: Studio Loyalty

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    Member Azrael's Avatar
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    Default Studio Loyalty

    Hi all! I have a question for you that seems a bit vague, but bear with me!

    How do you feel towards studio loyalty? What type of loyalty do you (as a teacher) expect from a student, and what do you expect (as a student) from a teacher?

    After a mishap with stolen choreography, our studio set up a contract that included some very good things like "as a studio we will promise to see each dancer as unique and will encourage her and assist her to grow in her own dancing abilities" as well as that as dancers we will not perform/teach studio choreography to other studios/people without permission from the studio teachers. It also states that as a dancer of "X" studio, we won't have loyalties to any other studio within "Y"kms of our studio. Which I feel is quite fair? It doesn't mean that we're not ALLOWED to go to other studios where they teach things which we don't, just that we recognise "X" studio as our home base. (We sound like aliens - hehehe! )

    I think that teachers have the responsibility to their students to acknowledge where they fall short (for example, not everybody can teach zills or other "specialties") and allow them to go to other studios to learn those skills. Personally, I am very happy with the way that our studio works. We ALL do workshops (including the 2 teachers) and learn together while still being taught all the years of knowledge and the different styles from the different teachers.

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    V.I.P. PracticalDancer's Avatar
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    Hmm.

    (raises one eyebrow)

    Teachers or instructors are employees, so I can see limiting their activities via contract.

    Choreographies are subject to copyright; but, once taught to students who pay to learn the choreography, the choreographer does lose some rights. Many instructors thus ask to be credited for the choreo (and some even jokingly add "unless you screw it up, then don't associate me with it!").

    However, paying students are paying for goods and or services, and I really have a problem with limiting their activities contractually. You cannot contract loyalty from someone who is buying something from you -- at least, not in some countries and regions. Contracting with someone that they WILL pay and WILL keep coming back to pay you more sounds, honestly, like extortion. Makes it sound desperate, fishy, or -- at worst -- cultish.

    just sayin'.

    Regards,

    Anala

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    Member Azrael's Avatar
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    The activities aren't limited or controlled in any way - as I stated, we're free to attend other classes. I don't mean loyalties in the sense of actually being loyal - that is earned. But in the sense that we're committed to our studio by attending classes, learning choreographies and dancing to the best of our abilities.

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    Premium Member Aniseteph's Avatar
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    Hmm again.

    As a student I keep going back to my teacher's classes and workshops because I enjoy it and get something out of it. I don't see that as loyalty as much as just being a happy customer. I don't think she would consider it any of her business if as a student I went to another teacher as well - she'd more likely be pleased I was keen and ask about what I was learning.

    Maybe there's some loyalty in the fact that I would not go round slagging her off, or performing her choreographies without permission, or ripping off her teaching material. I just look at it as plain polite ethical behaviour not to do that kind of thing, but if a studio had got burnt and wanted to put something in their terms and conditions to protect their copyrightable materials, fair enough.

    I don't know how this studio set up works, but I would find it very odd if I just wanted to go to a class to learn belly dance at studio X and they tried to tell me what I could and couldn't do with in the rest of my time. Even if studio Y is teaching the same things, maybe I just want the extra practise or another teacher's take on it, which is none of studio X's business. How very dare they, in fact...

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    Premium Member Aniseteph's Avatar
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    Posted the above at the same time as your reply, Azrael!

    I agree. It is reasonable to expect class attendance, learning choreographies and doing your best if people have committed to a performance troupe. Otherwise you let down your fellow dancers and make the studio look bad.

    But for just classes - IMO people can turn up and dance in whatever half-hearted way they like, as long as they are not disrupting the class for anyone else. You don't mess up a complicated choreo for the whole class by not knowing what you are doing or not being there, and you don't miss classes and then expect the teacher to go over things just for you.

    I think it's down to individual teachers to make it clear what is expected in their classes.

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    V.I.P. PracticalDancer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Azrael View Post
    [snip] After a mishap with stolen choreography, our studio set up a contract that included some very good things like "as a studio we will promise to see each dancer as unique and will encourage her and assist her to grow in her own dancing abilities" as well as that as dancers we will not perform/teach studio choreography to other studios/people without permission from the studio teachers. It also states that as a dancer of "X" studio, we won't have loyalties to any other studio within "Y"kms of our studio. Which I feel is quite fair? It doesn't mean that we're not ALLOWED to go to other studios where they teach things which we don't, just that we recognise "X" studio as our home base. [snip]
    Emphasis mine.

    Contracts by nature restrict activities, require activities, and are legally enforceable. What you have created here, at least how it would be interpreted in the States, is a "non-compete" clause. If you are making students -- paying students-- sign it, then any activities they conducted at other studios could be in violation of this contract.

    So, just to be sure I have understood you correctly, are you making any student that comes in off the street and who wants to pay to take classes with you sign this? Or, are you just requiring that anyone who is paid to teach classes sign it?

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    Moderator Darshiva's Avatar
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    From a personal perspective, I think it goes against everything I teach my students. The contract seems to be saying that if you take a second class elsewhere you can't study here. Since I encourage my students to study outside of my classroom in any way they see fit (complete with recommendations of other local teachers, if they ask for them) I cannot condone anyone behaving like this. It may be crafted with the best of intentions, but to me it smacks of industrial sabotage against other local teachers.
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    Member Azrael's Avatar
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    Ah, but I am not in the States, so it's not a legally binding contract. More of a "code", like the code of ethics on the Bellydance Association of South Africa's website.
    We only make troupe members sign the contract, so they are our performance group. We have beginners, who can come and go, and then intermediates who do perform, but less seriously. In the last few months we had somebody join our advanced class from the intermediate class and then she ended up going back to the intermediate class because she struggled with coming on a Thursday (advanced class day). She had signed a contract, but was OK with still having signed it after she went back to intermediate.
    Does this answer the question? We just have our performance troupe sign it, as they should have the highest level of commitment to the studio - a quality needed to become part of the troupe.

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    V.I.P. PracticalDancer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Azrael View Post
    We just have our performance troupe sign it, as they should have the highest level of commitment to the studio - a quality needed to become part of the troupe.
    Now, THAT piece makes sense. An agreement for regular performers in a troupe is actually something I agree with; but, a contract for all students is not!

    Thanks for clearing that up!

    Regards,

    Anala

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    Moderator Daimona's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Azrael View Post
    After a mishap with stolen choreography, our studio set up a contract that included some very good things like "as a studio we will promise to see each dancer as unique and will encourage her and assist her to grow in her own dancing abilities" as well as that as dancers we will not perform/teach studio choreography to other studios/people without permission from the studio teachers.
    In an agreement between performing group members and the studio, this shouldn't be a problem. Not that it really matters, but you don't say how the choreography was stolen; did the (former) troupe member perform it outside the studio approved setting? Did she/he teach the choreography to others outside the studio?

    Quote Originally Posted by Azrael View Post
    It also states that as a dancer of "X" studio, we won't have loyalties to any other studio within "Y"kms of our studio. Which I feel is quite fair? It doesn't mean that we're not ALLOWED to go to other studios where they teach things which we don't, just that we recognise "X" studio as our home base.
    In general I think stating what kind of commitment that are expected from members of the troupe is a good thing, as the troupe is dependent of their committed members to work as intended.

    If I were a candidate for the troupe, I'd agree to recognize the studio as the home base for the performance troupe, that I must be committed to join the troupe and that the name and the choreographies are own by the studio, but I would not allow the contract to state that the studio was MY home base of dance. Hence I would not accept the following sentence:
    "as a dancer of "X" studio, we won't have loyalties to any other studio within "Y"kms of our studio."

    Loyalty is something that should be earned.
    Given the possibility to choose between two or more studios with equal possibilities, I'd probably stay at the studio where I feel most at "home" and where I learn in a way that suits my personality. If I had to sign a contract stating that "this is my home studio" to stay there, I'd most probably either gone to the other studio without this contract or found another way to keep dancing.
    --
    Daim.

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