Not in the same neighborhood

Ecuabellydancer

New member
I would like to take advantage of this thread and ask you ladies, is it true that there is an "ethical code" in some countries regarding dancers not opening schools in the same neighborhood? My old teacher said this to her students on the first day of class of the year (which was last week) and of course this makes the new teacher look bad, because she rented a place in the same neighborhood the old teacher is located.

The thing is that even if there is a code like this, I would guess it does not apply everywhere, because the city where we live, has about three commercial sectors (where businesses are authorized to function) so there isn´t really much choice, and besides, they are definetely not next door to each other.....

But I was just curious, does this "not in the same neighborhood code" really exist?
 

Lydia

New member
I wish there was! Here in Dubai people just do whatever.....2 students from my advance class are teaching just down the road ! LOL and they get paid per hour from the club where they teach so you can take as many classes you like for 200 dirham per month, even daily....in my class you pay 30 dirham per hour so?? the girls are not dancers yet did 2 years in my class and now they teach....what to do ? i am lucky that people know me and now telling me ,,you know that girl she is teaching there?? ,, and then there are like 4 ,5 lady,s down the road also teaching ,girls that come to dubai dance in a yakky nightclub for a month and them ,hopa start to teach in any hotel healthclub...so we have plenty ,,teachers ,, in this small city called Dubai...and my students ,i think they think there is nothing wrong with what they do ,what is the problem?? they come to class with a book write down what i teach, and then the next day teach it in her class,no problem she thinks what is the problem??...i let it go for some time but now i stop them from coming to class enough is enough i think....so overhere its normal ,in the next building no problem.....have a great day all Lydia
 

Salome

Administrator
Not to invalidate what Lydia said, which I took more as a situation of people who are unqualifed to teach issue rather than a proximity issue... But what your teacher said is really just not practical for many areas. For example in Corvallis, where I taught/will teach again, there are a limited number of dance studios/halls. Maybe about 5 or 6 and they are all within a few miles of each other. Two major studio spaces are only blocks apart...
 

PriscillaAdum

New member
I've never heard of such a thing. No such "code" exists here, or in any place that I know of.
As you said, many places have comercial sectors so there isn't much choice as to where one can open up a business, particularly if you live in a certain area and want to have your school within a reasonable distance. In my area, there are dozens of dance schools that offer bellydance instruction, and the town where I live is probably even smaller than the area where your teacher has her school. Nobody bats an eye here.
As one teacher here is fond of saying....There's enough students for ALL the teachers, and I agree with that.
Your ex teacher is fond of inventing B.S. apparently, and I'm sorely tempted to open a dance school right next door to her.

Regards
Priscilla
 

Aisha Azar

New member
neighborhood

Dear Ecuabellydancer,
I am not sure how it is in your country, but in many cities and towns in the U.S. ,like you seem to have, there are zoning laws and so we can only set up businesses in certain areas where they are allowed. Sometimes the kind of business you can have is to certain areas or not allowed in some areas. For example, a friend of mine has a native plants nursery and she is in the city, but since her area was the country not too long ago her business is sort of exempted as long as the neighbors agree to it. Usually the dance studios in our city are in areas where other businesses are located, in strip malls or in the downtown area, or other such locations. I work in a studio where there is one other business in the same building, and I occasionally rent studio space in two different studios in strip malls. There are two studios in downtown buildings, etc. All of these areas are in business zoned areas.
Sometimes there is not much choice as to where to rent.
Regards,
A'isha
 
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Maria_Aya

New member
Yep in Greece we have something like an "ethical code" on this.
Its not spoken and total clear but we follow it.
Athens is a city of 5.000.000 people there is room for all of us.
We dont have many dance schools that are only for Oriental Dance (actual we are 5) and seems that we used this ethical code, maybe more for practical reasons.
Now if someone is so good as a teacher people from all over Athens will go to the certain teacher.
Beside that in Greece its too much of "advertizment" to go to a place that a dancer is dancing and give cards of your own.

But I know that there is a BIG war with the Latin dance schools where they steal students each from the other :shok:

Maria Aya:)
 

PriscillaAdum

New member
I don't know that it's possible to "steal" students from each other. A student will go where he or she wants to go, and will study with the instructor that he or she is comfortable with. Not every teacher suits every student.
There are some teachers around here that I absolutely will not go to, either because they don't teach the style that I like, or I don't like how they dance, or I don't like them personally. And yet, there are MANY students who asolutely love these very same teachers and are perfectly happy with their classes.
I think that the student (who is the paying customer) should be able to choose the instructor that best suits his or her needs, and not be fought over like property.
It's a good thing for students to have several options...and that they're all close enough so that one doesn't have to travel hours to get to a dance studio.


Regards
Priscilla
 

Maria_Aya

New member
I agree with you Pricila for everything you said on Oriental Dance.
But Latin dance schools (at least in Greece) is a total different thing.
Rarely the students have selection of teachers when we speak on the average school, sometimes the students dont even know the name of the teacher as the main thing is the Dance School and the teachers of Latin are payed 6 !!!!!!!!!!!!!! euro per hour for teaching latin dances, and the owners change them ever 2-3 weeks.
So everything is different in advertizment with them, "stealing" is like for one month giving half price on a group of lessons and the students move, and after the opposite school give a bonus present for whatever what and they move again, and the whole situation leads to "dancers" or "hobbyists" that doesnt have true love for what they do and dance, but are involved so much between this "competition" that starts from advertizing go to National Competitions and lead to pockets (of the owners) at the end.
A really sad story and the one that is lost is the beauty of the dance.
What ever dance we all practice.

Maria Aya
 

PriscillaAdum

New member
Heee...Maria Aya, when you said latin dance schools I thought you meant Latin American bellydance schools. Now I realize you meant schools that teach latin dance in Greece. :D:D

Regards
Priscilla
 

Ecuabellydancer

New member
Je, je, Pris, I also thought that, I guess we got "lost in translation" :lol:

Anyways, thanks everyone for your replies, and on this issue I agree 100% with Salome, what this person said is not practical for many areas, and certainly not for the city I live in, Guayaquil. She is just trying in all possible ways to make the new teacher look bad.... :rolleyes:
 

Eshta

New member
I don't think there is a 'code' here as such, although good business sense says to NOT set up on another teacher's doorstep if you can help it - in the same sense that there are no 'rules' about running any other belly dance event like workshops and haflas on the same data, but it is sensible to check around and make sure there is not a major clash.

On the one hand it's detrimental to all parties to have deliberate, unhealthy, head-on competition with another teacher. On the other, there can be limitations that force you into each other's flight path! I think communication between the two would be the key, so that each other knows they are not out to compete directly. Otherwise you end up with petty rivalries.
 

Suheir

New member
Several years ago, my own teacher was told by a student that there was someone else teaching a new belly dance class very close to where she had been teaching for many years. Nobody had heard of this woman so my teacher went to see her after one of her classes, to introduce herself and, of course, recommend that they kept each other informed of their respective activities.

The new teacher expressed complete astonishment that there was already a teacher in the vicinity, despite the fact that she had actually taken a workshop with my teacher at a festival and must have been well aware of where she taught from the festival information, and she had also become pally with one of my teacher's closest dance friends.

My teacher informed her about her background, where she taught, when her annual hafla was (always the same weekend every year) and how she could provide a bazaar at events as she was a frequent visitor to Cairo and had a large stock of hip scarves, CDs and accessories.

The new teacher said oh yes, of course they should keep in touch and keep each other informed as it was important to work together. My teacher invited her to perform up her upcoming annual hafla but she declined as she said she already had an engagement.

So, roll on a few months and the new teacher had started another class, again five minutes from another venue where my teacher already taught. Hmm. Anyway, some time later my teacher received a phone call from the new teacher, to inform her that she was to hold a hafla and to "check" that the dates wouldn't clash. Ah. It was exactly the same weekend as my teacher's hafla (remember, she'd told her that it was the same weekend every year) and what is more, she had *already booked everything* and declined to change the date. Now, remember my teacher had said that she could provide a bazaar? The new teacher had booked a bazaar from a couple of hundred miles away as part of her attractions.

So, my teacher was left in the situation where she obviously couldn't hold a major belly dance event in the same town on the same weekend and she was unable to find a venue for an alternative weekend as it was in the run-up to the Festive season. My teacher had to cancel her event which meant that a couple of hundred students and their families were left disappointed and she had no income for a whole month as she then taught for Adult Ed and the revenue from her bazaar and ticket sales would have provided a small amount to tide her over the holidays.

The new teacher very graciously invited my teacher to perform at her hafla, which she did, although I can't imagine how she must have felt when she was expecting to be at her own event that weekend.

So, the next year, the new teacher starts hosting workshops with high-profile teachers. My teacher finds out only after the first event so she asks the new teacher on the phone why she never sent her any flyers; the new teacher replies that she though my teacher would be away for the whole summer. Er?

Anyway, the new teacher then holds another hafla, which my teacher hears about (although she isn't informed about it directly) so she asks one of her students who is attending if she'd mind taking some of her flyers to put out at the event, with the organiser's permission. After the event, the student returns the flyers to my teachers as the organiser refused permission, saying that my teacher was "direct competition"; this is after agreeing that they should welcome this at each other's events at their first meeting.

Well, there is much, much more, not least the fact that this new teacher heralded her arrival with a newspaper article headed "A Belly Dance Teacher For 25 Years" when it emerged that she'd taught and performed belly dance in the UK for a year in the early '80s after working as an aerobics teacher in a Gulf country for a year, learnt "directly from the Arabs", had one lesson when she came back to the UK and then taught herself to dance from a book. She then had no contact with belly dancing for 20 years and decided to take it up again shortly before she appeared in the same town as my teacher (nowhere near where the new teacher lives, incidentally), by then taking classes with Jacqueline "Pencil In The Vagina" Chapman to "update her skills". This isn't hearsay, it was all in her own words, on another message board. Amazing how you can "teach yourself belly dance" by picking the brains of those with genuine experience on a message board. Don't know how to make a lesson plan (despite advertising yourself as a belly dance teacher for 25 years)? Ask the message board!

Now this teacher has many classes in the same area, including one right next door to where my teacher currently teaches, in the very same room where my teacher used to hold her annual hafla (which she's now abandoned as the whole situation has made her so depressed).

As far as I can see, the business of belly dance in the UK is thoroughly rotten, populated with two-faced megalomaniacs whom many people believe to be sweet, charming individuals and often the teachers with the biggest classes are those with the least talent or knowledge. Sorry for the long post, but I think the more we share these experiences the more people will realise what it can be like in the belly dance "community" and what you can find yourself up against if you're planning on becoming a teacher. Having talked to many people at many festivals around Europe, it seems that this sort of behaviour is everywhere. :(
 

Salome

Administrator
Sorry to say that I've heard many variations of that before and will undoubtedly hear them again (not about those particular people). That sucks!

Jacqueline "Pencil In The Vagina" Chapman
huh?
 

Aisha Azar

New member
Dance, etc.

Dear Suheir,
You could be describing, almost exactly, what has been going on in my city as well!! The only differences are that my company has made a huge attempt to call a meeting with all promoters in the area, so that we could figure out how to divide up the calendar year among dancers so that we are not stepping on each others' events. We even promised to do only two events a year ourselves if everyone else would agree to share the market. The one in our town has been dancing about 4 years; a fact that she does not state in her bio, and somehow has managed to learn and TEACH an amazing number of dances in that time...(???). She also seems to purposefully plan her events at the times that we have clearly and often stared that we will be scheduling our's, in March and October. We have tried to reason with her to no avail. She just accuses us of all the things she is doing... We now just try our best to work around her and no longer feel bad if we have to schedule an event two weeks before her's.
Regards,
A'isha
 

Aniseteph

New member
:shok: Blimey Suheir. If it's who I think, perhaps it's not so much a matter of the time spent in bellydance as the time spent in PR. I bet the ethics in the PR industry make bellydancers look like a bunch of lightweights.
 

Suheir

New member
:shok: Blimey Suheir. If it's who I think, perhaps it's not so much a matter of the time spent in bellydance as the time spent in PR. I bet the ethics in the PR industry make bellydancers look like a bunch of lightweights.
I think you just about hit the nail on the head!
 

Mya

New member
i don't know of any code, but maybe it's a matter of courtesy in small places where the market is limited. I mean, if it's a huge city with a large market, then i don't see any harm in having a different school every 2 blocks, no one is losing out in that case.
Perhaps if it is a small place though, an instructors may feel that another might understand and show the courtesy of not splitting the already tiny market in that place and putting them both in a position of going out of business.
I think as well that it depends on the "community" meaning what kind of relationship the instructors have. For example, my ex-instructor is insanely competitive - she has lost several of her more experienced dancers recently (myself included) for this reason. Two of the dancers that left now teach on their own - one actually started teaching in another city where she lives (on the opposite end of the island!), BEFORE she had joined our studio and another started teaching in a town outside of the city - a suburb if you will. This was a HUGE issue for my ex-instructor, even though these instructors weren't directly in her market space. On the other hand, the same girl teaching in the other city, teaches a second class now in the same studio that i do and we get along well enough.
So, all in all alot of it depends on the individuals themselves and how much they're focused on their own success as opposed to being fair to everyone in the community.

or maybe that's just the way i look at it.
Mya
 

Suheir

New member
So, all in all alot of it depends on the individuals themselves and how much they're focused on their own success as opposed to being fair to everyone in the community.

or maybe that's just the way i look at it.
I think you're right, Mya. Some people just have those dollar signs shining in their eyes.
 
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