Loyalty to a studio


Hi all! This is just a quick post because I have to leave for class in an hour! It’s actually a topic I’ve been wanting to write about for a while, but never really found the inspiration/push to write it – until now! I got a phone call an hour ago and it was from somebody who got my number from a friend (which friend??) Β & sheΒ wanting to hire me for a hen party (bachelorette party). Without thinking I told her that she would have to phone Frieda, my teacher, because she handles bookings. The woman then asked me if she couldn’t just book me through me? I told her that I don’t handle those things and proceeded to give her Frieda’s number. When I put the phone down, it struck me again how fiercely loyal I am to out studio.

There are often moments where I realise that I’m so loyal to my studio I think I’d feel guilty attending classes if I moved! haha! On Shira.net she writes about loyalty in a studio, and we don’t agree on this point. πŸ™‚ I think that there is a certain amount of loyalty that a dancer has to show to the studio. In our studio, we’re asked to sign a contract if we move to an advanced/intermediate class and it simply states that we won’t attend studios within a certain amount of kms (kilometers) surrounding our studio while we’re still a part of Maya Studio (ours) and that the teacher will do her best to educate us correctly in Middle Eastern Dance, etc, etc. I understand if somebody wants to move because they’re not learning anymore but at this point, I’m actually learning with my teacher which is nice because although she’s been dancing for a lot longer, I feel more “equal” to her than any other teacher around. Also, we’re asked not to teach our studio dances to other people because that’s just NOT on!! I’m really keen to hear what your views are on loyalty to a studio — let me know in the comments!!

Also, my friend who wanted to join classes has joined! But with a studio closer to where she and I live 😦 When I started bellydance we never had a studio in our town, so I drive 20minutes to get to my classes. I’m a bit disappointed that my friend won’t be joining classes with us at the moment because we can’t choreograph together (what studio do we put it under??) or do costuming together because her new teacher is getting them to pay a certain amount and then they’ll get their costumes made. Which isn’t an idea I’m mad about because one style does NOT suit all! I think it would be nicer to have a colour scheme and then it’s up to the dancer how she makes her costume/gets it made. But my friend seems to be enjoying it πŸ™‚ And she said that she does want to do fusion so she might come to us eventually. Personally, I think she wants a little bit of doing it on her own first without me. πŸ™‚ Which I can understand because of the need to be independent!

On a happier note! πŸ™‚ My grandparents are visiting for a while and my gran brought down some jewellery for me! A set of earrings and a necklace which are STUNNING!! I love them! I really do love this old vintage style stuff… And then I asked me gran if she has any lace tablecloths or something similar that she doesn’t want that I could perhaps use? So my mom says she has one that’s getting holes in it, so she gets it out of the cupboard and I immediately cut a hole in the middle and used it as a ‘floof’! πŸ™‚ I am happy now… πŸ™‚

The pretty necklace...

Pretty earrings!

Vintage floof - open (blurry pic because my mom took it!) πŸ™‚

Vintage floof closed!

Let me know what your thoughts are on loyalty and my new things! πŸ™‚

Also, tell me if there is a topic you want me to cover? Would love to know!

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8 comments

  1. Hey lady,

    Beautiful ‘floof’ and jewellery!

    The concept of studio loyalty is pretty weird to me, honestly. I can understand why this benefits a teacher, which in turns makes it easier for her to maintain her studio, which ultimately can be of benefit to the students but… I don’t really think it is of that much benefit to the student.

    It seems odd to me to have to sign up to an agreement not to go to another dance studio while studying with your current one. There are so many different styles of bellydance and different styles of teaching that your experience as a student will probably be much broader and better if you were “allowed” to go to more than one studio at a time.

    Gosh, even the idea of ones’ teacher having that much control over what you do outside of your class time with them strikes me as really bizarre.

    Now I think keeping choreographies in-house is fine. They are the intellectual copyright of whoever created them so it’s not really cool to go sharing that around.

    Just my two cents

    Shelley x

    1. Hey Shelley πŸ™‚

      Just replying because it seems as though everybody is on the attack today! You can read my reply to Habiba below as well because that clears it up a bit.
      My teacher has no ‘control’ over me. I still class myself as an intermediate dancer (despite being part of the advanced group because I still have loads to learn) so I don’t think I have the skill and ability to do a show by myself, hence why I immediately gave this lady my teachers number. It’s just like I wouldn’t buy a bra with “nipple tassels” and I’d be aware of bra “eyes” or weird crotch embellishments because we’ve been warned as to how these can look from a stage perspective. It’s that same “control” then as me giving out her number.
      Hope this clears things up a bit? πŸ™‚

      1. Hey lady, sorry you’re feeling under attack! I was/am intensely curious about your situation and (if I’m honest) a bit weirded out by it. But I didn’t mean to make *you* feel attacked, and I’m really sorry if I did.

        I think for myself (and possibly Habiba) the idea of students making any sort of contract with their studio (‘loyalty’, ‘exclusivity’ or otherwise) is a completely alien concept. It’s just not something that’s done here at all. The most I’ve seen is a martial arts studio where you agree to follow the club rule (about uniform, timeliness etc) and also to not bring the club into disrepute.

        I think it’s cool that you are self-aware enough to shy away from something you think you’re not able to do adequately yet, and putting someone in touch with your teacher seems more (to me) like acknowledging your limitations and passing the torch onto someone you respect will fulfil the job. Or at least that how it seems now, as you’ve written it in response to me. When I read your blog initially it almost sounded like you referred them on because you ‘had to’ due to your studio contract. My mistake.

        *hugs*

  2. How can it be possible that a teacher can expect exclusivity from a dance student? This does not inspire loyalty, only fear – that without compliance you will lose your right to an education? If any dance is to be considered an art form than a student should be compelled to train hard, to study and gain inspiration from many teachers and find her own path, identity and self expression. A teacher who seeks only to mould her students into her own image should not call herself so. These actions only serve to limit creativity, freedom of expression, and enlightenment.

    1. I feel like I need to set this straight… my teacher has never forced us to sign the contracts, she told us to read through them and then if we agree with the conditions then we should sign them. It was merely to protect ourselves, more than for her. In the contract her words were “As the dancer you… will promise not to have any loyalties to any studio within Xkms radius” — So we’re not BANNED from attending other studios, it’s just that our loyalties lie with our ‘base’ studio.
      I also never said that my teacher doesn’t allow others to teach us — in fact we have 2 teachers at the studio and then we still attend workshops and get people in who do something which we don’t. In fact, our contracts also states that the teacher will “See each dancer as unique and will encourage her and assist her to grow in her own dancing abilities” which I think is a good thing to aspire to, don’t you?

  3. Love the jewellery and skirt esp!

    Re Shira’s article- I agree with her completely. However, there are cases where it is not appropriate to dance with another studio. For eg, in my case when I was teaching for Ishtar I understand Maya not wanting to teach me due to conflict of interest with choreographies etc. But if a student wants to take classes with more than one studio for different styles and specialities (lets face it- some teachers are better at certain things than others) I dont see why it should be a problem. It is like taking a workshop- you go to learn from another person’s specific area of expertise. However, stealing choreographies is another matter entirely which is why i think Maya has this in their contract. I think it is shocking that you saw another studio performing your dance- but this is an EXTREMELY poor reflection on that studio, and they should be highly embarrassed.

    Lara and I do events together and sometimes I do them on my own- the agreement is that I will not perform choreograhies that Layali does or has put together.

    BTW- check your Gmail- sent you an email about workshops πŸ™‚

  4. When we perform as a part of our troupe, we’re asked one thing. “If you get asked for your number – even if it’s a cute guy asking you out – give them the details of the shop.”
    It’s protection for the teacher from us absconding and protection for us from “the wrong sort of show”. And it makes sense. Oh and if it’s someone who’s just after a date, well, then at least you’ve got a “service” to help you get rid of them if you’re not interested!!!

    Loyalty to a studio means a lot too. You build up relationships and trust and support from others who understand you. I don’t think being locked out of any other teacher is a good way to do it – if you’ve selected your teacher correctly, then that shouldn’t be an issue really, but it’s interesting to see other’s perspectives on it.

    Btw – great bits!

  5. Alexandra

    There are certainly cultural differences at play. My words are only general comments about the issue that I felt I wanted to express in a particular way. They are not meant to be a personal attack on either you or your teacher. And of course there are complexities of your own situation that I cannot know about. I am only drawing on my own experience – that over many years training I have come across a small number of controlling teachers who are not able to let their students chose their own path. And with these individuals in mind, this is how I chose to respond.

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