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#421462 - 08/10/09 09:39 PM Practice Time
Christie Offline

Registered: 07/12/05
Posts: 872
Loc: Waterloo, ON
There has been some uproar recently at my dance studio, and I am not sure exactly where I stand on the issue. It has been difficult to dicuss this with anyone because they are too preoccupied with their anger. I thought I'd pose the question to you guys in a neutral place as the same could apply to a martial arts school as a dance studio. This is the situation:

You sign up for martial arts lessons at the school of your choice. On the registration form you signed (not a binding contract with an expiration date, just a student information form, basic rules and regulations and a if you get hurt it is not our fault disclaimer) part of the situplations on the document you signed was that the school was open to students for practice for free during times there were no classes going on.

You do not pay a certain amount per month, what you pay for instead is a certain number of weeks of group lessons (where you can go as little or as often as you want to in a week), a certain number of private lessons (which you can schedule as often or as sparse as you want), a certain number of supervised practices (SPs).

When your weeks/privates/SPs run out you have the option of purchasing more but it is not obligatory. They also never expire; you can show up for two weeks, disappear for two months, and come back and lose nothing you previously paid for.

One day you show up to your supervised practice and there is a notice taped to the door with a change; you must now pay $10 everytime you wish to use the school to practice. There was no prior notice that the manager was thinking of making this change, no explanation, and no formal announcement (during regular times when announcments are made orally or in the monthly newsletter).

I'm conflicted with what I think of this, I'll leave my thoughts to after some people comment so I don't lead the discussion. A note about the studio that we dance in; practice times would be shared amoung other students and instructors giving private lessons, the $10 would not give you exclusive access, or instructor guidance.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts!

#421488 - 08/11/09 02:03 PM Re: Practice Time [Re: Christie]
MattJ Offline
Free Rhinoplasty!

Registered: 11/25/04
Posts: 15634
Loc: York PA. USA
I don't think they can change the rates without voiding the previous contract, but that would be something for you to consult with a lawyer in your area.
"In case you ever wondered what it's like to be knocked out, it's like waking up from a nightmare only to discover it wasn't a dream." -Forrest Griffin

#421519 - 08/13/09 12:52 AM Re: Practice Time [Re: MattJ]
hope Offline

Registered: 07/12/09
Posts: 149
Loc: Vancouver, B.C.
I wonder -- have you spoken to the instructors / managers about this sudden decision? What did they say?
Situation sounds bad, but all that anger might be wasted if there was a sudden/emergent/understandable reason behind this new policy.
If not, well, there's plenty of time to call a lawyer...
God grant me a good sword and no use for it. -- Polish proverb

#421534 - 08/13/09 10:32 AM Re: Practice Time [Re: Christie]
Ames Offline

Registered: 05/29/05
Posts: 1117
If you have a contract that has locked you into a rate, then that rate shouldn't be adjusted. But at the same time, in the fine print, most of these contracts are really one-sided essentially allowing the gym to jack the rates for the slightest reason. I would look at the fine print, and try to determine if you have agreed to them having the right to change the rates.

"Seek not to follow in the footsteps of the men of old; seek what they sought."

#421561 - 08/14/09 12:32 PM Re: Practice Time [Re: Ames]
Christie Offline

Registered: 07/12/05
Posts: 872
Loc: Waterloo, ON
I was out of the country when this happened however a friend of mine, another student, did speak to the manager and this is what she found out:

ok, so i spoke to michel last night.

it seems that many students have been trying to practice for free with partners from other studios. also, many people have been there for hours on end (2-3 hours plus) to practice.

on top of that, some students apparently have been messing with the sound system whilst sharing the floors with private lessons.

now, i do not know who the particular students in question are, but my understanding is that michel will charge those who are having "serious" practice sessions, which means considerable use of space and the usage of the sound system.

he explained if it's just a half hour or a little bit longer WHILE the studio is open, as in he needs to be there, because there are things he needs to do there or if another staff member is there, and you're just in a small space practicing (for example, reviewing your steps for a half hour before your private or something like that), he does not think that constitutes grounds to charge a floor fee.

however, in light of recent events, where couples wanted him to come in early, or stay late, even when there were no administrative tasks/lessons going on, and when people started bringing non-CBDS students to practice, he has decided to charge a floor fee since he should be compensated for his time. this i find acceptable, regardless of what others think.

in defense of michel, he did apologize for the lack of professionalism in the way the change was made.

so in summary:

1. if you are just practicing steps in a corner for a little bit, not really disturbing anyone or requiring use of a sound system, you will not be charged for floor time. you cannot abuse this privilege, as some people have been staying for hours and hours on end. also, this must not disrupt the private lessons or whatever else is going on.

2. you will be charged for floor time if you require use of the sound system and/or considerable space, and/or if you require michel or another member of the staff to keep the studio open when there are no lessons/administrative-office tasks to be completed. this i feel is fair, as it is economic compensation for his having to be there.

3. for those of you who wish to save money, you should speak directly to michel. i'm quite sure you can get a couple discount or something like that.

4. he will make an official announcement regarding the change, nor will people be charged this week.

5. i now do not feel too strongly about it, since i know the rationale. i also remind everyone that the studio fee is a lot cheaper at CBDS than elsewhere. although it is unfortunate that we need to start paying, we do need to compensate michel if he needs to extend his business hours.

6. this change was caused by many students abusing their practice privilege with those outside the studio and/or requiring the use of the music & sound system, as well as the added administrative costs.

I find myself siding with the instructor. Demanding that one's free practice time include requesting the instructor stay after hours, access to the sound system even when other groups and privates are going on, and practicing for hours on end seems really selfish to me.

Resistance to change can be so damaging sometimes. My dance school was the only one in Montreal that offered free practice time, and now that the rules have been changed people are outraged that they don't have an overly nice dance instructor to abuse anymore.

The situation only makes me shake my head.


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