I hope this is the right forum. I am desperately trying to get some advice form other ballroom dancers.
Isn't there a Code of Ethics for Ballroom Dance Instructors?
I was a student of a Male Ballroom Dance Instructor who solicited a large personal loan from me after only a few weeks of dance instruction. Unfortunately for me, I decided to loan him the money after listening to his story. Long story short, the loan was never paid back, I sued him, received a judgement against him in a court of law, and now the dance instructor decides to file for bankruptcy. This means that I have been taken advantage of by this dance instructor and I will never see my money again.
I am wanting to know if there is an organization where I can file a formal complaint against him. He does compete in many of the large national competitions. Should I file a complaint with these dance competition organizations? There has got to be a Code of Ethics that instructors must follow.
The instructor is the OWNER OF HIS STUDIO. He has no other instructors but himself, so there is no one I could send a complaint to. I only want to make sure this never happens to another woman. It is VERY sad that someone could do something like this and not have to pay any consequences. I don't know how he sleeps at night after doing something like this to a student, not to mention a widow. Very inappropriate, unprofessional and immoral.
I have contacted many dancers I know to tell them my story. I was really hoping I could contact the NDCA and they could suggest an appropriate action. I know he is a member of many of the professional dance organizations and I am sure they would be appalled by the actions of this teacher.
Because of this, I am not dancing any longer, and I had been dancing for 10 years.
I am so sorry to hear about your dreadful experience. Unfortunately, there is no official governing body that includes and ethics committee. The NDCA is the closest thing we have to a governing body, but all they really do is manage competitions in terms of when they take place, how long the judges should get breaks, etc. The only requirement any of us have to become members is to pay our yearly dues, so they really don't have any power to do anything to this guy.
If your goal is to keep other's from being swindled, I think your best bet is to harness the power of word of mouth and social media. Tell everyone you know about what happened and do the same on Facebook, Twitter, whatever. However, before you do any of this, have you spoken of this to the studio owner? Have they done anything to either help your situation or penalize the teacher? If you have, and they refuse to help, you can always review your experience on Yelp. Don't make claims about this person's character, just state the facts of what happened. I imagine you can't be sued for defamation of character for simply stating facts about a situation that actually happened and you have evidence of. Please bear in mind that I am NOT a lawyer, and you may want to ask about how that works.
I wish I had a better idea for you, but seeing as how there is no way to get your money back, it seems that the only thing you can do is try to keep others from having a similar experience. As a professional dance instructor myself, I am always hugely embarrassed to hear stories like this. Please do not let this one guy ruin dancing for you. He really is the exception to the rule. That being said, do be careful in the future and be sure to treat your student / teacher relationship like the business transaction that it is, as there really is no official recourse for you to take within the industry itself.
If what you say is true, why don't you just come out and mention his name in this forum? There is no reason to not to, if you truly want to warn others. Write an online review, talk about your lawsuit on local dance websites and social media as Lorena Bravo suggests. He is a conman and is counting on you keeping quiet. Don't be cowed by this jerk.
Sorry to hear this happened to you. This seems happen more frequently to students who pay way too far out into the future for lessons.
I know this does not help you now, but in this hobby never stock pile too many paid lessons that it would break the bank if the instructor ran out on you. If you lend money, do so with the expectation of never seeing it again. Some times as hard as the sob story that is spun to you may sound, stick to your guns that your policy is to NEVER lend money to anyone.
Dancing is a small world. Teachers who run out on students develop a reputation. Spread the word of what happened to you on all dance sites using his name. Help protect new students or anyone looking for a teacher.
I hope one day you will be able to go back into dancing. Not all dance teachers are sharks. But then again you also have to learn not to be an easy touch and bail them out of difficulties of their own making. I am learning to say NO to a of extra pre-paid lessons myself.
I hate to sound harsh, and I say this with the caveat that I only know what I read from your post, and there may be more to the story.
Whenever you loan money to someone, whether you are an individual or a bank, there is a fairly significant risk you won't be paid back. It seems obvious that the guy had other creditors too and was in a desperate situation since he filed for bankruptcy. As someone else has said, when you loan money to someone, think of it as if you would never see the money again. Of course you were trying to be nice and you probably felt sympathy for the guy and wanted to help. This is certainly understandable. But in such a case, I would only give the money over if I would be okay not seeing the money again.
As far as him being a ballroom dance instructor, I don't see the relevance. Someone else mentioned pre-payment of lessons, but you never said that's what you did. Did he imply that he would stop teaching you if you didn't loan him money? In what way did he use his professional position as your teacher to take advantage of you? If I loaned money to my gardener and didn't get paid back, would you say he was an unethical gardener? My point is: What does his being your former instructor have to do with his failure to pay you back, other than that being the way he came to know you?
I'll leave it up to you and any other individual to decide whether we should judge a person morally for getting themselves into financial trouble and being unable to pay their creditors (though this happens to average people every day), but you haven't made the case to me that the person's reputation as an instructor deserves to be dragged through the mud.
I'm truly sorry that this unfortunate situation happened to you. Let it be a lesson to us all to take care not to trust people too easily.
@terrier4581...There is more to this story....I had only lost my husband.dance partner to brain cancer a year before all this happened. The unethical issue is that he crossed boundaries with a student when he asked me for a personal loan. Yes, I kick myself every day for being so trusting and for allowing this to happen..I should have known better and should have listened to that little voice within me telling me not do it.
I heard his story and I felt bad for him. If he didn't get the loan he would lose his business and could no longer teach. I was led to believe he had a huge student base and that there would be no problem paying back the money. (I should have done my research and background check because now I know he has done this before). He went into a legal and binding contract with me to repay the money. I made the mistake of trusting an unscrupulous individual. I am not out of thousands of dollars, and have no dance instructor because I can't trust any of them anymore. This is very sad because there are MANY upstanding teachers out there and this particular ones ruins it for all. Did I mention he had had 2 years to pay me back, or at the least attempt to pay me back and didn't do so. I finally had no choice but to hire an attorney.
There is no excuse for his behavior, and I have no other recourse than to file a formal complaint so it doesn't happen to another student. I found this on the NDCA website;
NDCA Code of Ethics
II. Maintain a Professional Relationship A. A dance teacher respects a student's right to privacy and should focus on the business relationship – not the student's personal life. In most cases, conversations, behavior and results should remain confidential. If requested by the student , identity may be kept confidential as well. B. Physical contact should be professional and appropriate at all times during instruction. C. A dance teacher should never sexually, economically or otherwise exploit his or her professional relationship with a supervisor, employee, colleague, client or student. Furthermore, sexually oriented jesting and inappropriate physical contact should be avoided at all times. D. If the dance teacher is unable to maintain a professional relationship no matter why, then it is incumbent upon the dance teacher to either terminate the relationship or refer the student to an appropriate professional.
So name the name. His name, the name of his studio and the city and State where the studio was located. Write letters to AM inc. and FADS, the two major chains.
You might try calling your State attorney general. If fraud can be proven, and it might, this guy could go to jail for a while.
Me, I've seen this happen on several other occasions. Twice I tried to warn the students; I failed miserably both times. Neither woman could possibly believe that Mister Hotstuff would ever do anything like grab the money and never pay them back. One woman lost her life savings.
Although I would never suggest that you, personally try this because of the legalities involved, I know of one case where the woman told her son about her loss. The son gathered a few friends together and went to pay the instructor a visit. Her money was returned to her.
I realize this is older, but I really want to know where this was. If you don't want to name him then at least tell us the city. I am a dace instructor in Tennessee and I don't want people like this to give dance instructors a bad name. If you don't speak out then the dance community can do nothing. We are a self enforcing and word of mouth group industry. Its a relatively small community. We need to know where this is happening so we can warn our students and not be duped into this ourselves as we are all still students of dance at the end of the day.
Hello, I have a similar situation where the instructor made me pay in advance for lessons, dresses, pro-am competitions, registrations and fees. I paid more than one hundred and twenty five thousand dollars for something that never used. In a lawsuit now with the studio. Newton, MA.
I am sorry to hear about your situation. However, why would you front anyone so much money, whether the person is an instructor of dance, a house contractor, a personal trainer, a yoga instructor, a karate teacher, telephone solicitor, etc? Even many lawyers I know do not ask for retainers of this magnitude in ordinary cases. I don't believe that this type of situation is exclusively within the domain of dance studios and teachers. There also is a point when common sense should prevail when considering how much money to pay upfront for lessons, etc. In my opinion, pay as you go should be the rule of thumb or pay a modest amount upfront such that it all would be applied within 3 months at most. Again, I am sorry that this happened to you.