Friday, February 07, 2014

I have a question for you

Every year there are several workshops and shows in the Vancouver area put on by well-known dancers in our community. Typically a dance school will host the 'celebrity' who will teach individual classes or whole weekend retreats. Often the cost for a 2-4 hour workshop can be around $150, and a whole weekend is easily around $350 or more dollars. Plus the costs to travel to the show etc.

Last week it was announced that really 'famous' dancer was going to be coming to Victoria (which is on an island near Vancouver) -so not only would there be the costs for the workshop but you'd need  over $200 for the ferry to get to/from the island plus hotel and food etc.

Why am I telling you all this? To give you an idea of the costs associated with one weekend training workshop. By the time all these costs add up, I knew that I couldn't afford to go. But  apparently my instructor had also mentioned that she couldn't afford to go so one of the wealthier students felt that since our instructor always shares what she's learned with her students, that she would front the money for the weekend seminar and then asked us to help her with the costs.

Multiple students committed to giving $50 so our instructor could go to the seminar. Any extra money donated would be given to our instructor to help pay her hotel and food etc. Based on rough estimate of those who said they'd pay, I'm sure the goal was met.

But I am on the fence about this - what do you think? The dance school is a business. We pay money to come to class each week - now we're asked to pay for our instructor's training? You wouldn't see that anywhere else would you? Would you pay your dentist or doctor for training so they'll be able to look after you better?

I know there is a strong sense of caring and support for everyone in the dance group and I'm not for or against one side or the other - I am just curious as to what you think of this scenario.


Laoch of Chicago said...

I would not subsidize unless the instructor was my actual friend and I was thus doing it as gift. I would not interfere, though, with others who wanted to spend their discretionary income sending the woman to a seminar.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Excellent question. Well set up. Like the comparison. there is no right answer.

Different fields have different traditions and business models. Ancient doctors were paid by donation. Currently dentists and doctors have raised their craft to a high level of both service and risk management so they have established significant fees to cover the costs of their ongoing learning.

In fields of spiritual development there still remains the donation or begging bowl. They don't know how to price their service and rely on help from their students.

So I can argue in both directions. It comes to what your studio is. Is it a business? If so then the fees should be designed for instructor development. Is the instructor independent and gets paid a wage and trying to make a go of it? then why not help her develop. you benefit.

To this day the arts remain unable to come up with an adequate pricing model and the vast majority of them rely on donations.

The harsh economist in me says let them die. The compassionate side says they don't have a talent for business and we are richer for their art, support them. I tend to this attitude with regard to dancing. I don't expect them to be savvy business people.




Way Out Wear said...

Thank you for the replies. I did give her some money. And since she knows we all chipped in she is honoured and humbled and I'm positive she will share what she's learned that weekend.