Forum: Competitions

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What does your SO do for the teachers who attend competitions?
By Cdnmommy
On Fri Aug 19, 2011 11:28 AM
Edited by Cdnmommy (239527) on 2011-08-19 11:29:14 spelling

Hi there, I've finally registered here. I've been reading on these great forums for some time now and have decided to join in!

I am a dance mom and a teacher of comp routines at our studio, it's fairly small (we have about 20 comp routines this year) and we typically go to 3-4 comps per season.

My question to you as teachers (or SO) is when you travel to competitions does your studio pay for your hotel/gas to get there?

My daughter dances on the comp team in about 5 numbers so I would have to be a the comp for her even if I wasn't a teacher, however my issue is that I'm working the entire time we're there so don't really have any time to enjoy the comp as a parent. However, my SO doesn't pay for my hotel or gas (in fact she charges her gas fees to the comp team parents). She used to pay for her previous teacher's hotel room (but the difference is that her old teacher had no children so she just stayed in the same room as the SO).

Is this normal for studios? Maybe I'm wrong for feeling a little put out by this. If you have any information I would greatly appreciate your input.

Thanks so much in advance.

27 Replies to What does your SO do for the teachers who attend competitions?

re: What does your SO do for the teachers who attend competitions?
By pointeisflying
On Fri Aug 19, 2011 12:39 PM
I don't have any children, so I can't answer from that point of view. But, we get reimbursed for gas, hotel and food for away competitions. You should get reimbursed for your expenses. I mean, you could send your daughter with another family and the SO would be short handed so it's only right.
re: What does your SO do for the teachers who attend competitions?
By longlegs424
On Fri Aug 19, 2011 12:41 PM
I am the SO-- all of our competitions are local- we don't participate in any nationals so hotels are not an an issue for us--

I base what I do depending on how long teachers show up for... I do 99% of our competition choreography so I am there start to finish of the weekend. My lyrical choreographer always comes for her numbers which was required of her when she was hired to choreograph.

Other teachers at the studio are encouraged to come to support the girls- so if they do come, and are there for more than an hour I add a little bonus to their paycheck.
re: What does your SO do for the teachers who attend competitions?
By val21gal
On Fri Aug 19, 2011 12:49 PM
I am an SO, there is no way I could afford to pay for the teacher's food, hotel, etc. The only way to justify this is if the comp. fees are up-charged enough to cover this (the parents are paying for the teacher to attend the comp).

We don't attend any comps. just comps. with an attached convention. If my teacher was competing a dance at the convention, I would pay her for her time what I pay her to help at the recitals which is not much at all. I would probably give a little bonus because I know that would not even cover her gas to get there. There is no way I could pay for her hotel though.

It gets trickier though when the teacher is a mom. I used to have a teacher that was a mom and I didn't even pay her to help at the shows because...she wasn't really helping! Yes, she was backstage, but 80% of the time she was attending to her own children. It sounds like that's not the case with you at the comps so it's not unreasonable for you to be paid for your time there. But gas, food, hotel etc. that's a lot to ask for and you would be going anyway.
re: What does your SO do for the teachers who attend competitions?
By Cdnmommy
On Fri Aug 19, 2011 01:04 PM
Thank you for the replies and information. I am always at the competitions from the start to the finish, regardless of when my daughter dances. When my husband comes with us he is in charge of her the entire weekend (other than getting her ready of course, I could only imagine what her hair/make up would look like if he did it - YIKES!), I might manage to squeeze in a meal with them once over the course of 2-4 days. When he doesn't come I usually bring her with me for everything or have to ask another parent to watch over her (they don't mind as the girls always want to be together anyways, but I always hate to ask).

The rest of the time I am with my groups and/or SO's groups to assist with props, check ins etc.

I would be more than happy if the SO would either pay me for my working hours, OR my hotel fees. I don't expect both (as I do have to go for part of the weekend for my daughert) but I do feel that I should be compensated for something. I work hard when I'm there.

It's a rather touchy situation as we have been friends for many years so we have a personal relationship so I find it difficult to approach her about things like this. I love the studio and find she's great to work for so don't want to "rock the boat".
re: What does your SO do for the teachers who attend competitions?
By tutujazzy
On Fri Aug 19, 2011 05:05 PM
I guess it would depend on if she gives you a discount on tuition, competition fees, costumes? If you are paying full price for your dd on competition and tuition, then I think you are being taken advantage of.
re: What does your SO do for the teachers who attend competitions?
By dancerasa
On Fri Aug 19, 2011 05:34 PM
I've often wondered what others do. I'm a teacher who ALWAYS has major numbers in competition and I am often there all weekend. I usually have to give up $3-500 at my other job for this.......and usually get nothing :(
re: What does your SO do for the teachers who attend competitions?
By missliz404
On Fri Aug 19, 2011 06:58 PM
Edited by missliz404 (171273) on 2011-08-19 19:01:26
My SO pays us $6 an hour at competitions, but that's just out of the goodness of her heart. The parents basically pay for most of my weekend. SO lets me require about $50 from each dancer (about 15-20 kids), most of which is tacked onto their costume/comp fees. We only do two regional competitions, but they are both about an hour away and my husband and I like to stay in hotels for the weekend since the schedules can be all over the place (Ex: A few numbers on Friday, two on Saturday morning, four in the evening in the evening, a few more on Sunday). The parents' fees pay for most of my hotel and meals, and whatever my SO pays me covers gas. Nationals are optional, and they will require higher teacher travel fees.

I am also the director of the Showteam, which is the less competitive team. I'm sure the directors of our main competitive teams charge higher fees. Every teacher/director should get paid for their labor, and goodness knows competition is labor. Yes, it is fun and we love going, or we wouldn't do it. However, it is very physically and emotionally demanding, and I don't think it should be done for free. The fees may vary based on each studio's circumstances (I live in a high-income area, so $50 per dancer has never been a problem.), but I believe every teacher should get paid BY THE PARENTS, who should know what they are getting into when they start something like this. Most studio funds are tight, so I don't believe this is the SO's responsibility. Like I said, my SO does it more as a gift/bonus, but I certainly don't think she is obligated to. I don't feel like I'm on her clock; I'm on the parents' clock, working for them, so THEY should be the ones to pay me.

I would definately talk to your SO about charging your parents travel fees. The easiest way to do it is to tack it on to costume and comp fees.
re: What does your SO do for the teachers who attend competitions?
By hummingbird
On Fri Aug 19, 2011 08:57 PM
I'm a mum and a teacher, I was until this year anyway, my daughter is teaching with me this year.

In one of my studios I get a 50% discount on classes my child takes, the others are non profit making so I got no discount. At competitions the non profit studios both paid some of the fees for my daughters entries.

One pays me a flat rate for an out of town competitions plus my accommodation if it's needed, the other paid me by the hour but at a vastly lower rate than my teaching rate, which is only fair because I'm not teaching, plus my accommodation.

With the business studio I pay all of the competition fees but I get a competition rate of pay per hour whilst I'm at local events. If I want to go with my students to an out of town competition, I pay my own way :( but the SO is always there.
re: What does your SO do for the teachers who attend competitions?
By tumblebugPremium member
On Fri Aug 19, 2011 09:02 PM
When I was a teacher for a studio we were paid a flat 2 hours pay for the day. We were expected to be there as long as the 'studio' was there start to finish. The SO did not cover our gas because she said we could always hitch a ride with a parent but I never felt comfortable doing this. I believe the studio covered half of the hotel room but we were expected to room with another parent to cover the other half.
re: What does your SO do for the teachers who attend competitions?
By missliz404
On Fri Aug 19, 2011 10:13 PM
tumblebug wrote:

The SO did not cover our gas because she said we could always hitch a ride with a parent but I never felt comfortable doing this. I believe the studio covered half of the hotel room but we were expected to room with another parent to cover the other half.


Oh my, what a TERRIBLE idea. I'm sorry, but any SO should know better than this, especially the hotel thing! Bad, bad, bad. I did it my first year of competing when I directed my own company at a daycare, and it was HORRIBLE. The mom got lost in the city, we arrived late everywhere, I couldn't go to the restaurants I wanted, she yelled at her kid the whole time, and it made other kids and parents on the team jealous. I felt awful and unprofessional the whole time. I never did it again. The ONLY good thing about it was that I saved quite a bit on hotel fees and gas, but it was sooooooo not worth it. That mom started to look at me as her buddy, more of a colleague or an assistant who deserved special favors. It couldn't have been more wrong. I can't believe an SO would even allow this, let alone require it.

Sorry, not trying to hijack, but I'm a huge advocate for maintaining boundaries and keeping your privacy at competitions. It serves a big purpose, and the damage done from not keeping those boundaries will come back to bite.

Even though you are a mom and probably more friendly with the other moms than most teachers would be, I would still suggest you not go this route.
re: What does your SO do for the teachers who attend competitions? (karma: 1)
By Dream_chaserPremium member
On Fri Aug 19, 2011 11:47 PM
As a teacher, I was paid, and as an SO, I paid my staff. Why does it put you out? If the teachers have to be there to support and rehearse the kids, and give up free time, they should be paid.

I do not know of other jobs that require you to come to work and not pay for the time.

My team parents knew of all costs, up front, and knew that included paying for the teachers to be there.

In ballroom competitions, the students pay for the teachers' costs, too. Remember, being on a team is a choice and if it is too much to afford, then it's okay if kids do not belong to competition teams, yes?

Honestly, once the kids are past a certain age, the parents should be able to relax a bit, because the kids should know how to dress and do make up and hair. When they are small, no. By the time my daughter was 12, I only assisted her a bit.

At least you do not have to pay to get in, to watch, I hope. I know that when I competed, not only were there fees, but fees for spectators, parents included.
re: What does your SO do for the teachers who attend competitions?
By taps2much
On Sat Aug 20, 2011 01:36 AM
Are you an employee? An independent contractor? Are you REQUIRED to be there outside of your parental obligations for your child being on the team (above and beyond what any other team members guardian)?

How much are you involved in teaching the competition dances? Did you choreograph them? Are you the only teacher or main teacher for those numbers? Most of these things do matter as far as the studios responsibility for compensation.

I am not trying to be a crazy person and ask too many questions, but the more information known, the better responses can be given.

I do not know if this is the case (and please don't be offended if it is not), but several parents go above and beyond the actual parental obligations. Unless the details are negotiated and any contract is agreed upon for compensation (and signed...Always protect yourself!) there is no reason to assume you are not volunteering your time and services.

oh I am pretty sure people are going to hate me for this response...
re: What does your SO do for the teachers who attend competitions?
By ozriella
On Sat Aug 20, 2011 08:31 AM
I don't have any kids that dance, but I am a teacher who attends competitions.
My SO pays for everything. There are 3 teachers who choreograph for competition. We usually ride together, but the SO will reimburse the driver for gas. If we're staying over night at a hotel, she will pay for it. Again, we all share a room, but it is paid for. She also pays us for our time at the comp. It's not our usual teaching rate (much less), but she pays us for those hours. Obviously she couldn't afford to pay us our regular rate since we are all there about 12 hours each day. I appreciate what she does pay us. She also will pay for our lunch during the day and our dinner if we are staying overnight at a hotel.

We are REQUIRED to be at the competitions.

I would have a hard time being told I HAD to work, I would not get paid for it, AND I HAD to pay for my own travel expenses. I would be losing money by working!!
re: What does your SO do for the teachers who attend competitions?
By Cdnmommy
On Sat Aug 20, 2011 08:01 PM
taps2much wrote:

Are you an employee? An independent contractor? Are you REQUIRED to be there outside of your parental obligations for your child being on the team (above and beyond what any other team members guardian)?

How much are you involved in teaching the competition dances? Did you choreograph them? Are you the only teacher or main teacher for those numbers? Most of these things do matter as far as the studios responsibility for compensation.

I am not trying to be a crazy person and ask too many questions, but the more information known, the better responses can be given.

I do not know if this is the case (and please don't be offended if it is not), but several parents go above and beyond the actual parental obligations. Unless the details are negotiated and any contract is agreed upon for compensation (and signed...Always protect yourself!) there is no reason to assume you are not volunteering your time and services.

oh I am pretty sure people are going to hate me for this response...


Oh no, I don't hate you for that response don't be silly, they are great questions. I am the only teacher and choreographer of those routines, the only other teacher/choreographer for the studio is the SO and she does her classes and I do mine. She does not know the routines for my classes any more than I know them for hers. We've never actually had the conversation or signed a contract about competition (or anything, it's pretty low key), it is just assumed that I will be there (I would never dream of sending my students without being there to help them). The first year I taught (2 seasons ago) I only did a couple comp classes and we shared a room with the SO so she did pay for the room at that time, however she has children who dance so her husband came to the competitions last year so we had to get our own room and therefore had to pay for it.
re: What does your SO do for the teachers who attend competitions?
By AcroDancermember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Sat Aug 20, 2011 08:18 PM
No. We as teachers pay our own travel expenses. Hotel, gas and so on. I ususally will room with another teacher or on of the parents and we will split the cost of hotel and gas.
re: What does your SO do for the teachers who attend competitions?
By Lindance
On Sun Aug 21, 2011 05:54 PM
Well we do not go to competitions out of New England, so this is not a problem. But, my instructors get paid for all the time they spend choreographing the pieces. Not to go to competition, but it isn't mandatory either.
re: What does your SO do for the teachers who attend competitions?
By Tap_Dance_Kid
On Sun Aug 21, 2011 10:13 PM
Our local regional competitions (3-4 per year) are anywhere from 15-50 miles away. Our national competitions (1 per year) can range from 120-300 miles away.

We are expected to be at the regional competitions to watch our groups perform, but are not required to attend nationals.

We are not compensated for our time, mileage, gas, hotel, food or time.
re: What does your SO do for the teachers who attend competitions?
By taps2much
On Sun Aug 21, 2011 10:36 PM
I am an independent contractor and used to go to competitions/conventions, though I do not work with a competition group anymore. I did not have a child on the team or with me at competitions. My room was shared with other teachers, completely paid for as well as a per diem for food and compensation for the week/weekend (though less than my usual compensation). During my time teaching we never went anywhere that required a plane ticket or more than 3 hours travel. I was never compensated for gas, travel time or mileage. I was on call or working 75% of the time. I was not required to go, but would never think of sending my dancers to compete without me there to encourage them (I was the teacher and choreographer for many numbers).
re: What does your SO do for the teachers who attend competitions?
By idanceergosum
On Mon Aug 22, 2011 03:03 PM
Dream_chaser wrote:

I do not know of other jobs that require you to come to work and not pay for the time.


Excellent point! I do not have a competition perspective but as a dance instructor at multiple studios (some profit and some non) throughout the years, I have never had to pay tuition or recital fees. I've only had to cover costumes, tights, etc. Personally, I would look elsewhere if I wasn't being compensated for my time at competition (especially knowing that the previous teacher's hotel cost was covered).
re: What does your SO do for the teachers who attend competitions?
By Dream_chaserPremium member
On Mon Aug 22, 2011 03:41 PM
Agreed, and if any of you do go, to support your kids, and are not paid, go and watch. Honestly. Let the SO do all of the work.

When I was first in comps, and could not pay salary to teachers, I paid their expenses and made it optional, but then I rehearsed the kids.

I also paid teachers for extra rehearsals, if needed and charged students/parents for them.
re: What does your SO do for the teachers who attend competitions?
By Roxxi
On Mon Aug 22, 2011 08:51 PM
We usually only do 1 out of town competition each season and my SO pays for everything. We dont get paid for attending but she does cover everything else. We usually only have 3-4 teachers that attend so we share a room and carpool but she covers gas, food, hotel and even parking. A few years ago we were incharge of all costs but since our studio has grown its been easier for her to take care of us!
re: What does your SO do for the teachers who attend competitions?
By PMDDancer89
On Mon Aug 29, 2011 08:46 PM
This seems so foreign to me. I have worked with a comp team for almost 7 years now and have always been compensated for travel, hotel, expenses, and been paid a flat rate per day for all of our competitions.
re: What does your SO do for the teachers who attend competitions?
By mm_dancer
On Mon Aug 29, 2011 10:10 PM
I get nothing for coming to competition, I find my own way there are my own accommodations (a parent graciously drove me and let me stay with them for free last season) I pack my own cooler full of food to keep down my costs and for convenience as you never know how long the lunch/dinner breaks are going to be and where they fall compared to my numbers. Now it has never been stated that I HAVE to come to comps, but I would like to be there to rehearse and support my numbers (especially because the SO has decided that rehearsing routines right before they go on won't do anything, they won't remember any corrections, which IMO is not why we rehearsal anyhow, but a story for another day...)
So last season I went with this parent and their child (who I am actually friends with outside of dance as well) and the one comp they did not dance at all on Saturday and were not going to the venue at all, I was fine with that as last year her daughter was in all my comp numbers, so also meant that none of my routines went that day either. So in conversation with my SO it came up that I would not be at the venue on sat, and she said "well am I going to need you sat", implying that she did in face 'need' me there. This started me thinking long and hard about my lack of compensation for coming to comp, no accommodations covered, no travel covered, no time covered, no food covered....
re: What does your SO do for the teachers who attend competitions?
By DancerTonitePremium member
On Tue Aug 30, 2011 11:28 AM
In the last 10 years I have never been paid or reimbursed for any competition related expenses. I am paid for the competition pieces that I choreograph and teach.

I am expected to be at regionals to support and warm up my kids. Though I do not have to stay for the entire team performances, I do make an effort to be there for the others as well. I am not required to attend nationals, but I have in the past as long as I can swing the $$$. While at nationals, I usually attend almost everything in support of the team.

All that being said, I do find it annoying at times because I feel like the expectation is way out of alignment - since I do not get paid for this time. It is time away from my family, and it easily annoys the hubby if I am away from the house too much without getting compensated. He thinks its ridiculous.

However, there are so many other things that are inherent with being a dance teacher, that you do not usually get paid for...run-thrus, dress rehearsals, picture day...that's all included in the wage that we make as teachers. Similar to all that unpaid time school teachers spend making lesson plans and grading papers. Its part of what you sign up to do as far as I'm concerned.

Really, I think it would just be nice if my SO was organized enough to just take all the teachers to dinner at Nationals. Just one evening when we can all get together - no parents, no kids, and no job talk...just some drinks and good food. That I would appreciate, and would not mind the cost of the travel.
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