Dance Drills

The Ultimate Guide to Keeping Your Students Loyal and Happy

Not a week goes by without someone telling me a brand new dancer showed up in town and is taking all their students. It’s like a dance version of The Hunger Games, with instructors fighting for the attention and loyalty of their students. But in this case, the prize is not a shiny trophy, but a steady flow of income.

So, who are these student-stealing culprits, and how can you survive in this cutthroat dance world? Let’s break it down.


The student who thinks they’re advanced and takes all your students


Ah, the student who thinks they’re too cool for school. They strut into your studio with their shiny new moves and start stealing your students faster than you can say “cha-cha-cha.” But fear not, my fellow instructors. Remember, dance is not just about flashy moves but also about connection and style. So, stay true to your teaching philosophy and let your passion shine through. Your students will see the difference and stick around for the long haul.


The instructor you hired as part of your staff


You thought you struck gold when you hired this instructor to join your team. But little did you know that they had their own hidden agenda. They start poaching your students and even worse, try to steal your thunder. So, what can you do? Firstly, communicate your expectations and boundaries clearly from the start. Secondly, nurture a positive team culture where everyone feels valued and supported. And finally, never underestimate the power of a good contract.


The instructor you brought to your city to hire them, you introduce them to your students.


You were so excited to bring this new instructor to your city and show off their skills to your students. But lo and behold, they start luring your students away with promises of more advanced classes and exclusive events. So, how can you avoid this? Firstly, vet your instructors thoroughly before bringing them on board. Secondly, establish a clear contract and agreement that outlines the terms of their employment. And finally, create a culture of loyalty and respect within your studio.


The instructor who goes to socials and starts talking to your students. The guy who dances with your girl students


Ah, the social scene. It’s a breeding ground for drama and competition. You might think your students are safe within your studio walls, but once they step out into the social world, anything can happen. So, how can you protect your students? Firstly, educate them on how to navigate the social scene safely and respectfully. Secondly, create a code of conduct for your studio that includes guidelines on social behavior. And finally, always be present and involved in the social scene to ensure that your students feel supported and protected.


The dancer who is very talented and entices people into believing that being a good dancer is being a good teacher.


They are the king or queen bee of the dance scene, with their killer moves , infectious personality and popping social media following.  But you know that teaching choreography is not equivalent to teaching people how to dance,  and talent is not a desease you catch by being around a talented person. You know it but your students don’t . So , for starters, invest in your education and skills as an instructor. Let’s face it, there’s always something new to learn, whether it’s a new technique or a fresh perspective. Plus, your students will appreciate the effort you put in to make them better dancers.


6.-The “choreographer” who asks them to join for the season for a competition or a special performance

Ah, the allure of competition and performance. It’s like catnip for dancers. But when a choreographer swoops in and tries to steal your students for their own gain, it can be frustrating. So, how can you avoid this? Firstly, offer your own competitions and performances that cater to your students’ needs and interests. Secondly, establish a strong community within your studio that encourages collaboration and support. And finally, never forget the power of positive reinforcement and recognition


The guy who tells guys they don’t need to move their body, have technique, or good posture because they are the “frame” of the girl, making it easy for them to be “good dancers” without any effort.


Oh, the infamous “frame” argument. It’s a classic excuse for lazy dancing and poor technique. But as instructors, it’s our responsibility to educate our students and dispel this myth. We need to emphasize the importance of body movement, posture, and technique for both partners, not just the follower. By doing so, we can create a more balanced and fulfilling dance experience for everyone involved.


The guy who gets idolized by all the straight guys for his ability to have “all the girls”


It’s the age-old tale of the player who uses dance as a tool for seduction. But as instructors, we know that dance is so much more than just a means to an end. It’s a form of self-expression, connection, and community. So, how can we combat this toxic behavior? Firstly, foster a culture of respect and consent within your studio. Secondly, encourage your male students to focus on their own growth and improvement, rather than their ability to attract partners. And finally, lead by example and demonstrate what healthy and positive dance relationships look like.


The full of energy teacher who takes people social dancing, or has a social himself and creates a “party school”


We all know that one teacher who turns every class into a party. They’re full of energy, enthusiasm, and infectious joy. And while it’s important to have fun and enjoy dance, we also need to balance that with structure and discipline. As instructors, it’s our job to provide a comprehensive and well-rounded dance education that includes technique, theory, and practice. By doing so, we can create dancers who are not only fun to dance with but also skilled and knowledgeable.


The cheap classes teacher offering 6 hours of class a week for a fraction of what you charge, because he doesn’t have to pay rent, taxes, insurance staff, etc.


We’ve all heard the phrase “you get what you pay for.” And while it might be tempting to undercut your competitors and offer dirt-cheap classes, it’s ultimately not a sustainable or ethical business model. As instructors, we need to value our time, expertise, and resources and charge accordingly. We also need to ensure that we’re providing a high-quality and safe learning environment for our students, which includes paying rent, taxes, insurance, staff, and other necessary expenses.


Bonus:  your ex-husband who plotted to rob you of everything you were worth, he used his charms to portray himself as the “good parent” of the story, and he made you the bad guy because he wanted to go out with your secretary and open their own studio five miles from yours, with your students in it.

Here’s one that’s a little more personal. However, suffice it to say, I’ve seen my fair share of unloyalty performed on me.  As instructors, we need to establish clear boundaries and expectations with our partners, colleagues, and students. It is also important to prioritize our own happiness and well-being outside the dance studio as well.


And remember, sometimes the best revenge is just living well and being successful.

In the end, the dance world can be a competitive . Salsa and bachata especially with lack of integrity accepted as the norm.  It can be a challenging place.   But as instructors, we have the power to shape the culture and values of our studios and communities. By focusing on quality, education, professionalism, and authenticity, we can create a dance world that is not only fun and fulfilling but also sustainable and ethical. So, let’s dance our way to success, one step at a time.


Tips for Instructors to Avoid Losing Students to Competitors:


  1. Be honest with yourself, work on your weaknesses, be humble, and be aware that you must be studying at all times as an instructor. Not only dance, but also pedagogy, business, and ethics. Your students will be less likely to be lured away by other instructors.
  2. Don’t resort to unethical practices because it will backfire in the end.
  3. Be creative and innovative to stand out from the competition
  4. Invest in your education to offer a unique experience that students can’t find elsewhere.
  5. Differentiate yourself by offering quality over quantity.
  6. Define your values very clearly so you can attract the right people and create a community around it.
  7. Don’t follow trends or compete on price because students who choose you based on those factors will leave when someone cheaper or trendier comes along.
  8. Be professional and treat your students as paying customers, not just fans or friends who will put up with your unprofessional or unethical behavior just because you are famous or talented.
  9. Communicate with your students and keep them informed to avoid surprises and misunderstandings.
  10. Create a platform for multiple teachers to pay you and collaborate on events.

Also Read: The Secret to Building Self-Discipline


In conclusion, it’s important to remember the saying, “nobody steals students from you, they go because they want to.” While it can be discouraging to lose students to other teachers, it’s essential to focus on providing quality education, building strong relationships, and fostering a sense of community within your studio. By investing in your skills and creating a unique and valuable experience for your students, you can differentiate yourself from the competition and build a loyal following that will stay with you for the long haul. And even if some students do choose to leave, know that it’s not a reflection of your abilities as a teacher, but rather a natural part of the dance journey. Keep dancing, keep innovating, and keep building a dance world that’s full of joy, passion, and possibility.

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