Prepare to be played!

This studio has a very nice facility and a couple of excellent teachers but be very wary. When signing up it is wise to anticipate predatory and deceptive high-pressure sales and clever psychological sales tactics. It’s very easy to be taken in and to squander a lot of money. Policies, rules, schedules and prices are likely to be arbitrary and opportunistic. Proceed with this “heads-up” and you may be better prepared to avoid falling into traps.

It’s quite surprising how many are either unaware that they are being played or simply don’t care. Don’t be one of them. Many have had similar experiences to those posting the following reviews which are unaccountably to be found only in the back pages:

By Carol P. Los Angeles, CA
“Really lovely, talented and enthusiastic dance instructors. Extremely badly planned and executed marketing strategy to lure potential students/clients. Although I loved dancing at the really friendly and comfortable studio, I was quite taken aback when escorted to a small, windowless room to choose my instruction plan (units) to reach my “goals”. They have an incomprehensible (to me) mathematical formula resulting in the fantastical sum of $6,800…6,000 … Something… for a year to reach my “goals”.

I just couldn’t go back. Shame.”

By Will T. Pasadena, CA:
“This place is DISORGANIZED and DISHONEST. I gave one star because there was nothing less than that. The instructors clearly stated the practices are mandatory in order to participate in the showcase. However, week after week, various numbers of participants would show up, yet they are all included in the showcase. Then, the day before the showcase, they just arbitrarily changed the performance time without any prior notification. When confronted, I was told, there was nothing they can do to change it back. How ironic, when it didn’t seem to be a problem when they changed it originally. It is a choice that they choose to not change it back. I am NOT impressed with the way this place runs the business. VERY UNPROFESSIONAL!!!”


A few points to keep in mind when coming to this dance studio:

When discussing programs and prices with the manager lady, be very wary and see if you can avoid being played. She is highly talented.

It may be best to go into the infamous “windowless room” firmly resolved not to make a decision without sleeping on it and conferring with family. Expect high pressure to sign right away (and perhaps regard that as a warning).

See if you can sense whether endearing and artful ingratiating isn’t deftly obscuring an intensely predatory agenda.

Pay close attention to the delusory tactics: the shock — the exorbitant price calculated as the product of a string of different dance skills each multiplied by a long series of proficiency levels — and then the “closer”: “But we have a special offer if you sign up today”, and then a price given which, though perhaps far more than you were expecting to pay, is a significant relief in comparison to the extortionate one you were just quoted.

Other superbly concocted psychological stratagems may be employed. Be very vigilant.

Ask for complete policies in writing and prepare to use the “satisfaction guarantee” if it is present.

Special vanity events and showcases add significantly to the cost of study. Always try to check for pricing and ask yourself if the opportunity to show off is really worth it.

The class schedule may look very promising but should not be taken at face value. Classes are cancelled if not adequately attended, penalizing the more dedicated students who end up having made the trip for nothing. This has happened on numerous occasions. This and other capricious manipulations, such as the one mentioned in Will T’s review are probably to be expected.

Your experiences with this dance studio may differ from those described above. I hope so. If you visit the studio and policies have changed and become more benign, much of this review may be irrelevant.

There are a couple of good teachers there and it is a nice facility. But when clear prices and policies are not readily accessible up front, it is always a bad sign.