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 Post subject: Touching/ Waiver?/ Contagion!
PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2000 2:07 pm 
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Location: Australia
thanks to annaliese at danceart Image , who gave me permission to post her dance school's waiver, as follows.<P>does anyone else do this?<P>in australia, i am not as yet aware of anyone who does, even though the issues have begun to be aired. however, i think i will add a similar note to this, to my enrolment info next year - can't hurt, can it? as long as it's carefully worded. <P>i am not concerned about legalities (which would require a lawyer's wording, no doubt), but just to alert parents to this issue, and have their clear agreement that they know what the issue is, and that so do i, and am proceeding accordingly....<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>In the proper teaching of dance and related arts (voice and acting), it is sometimes necessary to use hands on correction (physically placing a student in the correct position) to fix body alignment.<P>This is done for safety and aesthetic reasons only. <P>It is also possible that a student's teacher may not be of the same gender as the student, therefore having a teacher of the opposite gender physically touching a student. <P>The (insert school name here) uses the traditionally accepted teaching method of hands on correction in all it's classes and by all it's faculty members. <P>By signing below you give permission for the instructors to correct placement on this student by physically moving their body to the proper alignment.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

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 Post subject: Re: Touching/ Waiver?/ Contagion!
PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2000 7:55 pm 
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
I would bet, however, that if the parent wanted to sue - an attorney would sue, and would probably win. The parent could always claim there was still "wrongful" touching - or "harmful" touching. I don't know what the answer is.


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 Post subject: Re: Touching/ Waiver?/ Contagion!
PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2000 1:25 am 
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Location: Anchorage, Alaska
<P><p>[This message has been edited by Priscilla (edited December 20, 2000).]


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 Post subject: Re: Touching/ Waiver?/ Contagion!
PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2000 5:17 am 
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Location: Australia
as mentioned in my post, i was hoping to hear from teachers as to whether or not they use such a waiver, and also as mentioned, not necessarily as a legal 'defence' measure, but to inform parents that one is cognisant of this issue, and seeking permission, so as to allay fears, and to allay any doubts that parents who aren't familiar with ballet teaching methods might have.

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 Post subject: Re: Touching/ Waiver?/ Contagion!
PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2000 7:06 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
It occurs to me that such an informal letter may do more harm than good if it leaves teachers vulnerable to litigation when they may feel they are covered. <P><BR> <p>[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited December 19, 2000).]


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 Post subject: Re: Touching/ Waiver?/ Contagion!
PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2000 7:16 am 
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Taking a chance here by introducing a lighter note - and an outside view .....<P>I took my very Victorian mother to a ballet class once (she had never been to one)where I was a student. We were all adults. After class I asked her what she thought about it.<P>She was quite, quite pale and said "The male teacher touched a woman student". I answered "Yes, he did - and she paid him to do it". Talk about shocked silence........<P>I had never really given it much thought until then. How differently we view ourselves as dancers. We see our bodies as tools. Well, this tool needs some breakfast about now.......


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 Post subject: Re: Touching/ Waiver?/ Contagion!
PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2000 7:38 am 
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good story! Image

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 Post subject: Re: Touching/ Waiver?/ Contagion!
PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2000 1:39 pm 
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We could also take this further. What about teaching pas de deux? If you have a class of young people, teens or 20's, this could be a problem there too.<P>Some of the holds and lifts could very well be misinterpreted by an irate parent or an angry or frustrated dancer.<P>I had the experience once of having my partner put his hands on my waist to lift me and his perspiring hands slipped - up ....way up .....yes, "there". Of course we laughed about it. But how might that be misinterpreted? And if it were a middle aged male teacher demonstrating on a young female student, and something like that happened?<P>


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 Post subject: Re: Touching/ Waiver?/ Contagion!
PostPosted: Wed Dec 20, 2000 11:36 am 
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this is a complex, "touchy" (yikes!) issue. One studio I taught at handled it very well. In the student handbook, (which all students get a copy of)they had a paragraph on "physical correction". This stated that in order to correct students, teachers do "hands-on corrections", similar to what coaches do in sports. This made it clear that this is a routine part of dance training, not something weird, shameful or unusual. This paragraph was added to the handbook because it is becoming more obvious to us in the field, that the issue of physical abuse, sexual abuse is a real "hot potato" (at least in the US); it needs to be addressed so EVERYONE understands the parameters of dance training, and there is no confusion.<BR>At the same time, teachers themselves need to sensitive to HOW to give correction, gently-telling the student "I'm going to correct your alignment". NOt pouncing on them, doing it abruptly or harshly. Of course, we all can remember the old days when teachers would hit, slap, pummel our young dancer muscles into submission. thankfully , those days are over!!


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 Post subject: Re: Touching/ Waiver?/ Contagion!
PostPosted: Wed Dec 20, 2000 1:04 pm 
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Oh Trina !! - how well I remember "those" days!! Once we had a cane thrown at us - yep - she was a very old lady, but oh my she could sure throw her cane!! That was to get us jumping. <P>Somehow, we survived, even flourished - and really learned to jump. (No, I am not suggesting it is a good idea to do that!!)<P>But, I do find it sad when we have to hesitate to touch a student's hand - or back - or leg. This time and clime of ours breeds such an air of distrust between us.


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 Post subject: Re: Touching/ Waiver?/ Contagion!
PostPosted: Wed Dec 20, 2000 7:26 pm 
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agree (with your last para) basheva...<P>we can't go 'backwards' though, can we? as much as it would be an improvement in so many areas (and not in others).....<P>maybe we are making ourselves sound 'old', but it IS sad as you get older, to recognise which of the better things are INDEED: 'gone forever' (while at the same time, of course, appreciating the improvements - like this marvellous internet! Image )....<P>trina, presumably your handbook's message was like the one which started this thread? or different?

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 Post subject: Re: Touching/ Waiver?/ Contagion!
PostPosted: Thu Dec 21, 2000 9:07 am 
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Yes, Grace. I hadn't read through that completely. We put the "sports"/coaching statement in there becasue it made the whole thing more understandable and made it clear that this is not something exclusive to dance.


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 Post subject: Re: Touching/ Waiver?/ Contagion!
PostPosted: Thu Dec 21, 2000 4:39 pm 
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trina, australia also often finds parallels between dance and sport which can be useful - especially as sport has all that money thrown at it, to develop things, and dance doesn't! Image

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 Post subject: Re: Touching/ Waiver?/ Contagion!
PostPosted: Fri Dec 22, 2000 2:58 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Basheva said, 'But, I do find it sad when we have to hesitate to touch a student's hand - or back - or leg. This time and clime of ours breeds such an air of distrust between us.'<P>I cannot speak of the dance class world, but given what I know of the love of the art by its professional exponents I can believe that abusive behaviour is and always was a rare event. Although I agree that its good riddance to the use of corporal punishment in dance classes.<P>However, in the outside world, what has become clear today in the UK and I believe in the US and elsewhere is that abusive behaviour to vulnerable young people has been widespread in a range of institutions. Even more shocking has been the revelation of authorities in denial that such things were happening and the appointment of staff even after serious allegations of child abuse had been made against them.<P>I applaud these days, although they can be uncomfortable, where such behaviour is out in the open and there is a much better chance that it will be confronted and countered.<P>It's against this background that dance must operate and I can see that it brings problems where there were none before. But I think it is important to bear in mind the broader context.<P>Trina's example of a statement in a booklet sounds sensible, particularly when combined with advanced warning of hands on correction vby the teachers. My concern with the original example was the signing of the document by the parent, which could give it a spurious air as a valid legal waiver rather than just a guidance note.<P>Can any UK teachers talk us through the current position here? <P><p>[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited December 22, 2000).]


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 Post subject: Re: Touching/ Waiver?/ Contagion!
PostPosted: Fri Dec 22, 2000 6:16 am 
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You are very right Stuart. We are coming to learn how pervasive and insidious this abuse problem has been. Usually it is practiced on the most vulnerable in our society; those seeking comfort from religion, or employment, or medical attention. I don't need to list them, you are all well aware.<P>There have been several instances in which I could see a real need to help a passerby - even a child - but I hesitated, unsure how it would be perceived. Instead I did the next best thing in the situation. But it grieved me. <P>Once it was a lost child who was crying, I watched the child, and had to wait untill someone else came by so I could ask that person to call for official help - but my first instinct was to comfort the child, take his hand and look for a phone. However, I dared not.


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