Sponsored by Alternative Balance

5 Ways Dance Teacher Insurance Works to Protect You

Courtesy Alternative Balance

As a dance teacher, you know more than anyone that things can go wrong—students blank on choreography onstage, costumes don't fit and dancers quit the competition team unexpectedly. Why not apply that same mindset to your status as an independent contractor at a studio or as a studio owner?

Insurance is there to give you peace of mind, even when the unexpected happens. (Especially since attorney fees can be expensive, even when you've done nothing wrong as a teacher.) Taking a preemptive approach to your career—insuring yourself—can save you money, time and stress in the long run.

We talked to expert Miriam Ball of Alternative Balance Professional Group about five scenarios in which having insurance would be key.

Scenario: A student pushes herself too hard during a long competition rehearsal and tears a ligament, requiring surgery.

Because this injury happened under the purview of your dance teaching expertise, you'd need professional liability insurance to protect you against bodily injury claims.

Scenario: A dancer claims to have been sexually abused.

Though you've probably never considered the need for insurance to cover allegations of sexual abuse, this coverage—offered as an optional add-on with an Alternative Balance policy—is becoming more common, says Ball. "The biggest benefit would be that it covers defense costs," says Ball. "If someone brings a lawsuit against you, it's expensive to have to defend yourself in court." She says a typical sexual abuse case can cost anywhere from tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars—and can go on for six months to two years.

A girl sitting on the floor of a dance studio, clutching her stomach as if upset or in pain.

Courtesy Alternative Balance

Scenario: A parent's credit card number gets hacked during an online payment.

Cyber liability is another popular, optional Alternative Balance coverage, says Ball, that can take a huge weight off your shoulders if you accept online payments. This type of liability insurance would cover you if a customer is hacked and their personal information is leaked. In the last year, she notes, data breaches for small businesses increased by 10 percent. "A lot of people don't know the details of what you have to do if your business is hacked," points out Ball. "Every state has their own reporting requirements, so cyber liability coverage jumps in to figure out what all needs to be done to comply, and then covers the associated costs."

Scenario: A Theraband you've provided to use after class malfunctions and snaps a student's foot, causing an injury.

In this instance, you'd need product/completed operations coverage to protect you—it covers you for bodily injury and property damage claims that result from students using products you use to teach dance after class has ended. While the product itself might be defective and therefore the responsibility of the manufacturer, you could also be held responsible for providing the product to your student as part of your professional service.

A girl sitting on the floor of a dance studio, wearing a leotard, tights and pointe shoes, clutching her ankle as if in pain.

Courtesy Alternative Balance

Scenario: During a convention class you're teaching, a dancer trips on an extension cord and gets hurt.

General liability coverage would protect you in this scenario. This type of coverage deals with claims of bodily injury that aren't specific to your profession. Because these situations are most often beyond your control—especially as a freelance teacher who rents her space from a studio owner or is a guest teacher at a convention—you'll be relieved to know that this coverage is mobile. It applies to all of your teaching gigs, regardless of location. Alternative Balance even insures pole fitness classes and nutrition-related jobs, along with over 500 other services in the health, beauty and wellness industry. One policy from Alternative Balance covers you for all of them, so if you have other teaching gigs, you're in luck.

Teaching Tips
A 2019 Dancewave training. Photo by Effy Grey, courtesy Dancewave

By now, most dance educators hopefully understand that they have a responsibility to address racism in the studio. But knowing that you need to be actively cultivating racial equity isn't the same thing as knowing how to do so.

Of course, there's no easy answer, and no perfect approach. As social justice advocate David King emphasized at a recent interactive webinar, "Cultivating Racial Equity in the Classroom," this work is never-ending. The event, hosted by Dancewave (which just launched a new racial-equity curriculum) was a good starting point, though, and offered some helpful takeaways for dance educators committed to racial justice.

Keep reading... Show less
Higher Ed
The author, Robyn Watson. Photo courtesy Watson

Recently, I posted a thread of tweets elucidating the lack of respect for tap dance in college dance programs, and arguing that it should be a requirement for dance majors.

According to onstageblog.com, out of the 30 top-ranked college dance programs in the U.S., tap dance is offered at 19 of them, but only one school requires majors to take more than a beginner course—Oklahoma City University. Many prestigious dance programs, like the ones at NYU Tisch School of the Arts and SUNY Purchase, don't offer a single course in tap dance.

Keep reading... Show less
Teaching Tips
Getty Images

After months of lockdowns and virtual learning, many studios across the country are opening their doors and returning to in-person classes. Teachers and students alike have likely been chomping at the bit in anticipation of the return of dance-class normalcy that doesn't require a reliable internet connection or converting your living room into a dance space.

But along with the back-to-school excitement, dancers might be feeling rusty from being away from the studio for so long. A loss of flexibility, strength and stamina is to be expected, not to mention emotional fatigue from all of the uncertainty and reacclimating to social activities.

So as much as everyone wants to get back to normal—teachers and studio owners included—erring on the side of caution with your dancers' training will be the most beneficial approach in the long run.

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.