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The 6 Things Dance Teachers Should Look for in Their Insurance Policy

AdobeStock, Courtesy Insure Fitness Group

As a teacher at a studio, you've more than likely developed long-lasting relationships with some of your students and parents. The idea that you could be sued by one of them might seem impossible to imagine, but Insure Fitness Group's Gianna Michalsen warns against relaxing into that mindset. "People say, 'Why do I need insurance? I've been working with these people for 10 years—we're friends,'" she says. "But no one ever takes into account how bad an injury can be. Despite how good your relationship is, people will sue you because of the toll an injury takes on their life."

You'll benefit most from an insurance policy that caters to the specifics of teaching dance at one or several studios. Here's what to look for:


All-inclusive coverage

Make sure your policy includes both types of liability insurance:

General liability: This protects you against claims of bodily injury not related to your profession. For example, if there's water on the floor of the studio, and a student slips and falls, breaking her arm, you'd be liable without this coverage.

Professional liability: This type of coverage protects you against claims of injury caused by your professional negligence—that is, anything related to your teaching instruction. For example, if you push a student too far and she hurts herself, you'd be liable without this coverage.

Mobile coverage

Do you teach at three different studios, or occasionally pick up freelance choreography or competition judging gigs? Make sure your insurance isn't tied to one specific studio or place. With Insure Fitness Group's mobile coverage, as long as you're in the U.S., you're covered.

Aditya Ali via Unsplash

Occurrence form policy

This type of coverage guarantees that you'll be protected from any claim even if your policy has expired, as long as the incident in question occurred when your policy was active. "Say I'm taking a dance class as a student, and I roll my ankle, but it doesn't feel so bad," says Michalsen. "But then I go to the doctor and he tells me I tore a tendon and I need physical therapy. I can go back and sue my dance teacher for what happened in class. With an occurrence form policy like Insure Fitness', even if your coverage expired two weeks ago, we would cover that teacher." A claims-made policy, on the other hand—which many insurance companies offer instead—would only protect you against claims filed while your policy is active.

Adaptability

Have another job in the fitness field? Get a policy that also covers you for workouts and training programs like Pilates, barre, Zumba, Jazzercize and Orange Theory. Insure Fitness Group's policy covers more than 100 workout and training-related jobs.

David Hofmann via Unsplash

Stolen equipment coverage

This could be anything related to your job: costumes, props, even your cell phone, says Michalsen, if you use it consistently for your business (scheduling private lessons or choreography, or communicating with students and parents).

Special perks

A good insurance policy will cover the basics, but a great one will offer unique advantages, like Insure Fitness Group's website builder tool, which lets you create a professional website to reach more customers, and their immediate coverage approval, which Michalsen calls "completely Amazon-esque—there's no application process."

Hanson Lu via Unsplash

Technique
Nan Melville, courtesy Genn

Not so long ago, it seemed that ballet dancers were always encouraged to pull up away from the floor. Ideas evolved, and more recently it has become common to hear teachers saying "Push down to go up," and variations on that concept.

Charla Genn, a New York City–based coach and dance rehabilitation specialist who teaches company class for Dance Theatre of Harlem, American Ballet Theatre and Ballet Hispánico, says that this causes its own problems.

"Often when we tell dancers to go down, they physically push down, or think they have to plié more," she says. These are misconceptions that keep dancers from, among other things, jumping to their full potential.

To help dancers learn to efficiently use what she calls "Mother Marley," Genn has developed these clever techniques and teaching tools.

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"For three days I would experience relief from the fever—then, boom—it would come back worse than before," Alexis says. "I would go into a room and not know why I was there." Despite the remission of some symptoms, the fatigue and other debilitating side effects have endured to this day. Alexis is part of a tens-of-thousands-member club nobody wants to be part of—she is a COVID-19 long-hauler.

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"I had a hard time watching people have these conversations without historical context and knowledge," says Griffith, who now resides in her hometown of Portland, Oregon, after many years in New York City. "It was clear that there was so much information missing."

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