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socks and cat

Negotiations with the bar

Performing went great at the University district bar last Friday night. Two of my instructors went with me and they let us post fliers all over the bar. They gave us sign up sheets to sign up the girls in the bar for our first in-bar workshops.

The other instructor that performed with me wasn't bothered at all by the idea of dancing sexy for a bar full of strange men. As we were stretching on the pole in preparation to dance, a few of the guys got excited and started hooting and hollering in advance. I didn't like it but when I looked at the other instructor, she totally laughed it off. She was just happy to perform and didn't care. So I decided if she could be that laid back about it, maybe I could too. But I still left out most of the sexy moves and did almost exclusively tricks and acrobatics. She went full on sexy with the moves when she performed.

The biggest concern was men shouting out innapropriate remarks. However, most of them were silenced when we started performing. Apparently they were expecting some strippers or stripper looking moves. But what they got was skilled polework and a daring and dangerous acrobatic style performance. They were so busy being shocked and picking their jaws up off the floor, that they forgot any remarks they might have wanted to shout. We blew them away. And the one instructor that didn't perform, went around with the sign up sheet and got girls in the bar registered for the workshop.

The only conflict came when they asked us back to perform again this Friday. Negotiating is not one of my strong skills and I have found myself in the awkward situation of having to put my foot down and suggest my employees be paid if we're going to keep performing there on Friday nights. I pointed out that in addition to signing up girls for our workshops, our performances also helped promote the other pole school that they solicited to come and do workshops there. I also pointed out that we were providing entertainment for the men there. They argued with my points and still didn't want to pay. I finally said we would perform once per month for free but after that, I couldn't be expected to send employees there every week to dance for free. So they events person I deal with finally said he'd talk to the owner and get back to me.


There is really no way of telling what the sign ups are worth. I charge $45 per student for this workshop in my studio. But when I do it at their bar, I get only $15 per student instead (we charge $30 and they take half). I'm only taking this loss so I can get the word out to the college set about my school. But there's no way of knowing how many of those girls that signed up for a workshop in the bar will actually talk about my school to their friends or sign up for a 6-week class in my studio.
The bar takes half??? Your providing entertainment to their paying customers and PAYING them?

Not right.
I don't know if teaching women to dance is considered "entertainment". But basically they are giving us an opportunity to market to the college girls. Doing the workshops at a fraction of what I could make in my studio, is a trade off for reaching the college crowd. Plus, most girls that take the workshop want more and want to sign up for 6-week classes. It's just questionable whether or not college girls can afford a $200 class. But the drop in pay is a trade for marketing. And since my instructors are learning to teach those workshops for me, it won't take any of my time or money to market that way.
I agree with housecattn - you are providing entertainment to both men and women. Additionally, you are offering a discounted service to the women who sign up through the bar. The bar should either be paying you for the contract, or providing their space pro-bono, or both. They should definetly be ensuring your security, if only to limit their own liability should something occur.

I'd recommend you talk to devilpuppy about this - she's got far more experience than I negotiating with bars.
We are providing entertainment during the Friday night demos. But there are no men allowed during the classes, so those don't provide any "entertainment" for men.

I don't know about the bar paying me to provide the space. If anything, they could charge me to have a space to market to college girls. But they don't.
No - I meant your demo in the bar should be a draw for the bar. Any other act would be charging the bar to get people in the door. Unless your act is removing seating, it sounds like they are getting paid twice, and you aren't quite covering expenses.
Do you know that it might be possible to be paid by the college to market to college girls? It could be worth a shot. Not only do colleges want to have fitness classes, but they also enjoy and pay people for workshops, etc.

I used to work for Everett Community College coordinating lectures, music, entertainment, etc. We would go to big galas where people would showcase their talent and then we would select people whom the school could afford to come to our school.
Sounds like you're not all that unskilled at hardball ;)

Don't forget to include the cost/risk of security. Your normal workshops don't deal with strange men and a walk to the parking lot.
The bar assures us they are providing security. But I did discover I was completely on my own when I walked to my car.
I figured - so I'd phrase it that they can pay for the added security to watch the club and the three of you, or they can pay you to cover that risk :)

boring legal stuff aside, it's great to hear you're diversifying the business. Next you'll have a segment on King 5 evening magazine ;)