The Machiavellian Hustler

Machiavellianism is, according to the Oxford English Dictionary,

“the employment of cunning and duplicity in statecraft or in general conduct”

The Hustle is , according to,

a) make money doing something slightly shady
b) dance from the 70’s

Combine the two and you get The Machiavellian Hustler,  which I define as,

“A dance instructor who has a higher opinion of themselves than merited; uses tactics of a used car salesman(woman) combine with insincere praise, while pretending to be a close friend to sell dance lessons. They genuinely think of themselves as an easy on the eyes Casanova, tend to have little instinct in regards to when to quit and often don’t know when they’ve crossed the line or when someone’s onto their scheme.”

Take the case of  Vokes v. Arthur Murray, Inc., 212 So.2d 906, 28 A.L.R.3d 1405 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1968).

Facts: Vokes (P) decided to become an accomplished professional dancer at age 51. Arthur Murray (D) was the franchisor of Arthur Murray Dance Schools. Vokes alleged that Arthur Murray’s employees used flattery, cajolery, and awards to lead her to believe that she was a promising student capable of a career as a professional dancer. Arthur Murray convinced her to sign up for $31,000 in dance lessons. (That number would roughly translate to $192,086.00 today.)

Issue: 1) Under what circumstances may a statement of opinion be relied upon as fact? 2) Under what circumstances will a misrepresentation as to value amount to fraud?

Holding and Rule: 1) Statements made by parties having superior knowledge to parties without such knowledge can be regarded as statements of fact. 2) In order to amount to fraud, a representation as to value must be coupled with some untrue or misleading statement of fact used to reinforce the opinion.

The court held that by virtue of the sheer volume of flattery and the volume of purchases, Arthur Murray owed a duty to be honest with Vokes.

The Machiavellian Hustler has been around since partner dancing needed teaching (probably before then). Let us rejoice that in the case of Vokes v. Arthur Murray the story had a happy ending for our student and let it be a lesson for us all for not every Machiavellian Hustler will be hidden in the arches of such a profitable franchise to receive return of our funds.

The Machiavellian Hustlers most egregious crimes involve the human psyche. The Machiavellian Hustler will weaseled their way into your head like the smell of fresh-baked cookies. They pretended to be your friend. Often times the Machiavellian Hustler has offered you just enough intimate information about him/her self to make you truly believe that you are special. They have become your confident. They are witty, charming and know how to manipulate your “connection”. You’ve connected on so many levels and you share this passion for an intimate art. No one else understands you like the Machiavellian Hustler. This is the hustle, once you’ve been taken in by it, all advice when it comes to them taking your money now comes from a misplaced “trust”. You can only smell the cookies until we put you on a payment plan. You want the cookie don’t you?

Even the most cynical of us can be taken in by the hustle. Art is tricky and who doesn’t like fresh-baked cookies? Everyone needs affirmation that what they are doing is good. Especially in art, but hearing that we always are doing everything right is down right impossible. Do yourself a favor, ask around about your instructors before you become invested. Google them, ask for references. Remember, no matter how much fun you shared at your lesson, the Machiavellian Hustler is not your friend. I can not stress this enough, the Machiavellian Hustler will only show up to things that they have been paid to be at.

Don’t be pressured to pay for them to show up to anything. You don’t pay your friends to show up to anything. The Machiavellian Hustler doesn’t miss you when you’re not there, they don’t think of you after you leave the dance studio. You have an obligation to yourself to only pay for things that are with in the comfort of your own goals. You do not have to sign up for a million lessons and a cruise if you don’t want to and if you are feeling that after said trip isn’t committed to that you aren’t given the same amount of time and attention that you had originally gotten. You know you’re in the presence of a Machiavellian Hustler.

If you are being pressured into competing and you don’t feel ready, you probably aren’t ready. You don’t have to compete, at any competition or event. When you are ready for that type of goal, it will be your idea not theirs. Trust your instincts, the Machiavellian Hustler is going to pray upon your discomfort and social niceties to say YES to all of these things. Saying, “No.” is not insulting, it’s honest and considering its your money, you can be as honest as you want with the word NO.

Not all dance instructors are Machiavellian Hustlers. There are a ton of AMAZING instructors out there that are extremely good people, actually want to teach their art and make people better dancers.  One of my next posts will be an ode to some of those amazing teachers, but until then, if you think you’re in the presence of a The Machiavellian Hustler, my advice, RUN.

This has been a Public Service Announcement by The Spinning Dancer.

About TheSpinningDancer

I am a follower of the Church of Dance. Dream Bunnies and Mourning Doves follow me at night.
This entry was posted in ballet, ballroom, ballroom dance, dance, law, lindy hop, relationships, students, swing dance, teachers, teaching, Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Machiavellian Hustler

  1. Pingback: April Follies – Part One | thespinningdancer

  2. Pingback: TANSTAAFL « Against Line of Dance

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