Are syllabus scholarships a bad idea?

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by nottomention, Mar 8, 2011.

  1. nottomention

    nottomention New Member

    Are closed-syllabus pro/am scholarship events perhaps inherently a bad idea?

    Having money at stake there or anywhere else that eligibility is loosely defined seems likely to invite problems.
     
  2. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    I would say they're a good idea. Otherwise, what is the incentive? If they didn't exist, the "championship" multi-dance events would need to have MUCH nicer prizes (I've only been to one comp, Manhattan, where the non-scholarship multidance gave anything different from the single heats, and in most cases I haven't even seen a lineup.) If they limit it to open, either you end up with all the people who'd have done the closed bronze scholarship in the open bronze, or if you limit it only to gold, you'd end up with either no one in those events and a lot of irritated, marginalized bronze and silver dancers, or you'd end up with everyone dancing gold whether they're actually at that level or not.

    ETA: And excluding/marginalizing the majority of pro-am students, ie the bronze and silver dancers, isn't going to go over well with comp organizers--for example why buy tickets to an evening session if you're not dancing in it? Unless they have professional shows every night to try and draw spectators. Why spend a ton of money to dance single heats and get some Office Depot stickers handed out prefunctorally and that's the end of your day?

    It's not that there's a lot of money involved--usually even a first isn't going to cover your expenses for the weekend. It's having something tangible to compete for, plus the aura of importance it gives the event. Heck, I love that Michigan Dance Challenge does the "meet your competitors" thing for their bronze and silvers as well as the open and pros. Makes a change from the assembly-line feel earlier in the day when they have to go through placings for single heats quickly just due to volume.
     
  3. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    lolz...because, when you included my post, you started typing in a region I had edited as bold

    and, to answer your question, I think if the money was taken out of it the griping would be reduced but not eliminated...because people fundamentally would rather gripe about what they think is wrong with what others are doing than work on improving themselves....just my very unpopular perspective....

    the persepctive I come from includes the fact that I dance the following;

    at small comps; silver in all 4 styles, pre-gold in smooth, usually dancing the dancesport smooth and the open smooth

    at big comps: silver in latin, currently learning some gold routines, silver in smooth, currently learning open routines and usually now dancing the dancsport and the open with my closed routines til the open look better...in standard and rhythm I dance silver only except for at the two or three biggest comps I attend where I still do a set of full bronze where I have not yet won....


    it's funny how my old pro once admitted that he used to be bothered by the gals who were really good at bronze staying there, in his subjective opinion, for too long... and then once I came along and he could stay long enough to win it, his view became; "if you don't like it, beat her"....frankly, I felt uncomfortable staying in bronze far sooner than either of my pros did...in fact, I got the sense from both of them that they thought I was being snooty for wanting to move up too soon...

    OTOH, at usdsc, there is no money involved in closed levels or at Ohio, and people still gripe...so who knows
     
  4. nottomention

    nottomention New Member

    Maybe the question is better - should winning a stepping stone division be made that attractive?

    Or is it better to keep the only attraction the sense of accomplishment, so that those divisions are uninteresting for dancers who would not be accomplishing something just by winning them?
     
  5. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    isn' t winning them the accomplishment?...I mean really...if someone dances pro/am...do you honestly think a scholarship win is even a dent in the expense?????...any event for which I enter a scholarship, my motive is to win it dancing my personal best....the money is a nice perk but not even remotely significant enough to be a motivating factor...and frankly, it really isn't a stepping stone to me unless it is a comp with high level competitors...hence my issue with wanting to make people move up if they win at a small comp...or a large comp with relatively easy competition....
     
  6. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    frankly the cost of me to win a scholarship doesn't even cover the cost of dancing it , and heaven forbid there should be call backs
     
  7. nottomention

    nottomention New Member

    Money coming in may be worth more than money going out... people aren't always logical. You know, like the whole lottery is a tax on people who are bad at math thing.

    It could be argued that the real competition and progress is in yourself., in which case putting others who for some reason or other are temporarily in the same limited division on the floor is just to make it more entertaining during the long process.
     
  8. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    People who sandbag are always going to sandbag. Some people want easy targets no matter what the prize is--even the cheap little stickers. But eliminate the lower-level scholarships, and where's the incentive for the students who are legtimiately bronze or silver and aren't necessarily going to move up soon, if ever? If you're already mostly dancing for the fun of competing and having that experience, taking away the fun parts and the *chance* to win something (which is often more important than the prize itself) is not going to encourage you to keep doing it. Scholarships are the fun part, plus especially when they combine ages they're the only chance some dancers get to have a significant amount of competition. Take that away and you ARE going to start losing a lot of customers. Not good for the students, not good for the teaching pros, not good for the organizers.
     
  9. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    that is a very good argument...nevertheless, the presence of some externals that confirm progress over time can also be helpful in bolstering the internal process and journey...it is a competition afterall, otherwise one might as well simply embark upon intense lessons
     
  10. tanya_the_dancer

    tanya_the_dancer Well-Known Member

    In this case why compete at all? Why not just do medal tests or similar to measure your progress? Competing against others is part of the appeal of the competition. And tangible prize, however small, in the end, makes it better.
     
  11. nottomention

    nottomention New Member

    The impression of competing is part of the appeal, yes.

    And sausage can taste pretty good, but they don't offer factory tours.
     
  12. skwiggy

    skwiggy Well-Known Member

    This seems like an argument against level divisions rather than one against scholarship awards.

    I see the value of levels, and scholarship awards at those levels, going directly to the health of the entire industry. Even if you subscribe to the notion that the highest level is the only important one (which I do not), then you should consider how long the system could sustain itself without encouraging wider participation, and in turn financial backing, by dancers of varied experience, skill level and overall investment.
     
  13. nottomention

    nottomention New Member

    More an argument against taking levels too seriously than an argument against having them at all.

    You can't put everyone on the floor at once, and when appealing to a broader audience it makes sense to divide the groups up first by agreement to dance in certain general ways rather than only randomly or alphabetically.

    It's nice that the Blackpool all-may-enter model exists, but probably not the safest place (literally) for most dancers.
     
  14. nucat78

    nucat78 Active Member

    Why would one think closed syllabus pro-am scholarships are bad?

    I guess one could sandbag in Bronze or Silver for whatever length of time to stink up some bucks, but from what I've seen, the scholarship prizes are not that large (less than what one spends on lessons to prepare for the schollie comp), neh?

    Dance the syllabus, get a medal. Dance the syllabus the best at a comp and get $200. Meh.
     
  15. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    Uh..well, yes, actually, sometimes they do, but I'm not sure what that has to do with the price of tea in China. Or the purses for closed scholarships.

    And competing (not the impression thereof, though if you want to get into arguments about human consciousness and Platonic reality everything is merely impression) is the appeal for a lot of us. I don't really care again who, just someone. HATE uncontested heats--they're a waste of time, but being in the A age group, that happens a lot. If I just wanted to measure against myself, I could medal test (there must be some way of doing that around here, though I've never asked nor had it suggested), do showcases, social dance. But the competition is the fun part. It adds pressure and it's motivating. Having a prize to aim for, whether it's cash or a little medal or a weird blown-glass vase (don't ask), is good incentive and it makes it seem like someone actually cares about the results.

    I don't see how having that for lower levels is a bad thing, especially when the people who are LEGITIMATELY at those levels make up the overwhelming majority of pro-am students. They may not be in a big rush to 'move up.' They may not be CAPABLE of moving up. If closed/lower-level scholarships are bad and we shouldn't have them, where are those people supposed to go, exactly?
     
  16. debmc

    debmc Well-Known Member

    I love doing scholarship rounds in my division. As others have commented, they are fun, give a sense of accomplishment and a "reward". I just think it is nice to compete amongst my peers in that category and it can be disenchanting to compete amongst couples who clearly should be in a higher level and often are competing in a higher level at that very same comp. Some of the competitions now clearly state that students can only enter one scholarship level and it has to be the level where they are dancing most of their single dance heats.
     
  17. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    it is usually, if fact, stricter than that...at many comps now, if you dance two closed levels, you must pick only the higher closed level for the scholarship...many comps have this rule, but not all...and that, is the call of the organizer...if they don't have a problem with someone dancing two closed levels, then people who are on the cusp will dance both...to be sure
     
  18. nucat78

    nucat78 Active Member

    And here we go... :rolleyes:

    (Stoic hedonists rule! :p;):D)
     
  19. legato

    legato Member

    seems to me scholarships are actually 'inherently' a good idea , especially as amateurs are also students - one does study the syllabus figures as part of progressively developing skills. i've not been competing/spectating that long, but have never seen anyone win a scholarship that did not demonstrate the skill required for the award, and the small amount of money seems a nice recognition of real work. dancesport is an art and sport where competitors take years to develop technique - and syllabus, school figures, compulsory figures are used in many similar disciplines (ice skating, music, equestrian) in the initial years or stages of competitions.

    i also like that they are usually, though not always, placed after the single dance events or as part of the evening show, so that the competition increases as the day goes on. especially in bronze scholarships one might only compete against those competing 'down' in the scholarship level. even if it is frustrating, as long as such are actually dancing figures at level, it is just another degree of skill to aim for. and i've become (more) reconciled to the disparities of resources competitors have (sigh)...it's just the nature of competition, there will always be dancers that have more/less resources than i. anyway, they seem a valid test to me, i enjoy them...
     
  20. debmc

    debmc Well-Known Member

    I think everyone has resources, just different ones. For some it may be that they have a large crowd of friends/family cheering them on, for others it was the years of ballet they took as a child, some may have a strong athletic background, etc, etc. Part of the dance journey for me was to find out what my own personal resources are, what strengths could I bring to my dancing? They were less obvious, but they helped!
     

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