Ballroom and the economy

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by pygmalion, Apr 20, 2005.

  1. Elizabeth

    Elizabeth New Member

    Umm... I thought the NDCA did operate that way if you wanted it to. Last I checked, when we got information and entries for NDCA competitions it included price lists for everything. Of course we were only interested in the prices for amateur couples, but I believe that the information also always includes what the pro and pro-am entry fees are since its too much bother for the organizers to send out a different subset of the information to everyone. You'd also get the prices for hotel rooms and packages. Also, you'd know that you don't have to buy the entire package if you don't want to, something I'm not sure all pro-ams are aware of.

    Of course to get this information you'd have to get it from the organizers, but that's not a lot of work. Its not like the organizers are hiding information about their competitions. They want to make it easy for people to enter after all.
  2. DancingMommy

    DancingMommy Active Member

    That did NOT use to be the case though. Back in the day, you had to be in the know to even find anything out and most studios kept the wholesale prices from the students.

    I can only speak for my experience, but I can remember back in 97/98 a discussion about how much to charge students for comps and how each student paid a different *base* price.
  3. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    Only rumors of things before my time, but I thought there was a period of time when (hobbyist, not invited-category) amateur couples were often discouraged from entering other than through a studio?
  4. Another Elizabeth

    Another Elizabeth Active Member

    True
  5. DancingMommy

    DancingMommy Active Member

    That was pretty much the feeling I picked up when I first started.
  6. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    There are some comps out there (not sure whether they're NDCA-affiliated or not) which do not publish their pro-am price lists except through registered professionals. (Unless something changed since I last checked.)

    I don't know whether NDCA requires disclosure of pricing information or not. *shrug* They very well may, since there are a lot of comps that do have pro-am and other prices published openly.

    I think DM's hit the nail on the head in terms of the underlying issue. Even in the case of comps that do publish their prices, there are still people out there who receive pricing information only through studios. They have no idea that wholesale price info is ever made public (if indeed it is, in their case.) And, unless they're DF lurkers or cautious by nature, they have no reason to question the prices quoted by their studios. Some of those people (by no means all, but some) are getting duped into paying exorbitant prices.

    The suggestion of having a governing organization require that wholesale prices be published is a good one, I think. I'm not sure that NDCA is the right organization, since it doesn't govern all the comps out there. (I don't agree with price controls, btw.)

    But, even if the info is published, on the web, for example, that doesn't mean that people know it's available. I can't see an easy way of getting around that. My bottom line belief is that, no matter what you do, there has to be an element of an honor system. And there will always be some dishonorable people, no matter what business you're in. :(
  7. sanityhaven

    sanityhaven New Member

    Just a thought, Instead of having a few big competitions, what if there were more competitions that were smaller and more localized.

    If the competitions were closer (like within 30 minutes from your home) it would lower the cost for the competitors (no hotel and little travel expenses). Also you could bring your own food. A local studio could host it, and would probably provide good publicilty for it, (also would probably be cheaper than renting a hotel).

    Also, if the competition was local, then maybe, if it was well advertised, it could attract to people to the ballroom world...
  8. Laura

    Laura New Member

    Problem is that that you start running into the problem of dancing against the same people under pretty much the same judges all the time. We have a lot of local competitions up in the San Francisco area each year -- three or four USA Dance competitions, three collegiate competitions, three smallish and two largeish NDCA competitions. It's great for when you're getting started or are working the nerves out or the bugs out of new choreography, but after a while it's more fun to take the show on the road and dance in larger fields in front of different judges and against different couples.
  9. DancingMommy

    DancingMommy Active Member

    See, that is what I'm talking about. A voluntary membership in an organisation that is in NO WAY affiliated with either USA Dance OR NDCA tat merely makes the statement that "we believe in the informed consumer's right to have info easily available".
  10. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    I think you're right, DM. The key is widely available information, I think. I just can't think of a way to get the information out there. :?
  11. DancingMommy

    DancingMommy Active Member

    For the record, I don't necessarily believe that MORE or FEWER competitions are really the answer here.

    What have here is a failure to communicate - not really - I just love that line. 8)

    OK... Here's the dealio...

    The competitions that DO exist currently need to be excellent. Excellence is defined as DOING THE BEST YOU CAN GIVEN YOUR RESOURCES. (not shouting I promise)

    If a competition can't get the attendance it needs to survive, it needs to "go underground" for a while maybe. By that I mean focus on the local dancers that can be it's bread and butter.

    I do know that in any given week, there is at least ONE (NDCA) competition that one can attend. Add to this the various and sundry collegiate comps, franchise studio events and other non-affiliated events and there *may* be a little overkill - but ONLY if you are in the know on ALL of them.

    Also, you - the consumer - must decide what your priorities are. Are you solely Am/Am, Pro/Am, something else completely or a combination? That in itself determines the nature of the beast for you.

    I'd be interested to see where the major concentration of events lie. Let me look around a bit and see what I can come up with.
  12. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Well said, DM. :notworth: In my view, communication is one of the biggest issues, on a lot of levels. 8)

    Just as a side note, this is my favorite kind of thread. One that starts out general and appears to point in a certain direction. But, out of the blue, it uncovers some under-the-surface issues and starts to cover a lot of unexpected ground. This discussion rocks, IMO. 8)
  13. DancingMommy

    DancingMommy Active Member

    Thanks! I like to discuss. :)
  14. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    This is a subject that has been debated a lot in the past. Going on the road can be interesting, but placing against competition you don't know anything about doesn't really tell you anything except the comparative strength of dancing in various regions. Dance against the same crowd time after time and if placements change (and stay changed over a few comps) it may actually mean something. That's pretty much the story in the top ranks of both amateur and pro competitions, right? Same crowd, with a new face or new combination now and then.
  15. Warren J. Dew

    Warren J. Dew Well-Known Member

    La Classique du Quebec. Dance Sport Montreal. Yankee Classic.

    Last time I went to USBC, total costs including air fare were about $500 or $600 per person for me and my partner.

    I think it's not so much which competitions you go to as how you do it. If you wait until the last minute to get a hotel reservation at the Classique, it's $200 a night. If you reserve a room six months in advance, it's about $100 - think of it as $50 per person double occupancy. If you're willing to go to a cheap motel across the river, you can get a room for $30, and if you're really on a budget, four people can split that.

    The biggest key is making your decision and arrangements early. If you do it through your studio and wait until the last minute, it's going to be at least two or three times as expensive - and that's before the studio adds their costs in.
  16. spatten

    spatten New Member

    At one point, before I knew better, I was convinced that the organizers of NDCA comps were getting very wealthy. Now that I know more - I see that isn't the case.It does seem that Hotels are doing some price gouging themselves.

    I think that in order to be more successfull - a couple things will have to happen. First as I mentioned before, I think there needs to be some weeding out. Until demand rises, something is going to have to happen on the supply side of things. I think that means less comps, there maybe another answer I am not seeing.

    Second, I think the organizers would do well to rethink their pricing structures. Right now the comps seem to be set up to make a large fraction of the money from people who dance literally hundreds of entries. To me this is the same idea as focusing on one customer in the business world - not a situation most companies want to be in. I also believe such instituions such as large payouts for "top teacher (or the Pro with the most entires in many cases) - don't help the competition or the Pro in the long run. I think the organizers have dug themselves into a hole - by needing more and more entries to make money, the comp is weakend by the focus on getting those entries.

    Run a competition well, attract well known pro's, mix in a little personality - and who knows you might even get a hugely successfull comp in the middle of nowhere like - Ohio :)
  17. Elizabeth

    Elizabeth New Member

    Hmm. If people still think its an issue then they should patronize the competitions with more open reporting. For example, the Yankee Classic seems to have their entry forms on the web in PDF format with prices included. As for the discussion as to how much to charge students, what would have happened if one of the students wanted to know what the organizers were charging for entry fees? It seems to me that the person with the checkbook gets to ask questions like that before writing the checks, not to mention they can always opt not to if the information they want isn't forthcoming.
  18. Laura

    Laura New Member

    That's for sure. The year I went to USDSC I stayed at a Day's Inn a five-minute walk from the Fontainbleau. I also had two roommates. Rather than splitting $250/night three ways, we split $75/night three ways. One of my roommates flew into West Palm Beach rather than Miami on a super-cheap airline and saved even more that way -- she had a local friend who transported her from West Palm Beach to Miami Beach and so was able to do this easily.
  19. DancingMommy

    DancingMommy Active Member

    Well, back in the day, competitions would issue price lists with blanks so studios could fill in their OWN prices. UGH! And the wholeslae price lists would say "CONFIDENTIAL - For Studio Owners Only" or some such wording. So in effect, the comp organziers - many of whom ARE studio OWNERS (there's the rub I tell ya) - were helping perpetrate the rip off.
  20. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Just out of curiosity, I checked a couple comp entry forms that I thought up randomly yesterday. The ones that (still) don't have pro-am prices published don't say confidential anymore. I guess that was a red flag lol. They just have blanks for you to check off the selected entries, but no prices mentioned. And yes, I checked online entry forms yesterday, so this isn't old information. The amateur, youth and pro forms have prices listed at the top, for certain comps. But, for the same comps, the pro-am forms have no prices.

    Yes. Of course you have the right to ask for whatever info you want. But how many people would know to ask?

    When you go to the hairdresser, you don't ask how much he/she's paying for the perm chemicals (or at least I don't lol.) You ask how much it costs to get a perm, right? To me, the only reason people in this situation might ask about the wholesale prices is because the ballroom industry has a really nasty history, in the US, of bilking unwary customers.

    If it weren't for that, I'd be 100% behind the right of pro-am teachers to set their price. Their cost, in an ideal world, should be their business, IMO. It's just because the ballroom world has, in the past, had some sleazy operators, that a bit more disclosure is probably necessary. Sad to say. :(

    Just my view. 8)

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