Is Pro Am becoming a sport of only the wealthy?

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by debmc, Jul 5, 2013.

  1. debmc

    debmc Well-Known Member

    I know that I am stretching it to do pro am... lessons, coachings, costumes, competitions add up to a lot in one year. As I continue to do this I am discovering that what I spend is minimal compared to other competitors out there...who do multiple styles, comps every month, new dresses every comp, coaching with the best, several lessons per week, top pros, etc, etc. Will this sport eventually be just for the wealthy? Is there anything we can do to make it affordable for all?
  2. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    I don't think so...if you look at the really good ladies, there is a lot of diversity...sure, some go to a ton of comps and may do more than one style, but many just do a handful and focus on one style, and do far better than the ones spending a fortune...and I will be happy to be specific in p.m
  3. Warren J. Dew

    Warren J. Dew Well-Known Member

  4. I can only speak for myself, but the people I compete against are very, very well off. Lawyers, doctors, dancers who have wealthy parents/spouses, dancers whose parents own/operate dance studios, wealthy grandparents, etc. It is very daunting to find yourself the only one who is struggling just to find the extra money for gas to get you there. Nevertheless, I have beaten the best, so it goes to show that even the poorest dancer out there can overcome what seems to be insurmountable odds.

    As to your question, "will this sport eventually be just for the wealthy?" I think, for the majority of dancers, it is a sport for the wealthy already. All you have to do is look at the price of dresses, lessons, tickets, fees for coaches and realize that an average comp can set you back 3 to 5 thousand dollars, to know the answer.

    "Is there anything we can do to make if affordable for all?" I think the answer is no. How do you convince a pro to lower his/her fees, when there are so many willing to pay what he/she wants? How do you convince the dress designers to lower their prices, when someone will come up and, without batting an eye, buy three dresses at once? How do you convince the photographer/videography to slash their prices? The answer is, that you can't. It's free enterprise and the dancer is basically at the whim of ballroom pricing.

    I have had a very difficult time paying for my ballroom dancing. I work and every single penny goes into my dancing, which I hope will someday be my career. I have sacrificed a lot for it. Am I bitter that I have struggled so hard, while watching wealthy dancers get carte blanche? Of course. I'll be honest..it stings. But this is my life, my situation, and I have faith in God and myself to get me where I want to go. I like to think that I am in a refiner's fire right now. I hope that my hardships will shape me into a better person; one who, if blessed with a dancing career, will be able to remember what it was like to struggle and be able to help the less financially blessed dancer.
  5. Mr 4 styles

    Mr 4 styles Well-Known Member

    just like i remember how i struggled to put myself through college by working, while helping mom and my sibs, borrowing a small fortune for med school and clawed my way to the top of my profession

    my wealth is earned

    the crucible of life is hard but it makes for a fine product... yourself
    Warren J. Dew likes this.
  6. Warren J. Dew

    Warren J. Dew Well-Known Member

    By some definitions, anyone who can afford private lessons is wealthy.
    danceronice and dancelvr like this.
  7. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    I drove a car that I inherited from my dead grandmother. For quite awhile I lived in NJ and I had to decide whether to take the last $15 in my bank account and buy a bus ticket to NYC to practice with a potential partner or put gas in my car to drive to CT to teach... And notice "groceries" were not even an option. If I was lucky I got an egg salad sandwich and a small orange juice from the 7/11 next to my house. Most pros go through MANY years like this. Students are not the only ones that sacrifice in order to play in this sport.

    And I think if you look at most hobbies that have a competition aspect... golf for example, horse back riding, tennis, cowboy shoots... they all have varying levels of competitive participation. In all of these, the highest levels of competitions are generally filled with those that either eat only from 7/11 every other day or have unlimited funds.

    There are many aspects of ballroom. And within the competitive arena there are many levels. Each time anyone goes up a level the cost to be competitive goes up. But one can always play up to a level of participation that suits their bank account.
  8. Mengu

    Mengu Active Member

    I do not have unlimited funds, I do not have to starve myself to dance, I am not a top dancer in any category, and yet I am happy. What am I doing right?
  9. dancelvr

    dancelvr Well-Known Member

    I'd have to agree with this. So many are struggling these days.

    However, I have my moments when I resent the heck out of those who can afford lessons every day, private coaching, $4000 dresses, and all the competitions they choose to enter.

    I can afford one lesson a week. (two, if it's the week before a comp.) I drive a 15 yr old car. I don't spend money on every day clothing, or new home furnishings. My dresses come from Hong Kong, and I stone them myself. I can squeeze in (maybe) three comps a year, and I have to keep heats to a minimum. However, am I grateful for being able to do what I love, even though it's nowhere near as much as I'd like to do? Absolutely.

    Is Pro-Am a sport for the rich? Eh. If you are a casual competitor, perhaps not so much. If you are serious about competing, yes it is. I am serious about competing. I just can't afford it. So, I guess I fall somewhere in the middle.
    letsdance101, Debra, gracie and 2 others like this.
  10. debmc

    debmc Well-Known Member

    I totally get it about sacrificing for your passion, and I am fortunate just to do ProAm at all, but with the expansion of the field and therefore the costs....it does make me wonder if this will become a sport that will simply out price most people.
  11. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    the longer I do this, the less available cash there is...so I have to make decisions...i dance less than I used to, both in number of comps and number of heats, there are some good and some very bad consequences to that, but it isn't impeding my progress as a dancer...and I keep my gowns much longer...I also rent them out...that has been nothing but good for me...yes there are a lot of well off people in dance/they aren't necessarily the ones who are succeeding the most
  12. Wannabee

    Wannabee Well-Known Member

    It is a difficult task to face. I don't get to compete nearly as much as I would like, and when I do, I always see the same ladies, in a new dress, dancing every heat they are eligible for, and dancing with top pros. Hearing them talk, they went to a big comp last weekend, last month, flew straight from one comp to another, etc. I have just come to terms with the fact that I can't "compete" with that. I have occasionally beaten these ladies on the floor, but with their ability to have so much more comp floor time than me, it shows. So, I decided about a year ago that my time would be better spent just trying to see improvements in my own dancing from comp video to comp video and not worry so much about what unlimited resources will buy.

    I still struggle with being ok with it sometimes though...lol. I'm only human :)
  13. debmc

    debmc Well-Known Member

    It reminds me in a way of the housing bubble a few years ago....and I know this may be a strange analogy. Builders kept on raising housing prices, people kept on spending more, and finally the bubble burst and it was a lose lose situation for most. Is this an accurate analogy to make?
  14. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    I Don't think anything is different now than from years ago. I've been hearing the same conversation the entire length of my career, almost 25 years. People just suddenly become more aware.

    Everybody wants their favorite hobby to be cheap enough and their job to be cush enough that they get to play their favorite hobby to the fullest extent.
    samina, Mr 4 styles and Bailamosdance like this.
  15. dbk

    dbk Well-Known Member

    You're paying for a pro to train, practice, and compete with you... as someone who only does am/am (AND can't put that much money into it), I'm kind of shocked that anyone would be shocked by the price of pro/am. Of course it's expensive!
    Warren J. Dew likes this.
  16. gracie

    gracie Active Member

    Yes, it seems to be true for the most part. There was an article in Dancebeat not too long ago where they gave info on the winners of the Pro-Am scholarships in many divisions. It went something like this- A has been dancing with B for 13 years. She takes 5 lessons a day 5 days a week and goes to 22 competitions a year. Other articles in different editions described how often they were getting coaching as well. Competitive dresses are around $4000 now and many Pro-ammers are changing to the young currently competing Pro's. In the final of the closed C silver American Smooth at Millennium last week, everyone who made the final was dancing with a currently competing Pro who does well in their division or a past Pro Smooth champion. The quality of dancing of Pro- Ams has risen also. I've been competing for 6 years so have been observing the evolution.
    debmc likes this.
  17. debmc

    debmc Well-Known Member

    Yes, that is true!
  18. debmc

    debmc Well-Known Member

    I'm not referring to the private lessons as much as all the other stuff that goes into being a successful competitor. Comp fees, dresses, jewelry, travel, coaching, doing enough comps to get the floor time in, etc, etc. I don't begrudge anyone their individual costs, but when it is all combined ... Whew! That being said, Larinda is right...wish I made enough to 'play to the fullest extent'.
    dancelvr likes this.
  19. debmc

    debmc Well-Known Member

    Yes, this is the sort of thing I'm observing as well.
    gracie likes this.
  20. Wannabee

    Wannabee Well-Known Member

    Of course we do! :) I would even define "success" as being exactly this (career wise).

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