Ballroom Dance > Is Pro Am becoming a sport of only the wealthy?

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

  1. waltzguy

    waltzguy Active Member

    I had no idea my post would be considered offensive, as none was intended. In my dance career, I have done (and enjoyed) both pro-am and am-am. As I wrote, this entire sport in general tends to be expensive. I am not trying to create division in any way.
    fascination likes this.
  2. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    it wasn't offensive at all...was just a general caution (only mentioned your name to clarify which post I was addressing because steve posted in between )...and only because...well, have you seen what happens around here when things veer in that direction :)? it was just a general, "let's not spin off into that area" advisory ....directed not at you...sorry about that... but to the entire participating audience
    waltzguy likes this.
  3. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    I will have to say, Steve, that I think you may have touched upon the crux of it because, to be honest, for me, there is something very unique about competing which, when it is really good, is unique..Is it possible to have something similar on a lesson or a showcase? Sure...similar...but not exactly...and it would hurt if that was over...for whatever reason...and so I can empathize with those for whom it is rapidly becoming out of reach, or increasingly scarce...that being said, not to sound cavalier, but there are lots of things in life that are out of reach for most of us...and we survive...but I sit in a pretty cushy place and I am mindful that I am more fortunate than many.
  4. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    (mini highjack for steve...btw, though...there were plenty of snappy dancers at that thar honky tonk)
  5. Akita

    Akita Well-Known Member

    Yup. Precisely why we dance am/am. While private lessons and costumes are still expensive, the cost per comp is a fraction of pro/am. And there's generally a lot more competition (at least at the USA Dance NQEs and Nationals.) :)
  6. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    I would venture to say, then we can get back on topic or make a new thread, that the pro am equivalents; usdc ohio, etc have similar degrees of competition, but we can take further elaboration on that elsewhere if we need to...because the issue here really is whether or not there is a path to success for people who are not wealthy in pro/am...not whether or not they should consider other avenues...I think most pro am students are acutely aware that am/am is less expensive and that there are other ways to dance
    debmc likes this.
  7. Warren J. Dew

    Warren J. Dew Well-Known Member

    It's difficult to improve without objective feedback, and it's difficult to get objective feedback outside of competitions.
    debmc likes this.
  8. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    it's also difficult to get objective feedback inside of competitions...and, truthfully, with a good deal of diverse quality instruction, I think it is entirely possible to improve without a good deal of feedback
  9. Warren J. Dew

    Warren J. Dew Well-Known Member

    I actually think the difference is smallest in competition costs. In pro am, you pay travel and accomodations for yourself plus part of a pro; in amateur, you still pay travel and accomodations for yourself. That's less than a factor of two difference.

    The difference in coaching costs is a full factor of two since you're splitting the cost with your partner. Practice is a factor of ten cheaper since you're not paying your partner for it - that's where the big differences are.

    It's true that if you enter every event in sight, the cost of a pro-am competition can be pushed up more, but you don't need to do that to compete pro-am.
  10. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    please please please ...let us not make this a comparison thread...if folks want to do that, resurrect an old one...thanks...further exploration of that will be deleted...double thanks...OP is not searching for that info
  11. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    OP...if you go to usdc website, and you look at winners, then you go to dancesport series and check their rank for this will see little correlation...just one way to look at it of many
  12. Janson

    Janson Active Member

    Pro-Am is an interesting idea for me, coming from where we don't have much of it. I don't know if/how much it's increasing by but from my impressions I it most certainly a sport in general for the wealthy. Of course if you have one lesson a week and practice by yourself for a couple of hours, going to smaller, local comps every month or two - it's not hugely unreasonable for most, considering it's a semi-serious hobby. However I do think that even given the extra money of some people, the 'athletes' will shine over the hobbyists. Assuming one is willing to sacrifice a bit, and then do fitness on the side, practice by themselves, work on flexibility - then they can do just fine without the latest sparkly dress.
  13. latingal

    latingal Well-Known Member

    Being a business type gal, besides a latin one - I've always known that this market will charge what the market will bear. So the only vote I have in the matter is with my wallet. So as costs escalate and start to exceed what I am willing to sacrifice (in comparison to what I get from the experience), I cut back. As much as it is tempting to do, no amount of hair tearing or gnashing of teeth on my part is going to impact the situation, so I simply train myself to skip that phase. It is what it is.

    The only ways that prices might come down in this business is when; the suppliers of the commodity cannot attract the buyers that they require, or new suppliers enter the market who are willing to take less in price, or you change the way the game is played or the way you yourself play it. The issue here seems to be that there is a subset of consumers who can and are willing to dedicate significant resources, and they are matching up with a small subset of high level and/or desirable dancers that are able to supply those services to "win" the game under the current conditions.

    That said, is pro-am a sport for wealthy? It depends how you want to participate in it.
  14. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    exactly....well said...I have certainly had to adjust, and the vendors were the first to feel it, then the organizers and coaches...and pro, only somewhat....but I have made the adjustment because the lessons are what are most important to me....
    latingal likes this.
  15. debmc

    debmc Well-Known Member

    Yes, it seems I am noticing that subset more....perhaps just because I've been doing this for awhile now. I've had casual conversations with student dancers who spend more on dancing than I make in a year!
    latingal likes this.
  16. debmc

    debmc Well-Known Member

    Same adjustment here..... My lessons have remained the same, but I've had to cut down on coaching and comp participation. Still, I'm lucky that I can afford it at all.
    sbrnsmith likes this.
  17. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    that could be me and yet, I still pale vastly in comparison to is an incredibly diverse crowd
  18. sbrnsmith

    sbrnsmith Well-Known Member

    It's most certainly not a cheap hobby to have. I am doing 2 comps a year, and I am certainly not doing hundreds of heats. I want to get the comp experience and this is how much I feel comfortable spending. As far as lessons, I do try to get in whatever I can, when I am off from work. I guess each person has to decide what they are able to do based on income. I feel it definitely caters to deeper pockets. I have a friend who is spending thousands of dollars on comps, dresses and lessons, because she wants to and she can do it. We all know people like that. I don't feel envious, because that's not my goal, but if I had to cut down on my lessons because I couldn't pay, that would hurt and I would try to find a way to do it. It's like anything in life, you find a way to do it if you want it badly enough, but its definitely not as cheap as say a solo sport like running, where the only costs are shoes/ running gear and entry fees at races which is usually $50-100 per race. But there's no pro involved and you train on your own which makes a big difference.
  19. debmc

    debmc Well-Known Member

    Just for clarification, it wasn't you, and yes, it is a diverse crowd. I'm just hoping that the diversity remains so we all have a place at the table.
    fascination likes this.
  20. Here is how I make my pro/am work. I moved back home (thanks, Mom!). I work double shifts. I don't buy anything unless it is severely discounted (end of year, etc.). I don't eat out. I am lucky enough to have a coach who designs my dresses, but then I do the rest of the grunt work. ( I worked/trained at a dress shop to work off the cost of making the body of the dress, then I used that training to finish the rest of my dress.) I looked for the best strength trainer, then split my costs with another dancer. I will only go to competitions if I can split the costs with another dancer. And yet, still after all that, pro/am still costs me a fortune.

    It is not a hobby for me. I am at a critical time (age wise) and need to make every move a strategic one that can help me forward to achieving my goal. I don't know how many dancers out there that are in my same position. Maybe a lot, maybe a few. However, I do know that the cost of pro/am ballroom doesn't seem to be getting any cheaper. And it's a crying shame, because there are a lot of people who desire to dance but are even in worse financial means than myself. Case in point: I watched a young girl dancing. Maybe 14 or 15 years old. She was amazing and you could tell she loved it. Unfortunately, she could not afford even a lesson or two a week, much less fees for comps and dresses. I felt so bad for her. Offered her a dress to wear. Told her I could help with hair/makeup for free. And yet, she had to decline, due to the price of entries even at a local comp.

    Never saw her again. So sad. And I have to wonder, as I watch today's top dancers compete, what the dancing scene would be like if the ballroom playing field was not so crazy expensive. How many amazingly gifted dancers has the ballroom world lost due to expense? We will never know.
    jerseydancer and latingal like this.

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