Picking a Pro to do Pro/Am...

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by swan, Sep 5, 2005.

  1. Gumby

    Gumby New Member

    I've given alot of thought to this debate - because I get really annoyed with the lack of respect that pro/am's get and because folks who want to diss other people's choices in this area so often don't have any knowledge base or background to do so just a lot of opinion. I don't think there will ever be a resolution to the pro/am vs am/am argument. Part of the problem is that people have been burned on both ends. I know am's who were taken advantage of in Pro/am situations and Am's who have been burned by their Am partners and trade off to Pro/Am for security that a paid partner brings.


    I have now been on both sides of the equation. I've danced Pro/Am in Smooth with two different teachers for over five years (bronze through Open Gold) and recently picked up an Am partner in Standard (never thought THAT would happen). I take minimum two lessons a weeks with my pro to work on smooth and two lessons a week with my amateur partner. I get coaching with both partners on a regular basis and outside of lessons I practice more than 10 hours a week. Now that I have established my bona fides and leaving aside, for the moment, the financial considerations, I want to clearly state that I've found very positive aspects to both and limits to both. I plan to continue to do both as long as energy and finances permit.

    Over the years, I have seen Pro's who know how to show off a student to best effect and others who look so bored with their students that I wanted to run out on the floor and kick them in butt. For what their getting paid they can at least look happy to be there.

    I have more freedom to dance with my pro. I don't have to worry about him being in position, on balance, him catching up if I need to make an unplanned seque. I just know that he will take care of himself and all I have to do is dance flat out.

    With my am partner I have a different feeling of accomplishment when "we" make something work that has been giving us problems or figure out what technique was missing that was keeping us from moving through a certain figure et cetera. There is also that great sense of belonging (my partner) that is missing from even the most congenial pro/am relationships.

    Dancing pro/am gives you time to work on just you - to develop good technique quickly because you aren't unconciously accomodating your partners problems. You know what the lead is "supposed" to feel like for a given figure and can take that back to your am partner and help him (or vice versa) You can find out the limits of your balance because you aren't fighting an off balance partner.

    Dancing am requires you to be able to articulate to yourself and your partner your understanding of what you have learned. 'I think it needs to be done this way because . . ..'

    I think too many people focus too much on the limitations of each type of partnership which if you think about it can almost equally apply to either type. Pro/Am is too expensive (if I can afford it that comes under the category of "none of your business") however in some am partnership where there is inequality in income one side frequently pays more anyway - again none of anyone else's business. Pro/Am is an unequal partnership (so are many am/am partnerships and even more pro/pro partnerships), the more experienced dancer (the pro) is holding up/carrying the less experienced dancer (ditto for some am partnerships).

    I don't flatter myself that anything I have to say on this subject is going to settle the debate or convince anyone who doesn't want to be convinced. I don't find it coincidental thath most of the folks who pontificate vociferously on the issue only know one side (and some don't even compete). Because I think that at its most basic the debate is really more about ego's than about dancing. For all us Pro/Am's my advice is give up caring - the Am only world is never going to give the Pro/Am's respect (deserved or otherwise) because at some level that would minimize their little world and a syllabus only dancer needs to have someone more insignifcant than they are. My thought on that is - get over yourself sweety you're never going to win a national title either.
     
  2. Merrylegs

    Merrylegs Well-Known Member

    It's quite clear that you don't enjoy or participate in Pro-Am competitions.

    I think I speak for MANY people when I say that I post on this forum (as opposed to another forum of similar content) because on DF I am among my peers. Which means people who have similar lifestyles i.e., competive/social ballroom dancers.

    While I don't want people to agree with me completely I do appreciate all the different viewpoints people from different genders, parts of the country and world, etc. I post here because I find it to be a supportive arena for ballroom dancers. Idon't post and read this board to be insulted for choices I make. I definitely don't post to have people write dissenting/disagreeable opinions. That's stupid and a lame excuse for being rude. This isn't a high school debate team.

    I also think that the OP is making excellent choices. If nothing else, she is adding years to her life. She is clearly focused and athletically inclined and she is engaging in a social activity that has a competive edge to it- all of which lead to a healthy lifestyle and one she will enjoy into her golden years. She gains a hobby that also gives her a social and creative outlet. She has goals. Rock on, girl!

    She also earns her own money and can spend any GD way she wants.

    It doesn't look like she'll be lingering in any of the lower levers for very long, either.

    For the record, I dance Pro-Am. Why? Because THERE AREN'T ENOUGH MEN IN MY AGE GROUP AND LEVEL TO DANCE WITH IN MY AREA. I also love to dance with SOMEONE AT A HIGHER LEVEL THAN ME. If that means paying someone to do it, I'm fine with it. Why settle for an amateur partner who may not be at my level and spend money on lessons to have the whole lesson time spent on my partner? What a waste of resources.

    I did the opposite of what fascination talked about earlier this year and dumped an overweight, junk-food-addicted and distracted coach for a newer model. When I would view my videos after competition all you could see was my left elbow! If the camera operator can't see me how can a judge? This new teacher comes with credentials and is better suited to me physically. My lessons are almost all technique based (love it) and we talk about long term goals for me. I'm not coerced to buy a block of lessons (like before) and it's totally about ME! Yay!

    Saludas, are you a ballroom dancer? Why do you post on a ballroom dance discussion board/thread and act so disagreeably? If you don't agree with what someone says regarding a subject that you don't like or partake in, why bother? Not trying to gang up on you , but, enough already with the negativity. Jeesh!
     
  3. DancingMommy

    DancingMommy Active Member

    I concur with you Michelle. If my husband were not my partner, I'd have to dance Pro/Am. I actually enjoy Pro/Am. It's nice to actually be able (as one person said) to focus on me without having to worry that partner is getting it right/wrong.

    For the record, most of our "together lessons" are spent on hubby because, well, he leads. I just follow. ;) So when I get the chance to take a lesson solo with my coach, it's AWESOME. I get more done in 1 hour with him than I do in 4 hours with hubby.

    Soadly, my coach refuses to do Pro/Am with me. He says our height difference is too much and it is not financially responsible for us as a family. Gawrsh, I love this guy! He's not so much a coach or teacher as a mentor. :)
     
  4. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    yikes... is it a full moon today or what? quite a bit of sisterly solidarity going on around this topic....

    and truly, there isn't a single guy at my studio with whom I could dance Am/Am...it isnt that easy to find one and likewise my husband doesn't have the time and even if he did we are in such different places that when we take a lesson together now 3/4 of it the instructor spends teaching him stuff I already know and I am standing there practicing by myself...or having to do it wrong until he gets it....I'd rather be on the other end of that problem....anyhow, I think several people have bottom lined it by saying "less judgement and more situational inquiry"....don't tell me what you know my problem is or what my pro is like or how useless my patterns are.....tell me what your experience is and acknowlege its limitations as just some in the world of options......
     
  5. Merrylegs

    Merrylegs Well-Known Member

    Maybe everyone's cycle is sychronizing....? Ha Ha!
     
  6. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    don't feed the wolves!!!!! I for one am nowhere near that time :lol: truly
     
  7. DancingMommy

    DancingMommy Active Member

    Don't look at me... I'm not having a cycle..... :p :p
     
  8. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    gasp ...could we just be a group of rational intelligent righteously P.O.ed women? :shock:
     
  9. diputs

    diputs New Member

    Isn't this an oxymoron? Except the P.O.ed part.

    *ducking for cover*
     
  10. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    I am going to let the others handle you 8) ...alas I must get on with my life today
     
  11. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    Not to disagree with your assesment of your specific local situation, but this kind of thing is often the way lessons go with succesfull amateur partnerships - listening to the teacher trying again and again to explain a concept to your partner that you've already had numerous tries at communicating.

    If it were easy to learn, they'd have figured it out and be doing it already (and the lesson would be about the next thing that one of you doesn't understand)
     
  12. DancingMommy

    DancingMommy Active Member

    See my sig line.....
     
  13. swan

    swan Member

    New moon cycle began on Sunday :) Just wait till full moon, god only knows if I had started this on the full moon cycle, what'd have really happend :lol: :lol: :lol:
     
  14. saludas

    saludas New Member

    It's quite clear that you don't enjoy or participate in Pro-Am competitions.

    I think I speak for MANY people when I say that I post on this forum (as opposed to another forum of similar content) because on DF I am among my peers. Which means people who have similar lifestyles i.e., competive/social ballroom dancers.

    While I don't want people to agree with me completely I do appreciate all the different viewpoints people from different genders, parts of the country and world, etc. I post here because I find it to be a supportive arena for ballroom dancers. Idon't post and read this board to be insulted for choices I make. I definitely don't post to have people write dissenting/disagreeable opinions. That's stupid and a lame excuse for being rude. This isn't a high school debate team.

    I also think that the OP is making excellent choices. If nothing else, she is adding years to her life. She is clearly focused and athletically inclined and she is engaging in a social activity that has a competive edge to it- all of which lead to a healthy lifestyle and one she will enjoy into her golden years. She gains a hobby that also gives her a social and creative outlet. She has goals. Rock on, girl!

    She also earns her own money and can spend any GD way she wants.

    It doesn't look like she'll be lingering in any of the lower levers for very long, either.

    For the record, I dance Pro-Am. Why? Because THERE AREN'T ENOUGH MEN IN MY AGE GROUP AND LEVEL TO DANCE WITH IN MY AREA. I also love to dance with SOMEONE AT A HIGHER LEVEL THAN ME. If that means paying someone to do it, I'm fine with it. Why settle for an amateur partner who may not be at my level and spend money on lessons to have the whole lesson time spent on my partner? What a waste of resources.

    I did the opposite of what fascination talked about earlier this year and dumped an overweight, junk-food-addicted and distracted coach for a newer model. When I would view my videos after competition all you could see was my left elbow! If the camera operator can't see me how can a judge? This new teacher comes with credentials and is better suited to me physically. My lessons are almost all technique based (love it) and we talk about long term goals for me. I'm not coerced to buy a block of lessons (like before) and it's totally about ME! Yay!

    Saludas, are you a ballroom dancer? Why do you post on a ballroom dance discussion board/thread and act so disagreeably? If you don't agree with what someone says regarding a subject that you don't like or partake in, why bother? Not trying to gang up on you , but, enough already with the negativity. Jeesh![/quote][/quote]


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    Ok, I'll not post here any more. I understand the 'sore points', and my reason for posting was to discuss what was brought up in the first post. Actually, I thought I did discuss them - and disagreeing is usually perfectly fine, as long as you bring up arguments and reason - which I did.

    I understand your needs tho - you ladies are looking for a man who dances better than you, and they do not seem to make themselves known or available to you.

    But did anyone ever consider why? Perhaps they share the same thought - they want to dance with someone higher level?

    It just crossed my mind that the ladies 'of a certain xxx' don't see the available guys because they travel in other circles - for the same reason you dropped your Proam teacher, too ("I did the opposite of what fascination talked about earlier this year and dumped an overweight, junk-food-addicted and distracted coach for a newer model"). It's a hard reality to face, you know, but male dancers are JUST as discriminating and demanding as their female counterparts. Their reasoning for picking a partner mirror yours (most of the lesson spent on the partner etc). They don't want an "overweight, junk-food-addicted and distracted" partner either (don't kill the messenger folks - this is a quote from another poster - don't read yourself into this description).

    People look for compatibility, good interaction, desire, and THEN ability in a partnership. That's why it's a partnership . The results are based upon the work and cooperation that is put in. Skills are nurtured and honed, not discovered, and talent may be in your partner more than you. Just because he doesn't 'feel' like the guy you're used to doesn't mean he will never feel that way - the same as you - you felt really bad until you were taught how to feel better. Don't be so judgemental. If someone came up to you the first months of your 'dance carreer', would they find the same grace and feel that you have now? Oh, and rememebr, it takes a leader 10 years to get to Champ level, and a woman 5 to 7 years.

    Imagine if you met your pro as an 'equal' at a social function. Do you think he would want to partner with you? Or would he be looking for someone in his/her level? Being honest, you'd probably see that you would not be the choice to be the person to pin his or her income and hopes and dreams on. They are pros because they want to make money from the dancing, after all - would they want you there to help them pay their rent? Sorry, but that is a reality.

    BUT I digress, and this is not the case here. I only bring up this point because I was told that "THERE AREN'T ENOUGH MEN IN MY AGE GROUP AND LEVEL TO DANCE WITH IN MY AREA. I also love to dance with SOMEONE AT A HIGHER LEVEL THAN ME"... but I think there are. They just travel in a different circle than you do.

    Do you really think a high level dancer is going to show up in your group class?

    Happily, in a good partnership, those kinds of demands (equal time in a lesson, for instance) are muted for the good of the partnership.... and the realization that next lesson might be the same thing for the follower! The curve for success is measured in years not days or even months.

    What I CAN see is that the Proammers who post here are very enthusiastic about their experiences as a proam student. And they are very excited and happy about lessoning. It's great - and I am happy for them. What I was trying to say was, "Ok, great - but hey, take it to the next level. People PARTNER in this form of dance, and that has it's own rewards."

    As C Stratton pointed out, there are different lessons to be learned when partnering, as opposed to lessoning solo - and these are big lessons, indeed. So big that many women, when exposed to this daunting work, respond with comments about how hard it is to feel 'progress' when there are two students in the equation. This unfortunately is missing the point tho. The curve is daunting at the beginning, but even the 'inferior' partner eventually gets very close to the 'superior" in terms of knowledge. After all, they are both there for the lessons. hey hear the same information. And, remember, the inferior partner (at that time) has to put up with the limitations of the 'better' partner - and progress is slow because of that too. Yes, even the 'better partner' is not that much better. How can someone practice a turning action with someone who is not turning? Put the eogs aside - in an artform that takes years to master, 8 months of instruction certainly does not make for a pro (remember that just having lots of time on the floor is not enough, there is a need for that time to occur over many many months for it to work right).

    I end this post by saying that I hope everyone is happy when they come off the dance floor.
     
  15. LennJS

    LennJS New Member

    Uh oh.. Another pro-am debate to confuse me about going pro-am some more. I have an awesome teacher and I have lots of potential, but the cost... jeeezzzz...

    To pro-am students, how much do you pay for a local competition, and how about an average out of town one? (That's all inclusive, hotel, fees, tickets etc..)

    Something I don't understand about pro-am is why the student has to pay for the pros entry fees. I mean, after having taking a sh@#@%t load of privates with that pro... :roll:
     
  16. Katarzyna

    Katarzyna Well-Known Member

    Well, pro am usually is the main source of income for most of the pros...
     
  17. lynn

    lynn New Member

    Hmm, this is getting to be quite a heated debate - i'm sure everyone can appreciate both sides of the story. I would honestly thank everyone for sharing their experience - i know as a total rookie, i have benefited substantially from reading these posts. It's based on these different opinions (positive or negative) can we make an informed decision. I suppose the bottom line is - as long as the person makes a conscious, informed deicision - albeit am/am or pro/am and they're fine with it, we should just agree to disagree and leave it at that.
     
  18. mamboqueen

    mamboqueen Well-Known Member

    Not sure what you mean by this. As far as I know, I don't pay for my pro's entry fee unless it's built into whatever cost my teacher charges me.

    Prices are very wide-ranging. Pros charge in different manners (some will, for instance, double the am's entry fee and call it day; others have a set fee that they charge no matter how many dances you do, and there's probably many other methods).

    In any event, the last comp I did (which I drove to and did not use a hotel) cost me around $650 for doing 10 dances and a 3-dance championship.

    My next one, which will be an air trip, will probably be closer to $950 with airfare, hotel, 2 dinners and tickets to all the events during the 2 days I'm there.

    That doesn't count the pair of shoes, earrings or video I might or might not purchase :)
     
  19. Merrylegs

    Merrylegs Well-Known Member

    Saludas, I dumped the fatso dance teacher because he was too fat for the judges to see me, the person being judged. And, I had every right to. I was paying for a service I wasn't getting. He also held onto several hundred dollars of my money that represented lessons I paid for and scholarship money won. I have no regrets dumping the former teacher. I finally got the last of my money 7 months after I stopped taking lessons from this guy.

    And, for the record, I'm not looking for a partner who is better than me. Don't put words in my mouth. Given the option of paying a teacher who is less than great or the one who is highly trained, I opt for the latter. Who wouldn't? A partner who is on equal footing is EXACTLY what I'm looking for but since I don't see one in my daily/weekly travels I opt to do Pro-Am. It's making ME a better dancer. I was never able to "Take it to the next level with an amateur partner", I gave up trying.

    I don't see the guys that are at my level because, they are in short supply in Boston. If an amateur partner equal to my age/ability/geography waltzes by, I'll be sure to ask for a dance.It's not nearly as calculated as you portray it to be with everyone scrambling to partner up a level. I know who's out there, I was an office manager for 3 years at a local ballroom studio and before that I started and ran a ballroom team at a local university for 6 years. I now take lessons at a large studio where the concentration is not the style I dance. I'm not busted up over this, it is what it is.

    Your analogies don't translate. Choosing to smoke versus Pro-Am dancing in an earlier post does not even begin to make sense. Meeting a pro as an equal at a social function -- I don't even understand what that's about, frankly. Are we both pros, amateurs, what?

    I also haven't taken group classes in more than 4 years. I pay for private instruction.

    I've spent a lifetime doing things for other people, now, private instruction/Pro-Am competition is for me. I won't apologize for my choice and WILL defend it when it is attacked by the uninformed.

    Saludas, would you care to explain what the "limitations of the better partner are"? And, how the less experienced dancer has to endure them? I'm very curious to hear the rationale on this bit. Also, I pay the TEACHER to dance with ME. I don't care if he would or would not choose me. It's a service that I am paying for. I am a customer when you get down to brass tacks. My coach and I get along swimmingly , BTW.

    Also, I've seen a brand new female dancer shoot ahead to open latin in less than 1.5 years. I also know far too many male dancers stuck in bronze forever because of their egos and lack of ability to take constructive criticism. Your formula doesn't equate. Perhaps you are looking in the wrong place for your data the same way you think I am for an amateur partner.

    Saludas, you actually remind me of a long ago amateur latin partner of mine. Your name isn't Dan by any chance?
     
  20. Merrylegs

    Merrylegs Well-Known Member

    For the record, I'm not on my cycle now, either. Though not for the reason Dancing Mommy isn't. :D
     

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