Ballroom Dance > Picking a Pro to do Pro/Am...

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

  1. saludas

    saludas New Member


    as I said in my post:
    don't read yourself into this description

    If the shoe fits, sorry, but I simply quoted your description of the pro you 'fired' as the basis for what people do not want in a pro teacher, or a partner. I am sure you agree - you made the comment.... and I assume that since you said it it must be accurate to your feelings. And, I said also 'don't read yourself into this description'....

    I sincerely brought it up to simply point out that the other 'partner' can see these same things in others. And that the people looking for the 'perfect partner' might need to see that context first.

    Don't take this personally, but I didn't have you in mind when I commented about this. I just thought your comments about the pro you fired should spark discussion. After all, if the instruction was good, then he was fired because of... looks? Attitude? If the instruction was bad, then go girl.
  2. DancingMommy

    DancingMommy Active Member

    I just want to address this quickly.

    For those of us women under, oh, 40 (heck closer even to 30) years of age, it is rather difficult when almost every male dancer in the area is pushing 70 or if Pro, a really sucky dancer. I live in such an area.

    This is a really serious concern. In our area, there are probably 50 "top pros" if you listen to some of the advertising laid out at our local USA Dance functions. But the level of dancing from said pros is laughable in a lot of cases and their teaching skill isn't much better. So to get a really good pro, you have to stand in line and take a number. The really gret pros can pick and choose.

    And then to add insult to injury, most of the guys out dancing in our locale are either really old, really bad dancers or both. I think I lucked out to A) get a guy who was a passably good dancer when I met him and married him and B) got a kicka$$ coach, too.
  3. Katarzyna

    Katarzyna Well-Known Member

    Great for you :D :D
  4. DancingMommy

    DancingMommy Active Member

    It didn't hurt that I prayed a lot, lol! But I seriously did luck out. even if I did have to date a former student, lol. ;)
  5. Merrylegs

    Merrylegs Well-Known Member

    He was fired when he suddenly stopped returning my phone calls and, yet, still had a few hundred bucks of my money that I used to pre-pay lessons and some scholarship money I'd won. He is an independant instructor not affiliated with any studio so didn't think he had to answer to anybody. After 2 months of him ignoring my emails and voicemails I threatened him with legal action. he responded within 15 minutes of my sending that email. He didn't feel he needed to refund my scholarship money but after a few more months of waiting for the "money order" to show up in the mail, I finally confronted him at a competition and did get the money.

    I was already getting bummed out about his physical size and lifestyle habits and then this happened. You truly could not see around him to be able to see me dancing. I'm petite but not THAT small, he's not HUGE just really big.

    Also, I'm pretty sure that the point of contact on a woman is not her breasts pressed again the man. But that's for another topic/day.

    I'm definitely in the right place for instruction. See ya tonight, Peter! :bouncy:
  6. Katarzyna

    Katarzyna Well-Known Member

    I think I remember when you were discussing this on DF...
  7. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    Short supply yes, but greater supply than qualified ladies active in the amateur scene.

    Perhaps this is because unpartnered men will hang around on the amateur side of the house waiting, while unpartnered women tend to go off into pro-am and aren't around to match up.

    (The amateur scene in Boston is not really studio-based BTW, so what you see at studios gives a false impression)
  8. Merrylegs

    Merrylegs Well-Known Member

    Where are they :!: :?:

    I'm guessing they are in the college circuit which really is not an option for me. I'm past the age where a 20 year old would actively seek me out as a dance partner. A few years older and they want to date me. Seriously, it's the strangest thing. The 24-28 year olds dig me. I haven't taken any of them up on it...... yet. :lol:

    Inquiring minds want to know, Chris, where are the unpartnered amateur men in Boston? I'd seriously travel to New York for a partnership. Easy.
  9. Katarzyna

    Katarzyna Well-Known Member

    It's the stranges thing: all the man I talk to say there are no women around, I get the same story when I talk to women... Maybe everyone is just too picky ?
  10. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    Even in NY, the number of active amatuer competitors outside the relatively young core group that is nationally famous is surprisingly small.... the difference is that down here, it's easier to find them since they tend to be studio based. In Boston, the collegiate events are about the best gathering point for the rest there is - the older couples who are active tend to show up at those, and practice here and there... unless they have the lesson right before or after yours, you might never see them in the studio. Or comparing it another way, MASSABDA is strictly social, with the college teams providing the only group setting for competitors - in contrast, NYUSABDA is a very active, competitor(/ex-competitor)-driven chapter, with substantial involvement even from those on the college teams. Because Boston's college teams are occupying the attention of a fair fraction of its active amateurs (student and otherwise) who would elsewhere be the driving force behind a common, public community/organization, it would be fairly hard to create something there, beyond what the teams already do provide to the public.
  11. Merrylegs

    Merrylegs Well-Known Member

    Well, it's possible. I had a try out with am amateur partner earlier this year and it was a fiasco. His ad said he was a silver lever 10 dancer. Cool! We tried out and he led only bronze steps. When I asked him when he would feel comfortable dancing the silver steps with me he stated that he didn't do silver steps but had to compete in silver because the college comps placement limitations bumped him up. He's well past the traditional age of a college student and I thought it odd that this would be a deciding factor. Then he said he refused to move up until his bronze steps were the best anyone had ever seen. Huh? A+ for effort but the logic was a little off. He's been dancing for about 5 years, I think.

    Now, let me clarify: a motorcycle accident sidelined me for a few years then my family life fell apart with me losing both of my parents within 16 months of each other. Add financial struggles into the mix and I spent a number of years where dancing couldn't be in the forefront of my mind. I came back to dancing about 21 months ago. I'm dancing in the silver level now for one more event and then it's adios to that level and hola to gold smooth. I took a lot of steps backwards because other things were more important. I've danced all the styles but prefer standard and smooth, in that order. I dance smooth so that I can have some freedom of movement.

    I can understand the above mentioned amateur dancer's philosophy but since I had danced at higher levels, I feel I am capable of getting back to where I was once. Or close. It doesn't get easier as you get older and let's not forget the permanent injuries I sustained. I felt to dance with him wouldn't be fair to either of us since I wanted to move up and he was o.k. with staying where he was. I don't think either of these philosophies are wrong, they just contradict each other and won't mesh for a partnership.

    I don't think that I was picky, it just wasn't a match.
  12. Katarzyna

    Katarzyna Well-Known Member

    I agree that it wasn't a match in your situation... I think the most important thing for a partnership is common goals and motivations... and if your goals don't match, the partnership will never be successful..
  13. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    There may well be personal reasons why that partnership wouldn't work, but criticizing someone for wanting to dance bronze material well is reaching a bit far - I regularly see couples in open competitions who really should have that as their immediate goal. Granted in smooth the silver forms of dances look enough different that this is the one place bronze material will not fit as well on a silver or gold floor, however just as with open standard it's pretty much impossible to do the continuity forms well if you don't really own the basics in a way rarely seen at basic levels - believe me, I tried ;-)

    (Collegiate comps are pretty much the only contested amateur events in the Boston area, so it's no surprise that a syllabus dancer would feel bound by their rules, regardless of age)

    Perhaps perceived lack of ambition was an issue - but something we need to keep in mind is that choice of material is very different for the two halves of an amateur parternship. The leader really needs to know things forward and backward to lead them well, meaning that men are likely to be a lot more (legitimatally) bound to the material they have studied. In contrast, the follower needs only a general idea of the material, to go with her hopefully well developed reflexes for basic actions. It's quite realistic for a leader to explain a grouping he's familiar with and dance that together in a tryout (if he can really lead it), but quite unrealistic for a follower to introduce material in that setting which isn't at least closely related to something the leader has experience with. Both still have equal right to their preferences, but the practicalities point to relying on his repertoire in the early stages of a partnership.
  14. DrDoug

    DrDoug Active Member

    Besides my own expenses, I pay the entry fees for whatever events I enter, and my teacher charges $60 per dance plus a share of her expenses (the latter being divided amongst all the students she has at that comp). The weekend before last, I did a local comp and entered five one-dance events and one five-dance event. My teacher had one other student, and I ended up paying around $1070.

    I won't be doing any more out-of-town comps.

    If you mean buying the pro's admission into the ballroom for the session when you're dancing, that's a reasonable expense to pass on. If you mean paying the entry fee for professional events the pro is entering, that's a little odd.
  15. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    Figure you're paying it anyway... though I agree seeing it broken out as a seperate line item is a little odd.
  16. mamboqueen

    mamboqueen Well-Known Member

    Dr.Doug...that sounds pretty pricey. When I went to a studio that charged by the dance, they doubled the price, which was never more than $35. Is that the going rate in your area?
  17. LennJS

    LennJS New Member

    I guess I wasn't sure what the am has to pay for during a competition. I'm still a little shocked about the cost of competing pro-am.
  18. LennJS

    LennJS New Member

    To explain what I meant by the student paying for the teacher's entry fee. I thought in pro-am competition there is an entry fee per dance for both the am and the pro. I thougt the am would pay that fee for the pro. I'm not too knowledgeable about this.
    Now I'm under the impression that the pro will charge the am for a competition, depending on the number of dances. The pro will independently decide how much that charge is.

    Confusing enough? :D
  19. mamboqueen

    mamboqueen Well-Known Member

    No; there are no per-dance entry fees for the pros. They pay the admission price of getting into the ballroom like everyone else (which is usually a fee per session, i.e., matinee and evening), though.
  20. swan

    swan Member

    Sigh...I started this thread about how to pick a pro if one wants to do pro/am. And it invariably led to Am/Am Vs. Pro/Am debate, as always. Big SIGH!

    OK - the fees...Once again the topic of pain...Please - no more debate or criticism on this one. I'm going to state some facts - again, these are for standard Pro/Am people - as that's the only category I do know the fees because of my friends & my own experience.

    There are pros who charge relatively "reasonably" (please, those AM people, we do not need a debate on what is "reasonable". This is relative to the Pro/Am world only), ranging from $20-$75/dance (not rounds) & then out of town travel expense & the actual entry fees for the event. So for a Scholarship comp, which would be requiring single dance event entry + the scholarship (requirement of the competition by the organizer to generate more revenue...), you'll be looking at an average of $300-$800 just the pro's dance fees alone + all the entry fees + travel expense (if for out of town), easily over $1000 per competition (if entering scholarship or anything that's over 8-10 entries).

    There are also pros who charge a flat fee of $3000-$5000 dance fees plus travel expense + all the entry expenses.

    There are yet another group of pros who could charge up to & beyond $100 per dance per round (or a sliding scale of smaller fees for subsequent rounds) for dance fees + the rest of the expenses that I mentioned.

    The above are the most common fee structures. If multiple students are competing in the same event and if it's out of town, the pro typicallyw ould divvy up the travel expense. But no break on dance fees & your own entry fees.

    So by no means Pro/Am is cheap and it takes financial resource to do them. When I first heard about the fees, I almost died :shock: My pro warned me, as he knew I had done years of Am/Am & had NO CLUE about Pro/Am cost. He even tried to talk me out of it. Later, he even gave me a break for the first comp by not charging me a dance fee & just the travel expense, as he & partner were to compete in that comp (out of town for them).

    So after 3 comps, I had to quit Pro/Am because it was simply too costly for me. Now, that is just me...I must say the experience of Pro/Am was good for me. I was well taken care by the pro during the competition (except for our last comp, because for the first time, I had to share his time w/ the other competing ladie. And that I being his Open Scholarship A lady, did not even get a chance to warm up with him before hitting the floor, which got me a bit upset) and the training was invaluable.

    Anyway since I have lots of friends who do Pro/Am, and after what I saw at Embassy & the discussion of my friend's desire or doubt to change pro, I thought I'd put out some comments & thoughts for those who are contemplating to compete Pro/Am.

    Even if you have a lot of money, I would still agree with Chris Stratten's first post about understanding your goals and finding a pro who can best align to that. And sometimes it's even picking a teacher to train with and another pro to compete with. That's plenty fine as well. Sometimes it does take a bigger name pro to be noticed on the floor in earlier rounds, especially if everyone's performance is somewhat even. But again, that's just generalization & not always the case. As long as the couple dance well together, getting into the next round usually is not too much of a problem in Pro/Am and probably not even too much issue to get into the final. However to place high or win in scholarship event, I personally think in most cases (again, most, NOT all) it probably takes both the ranking of the pro AND your performance as a team to secure the top placement in the big pro/am comps.

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