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

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

  1. DrDoug

    DrDoug Active Member

    Yes, that's what I thought, too.

    It's the going rate for my teacher. As swan explained, prices vary a lot from one pro to another.
  2. mamboqueen

    mamboqueen Well-Known Member

    Swan, I would never criticize, but I am picking my jaw up off the floor.

    My current instructor charges $200 plus the costs of each dance (last one was $35/dance, I think) and a split of the expenses, which is never much; he doesn't book the penthouse and eat at 5-star restaurants. I think it is VERY fair. Oh, and his fee is the same whether I dance 5 dances or 100.
  3. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member pro am student is delusional enough to think her pro is going to see her across a crowded dance floor, scoop her up and dance off happily ever after...I have a very active fantasy life and even I know better than that.....but I also don't think my pro is some mercenary gigilo out to stink all of my money out of my wallet with no care for what I learn...and, since you previously experessed some interest in my wise use of money I am incredulous that you think it is not a waste of time for me to literally watch my husband for an entire lesson when he doesn't even want to compete by the a worthwhile venture toward good partnering......but enough said....holy moley...yes of course there is value to any endeavor if you want it....either way
  4. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    my pro is considerably less costly than the amounts you have all mentioned....never more than $10 a dance and $75 for his expenses....thus I hardly think he is doing it all for the great dough.....and we will do well in october because of BOTH of us...and we will have fun :wink:
  5. mamboqueen

    mamboqueen Well-Known Member

    Seems like a bargain to me. Does he own his own studio?
  6. swan

    swan Member

    Good deal! There are pros who charge less. The ones I mention are I'd say quite well known in the pro/am standard field - and I broke them down into the different fee structures.

    Local comps typically also cost a lot less, as you don't have to pay travel expense which is usually very costly (air, hotel, etc...)

    BTW - if a pro is associated w/ a studio, sometimes studio also charges a fee...I know I've paid $150 for studio fee before.
  7. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    no he doesnt own a studio but he should... though I don't think he's going to at that rate....just Way toooooooooooooo nice and he is quite good ...truly...I think he is just cautious and self-supporting and contrary to popular opinion, loathe to exploit when we are al already paying a blue freaking fortune for lessons.....hopefully he will own a studio someday....I am doing my best to bankroll it :wink: my husband doesn't mind I lucky or what?
  8. mamboqueen

    mamboqueen Well-Known Member

    Yes, you are. My husband and I don't discuss the finer details, like cost. It's kind of a "don't ask, don't tell" thing.
  9. Waltzer

    Waltzer New Member

    I feel it is unfortunate that this thread deviated from its original topic and evolved into pro/am vs am/am discussion as I hoped to hear more about other people considerations in choosing a pro.

    Swan is making an interesting observation that the pro/am couples with not 'very' top pro look less 'pro-amish'. However, it seems that the pro's reputation and past achievements have a significant impact in determining the placement in a competition.

    After doing pro/am for a few years with different instructors, I am wondering how important other considerations are, such as

    - believing that the pro has your best interests in heart (in terms of developing you as a dancer) as opposed to his financial and self-promotion interests

    - good personal relationship, meaning that you can disscuss and resolve problems if they arise and the pro is open to looking at things from your perspective

    - how many other pro/am students the pro has; is he so overworked that you are not getting enough individual attention (e.g. Swan mentioned that she didn't have a chance to warm up at a competition)?

    -does the pro truly try to understand your motivation and goals and work with that? (I liked the point made by ChrisC about possibly pursuing different goals according to what kind of a pro you are working with)?

    - some other things I am forgetting?

    I have experienced myself and seen others in both good and bad pro/am situations; by bad I mean that it drains you financially and emotionally and you start to wonder why you are doing this at all. For me the driving force has always been the desire to realize whatever potential I have in dancing and one day to be able to 'find my own voice', i.e. to be completely authentic in the way I dance. However, when you try to translate that into practical terms - how many lessons to take, with whom, how much to compete - things become fuzzy and uncertain. Competitions provide a concrete short-term goal and a way to validate the work that you did. I think for most of us being successful in competion is important and working with a 'top' pro may provide some assurance in this regard. However, how important is it relative to other considerations?
  10. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    The lack of interest seems to make the critical difference between a good investment and a bad one.
  11. swan

    swan Member

    If I had not known my friend so well (who's deciding on the pro switch) that she would not read this forum, I'd have thought I just had the above conversation w/ her the other day & she's here lurking around for other advice ;)

    Those were exactly the considerations we've discussed.

    I'd just summarize my answers to her rather than answer them individually:

    I personally think it's utmost important that the instructor has your best interest & development at heart. He/she should have a plan or strategy for the student to progress/advance. Pro needs to be honest with the students in terms of what's realistic to achieve, but at the same time 'nurture' them so that they are not discouraged because of some preconceived notion that older people could not learn & crawl out of silver or gold (my friend started at a rather late age, very late...let's just say, after 50, as I won't disclose her age :))

    Also, I truly believe each person learns differently, and the pro you choose must understand your needs & learning style & be able to find ways to communicate with you, motivate you, etc. and to make you understand the material. E.g. some people learn visually, some people learn kinestically (everything they need to feel & be 'fed' with body), some people understand verbal instructions & intellectualize everything. You need to pick a pro either he/she can customize the teaching or someone whose teaching style suits you best.

    In summary, you want a pro who you enjoy working with, and that hopefully is reciprocated. You need to be able to bring the best out of each other - your best reward for the teacher would be not only the $, but also your improvement. Likewise, the teacher's reward for you would be to bring the best out of you, to challenge you beyond your limits, help you explore your untapped potential & ability (not that you would not do that yourself).

    Now, back to the realistic 'placement' of Pro/Am comps. There's a reality check here...Read my last post...I did say that it takes a high ranked pro AND a sound performance for a good placement. I do not believe either 'alone' would achieve the placement. Let's say, if you have 2 couples, one w/ a high rank pro & they dance average, and one couple w/ much less ranking but the couple dancing was really good...Chances are (not always, but most of the time), the high rank pro w/ the average performance student would place higher.

    This is unfortunate in the Pro/Am scene, but hopefully w/ the Embassy Ball this time (since it's the international judging panel, and some of them have never judged pro/am comps before & probably were marking folks like they would in judging real couple dancing), even though I believe some of the ranking was still somewhat 'unjust' (I've given my full opinion on this one in the Embassy Ball streaming video thread & will not repeat here) it's already moving toward the right direction. There're couples who's got a big named pro who did not make the final, and that lower ranked pro w/ the truly talented student did make the final. That's the reward for the pro/am couple already (even though I'm sure they'd have hoped to place higher given the excellent performance...)

    So Waltzer, depending on what you are really trying to achieve...If you ask me - again, that'd be my own preference, I'd choose a pro based on the above considerations & only hope that my performance is good & I hold my own weight out there and can get into the final. I would not shoot for the best named pro who probably could secure me in top 3. Heck, even if the pro 'guarantees' me the winning, I will not pick that pro based on the winning factor...

    Same thing goes for Amateur partnerships. Now I'm going to elaborate just a little further, as I had this insight for a while ;) I meant to start a thread of its own & decided against it.

    The insight is - do not look for the 'best' dancer you can find in your own (or higher) level as a partner. But rather, pick the one you can work best with & both of you bring the best out of each other! The dance dynamic and connection count just that much more on the competition floor than the pure 'level' or skills.

    Of course, the techniques/level compability will all come when you develop together...
  12. standardgirl

    standardgirl New Member

    I pay all the entry fees to my events, usually $25 to $35 per single dance although there are more expensive competitions than others (such as USDSC). Then my teacher charges a flat $250 per day, so yes, it ends up a lot cheaper when they have the scholarship/multi dance events run on the same day as the single dances. In addition, I also pay a share (divided among all students attending that particular comp) of my teacher's expense such as hotel, meals, travel, etc..

    I usually do 10 single dances plus one multi dance or scholarship event. Sometimes, we dance 5 single dances plus teo multi dance or scholarship events depending on scheduling and competition rules. For an in-town competition, my teacher usually has quite a lot of students attending (about 5 to 7 students), and the cost it about $700 plus whatever I pay for myself (meals, tickets, travel, etc.). For an out-of-town comp with about 3 students going, the cost goes to about $1,000 plus my own expense (airfare, tickets, meals, hotels, etc.).

    Well, I technically don't pay for my pro's entry fee in the pro events, although I am sure, it's somehow "factored" into what I pay him anyways. :wink:

    It does look like you pay less than what I do for pro/am...... :wink:
    I have noticed that pro/am can be priced fairly differently and cost and vary widely in different area of the US.
  13. Joe

    Joe Well-Known Member

    ...and women complain about the pressure to be thin. :roll:
  14. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    actually michelle we had this problem (not being able to see past him to me) in one of our routines even though my coach is a small we changed our choreography on that routine after it was pointed out to us.....I am sure (as you mentioned) that you had other issues...but I just thought I would mention this
  15. Merrylegs

    Merrylegs Well-Known Member

    Hang on a minute! I'm not talking 5 pounds here. He's at least 35-40 pounds overweight. There's thin and there's healthy and then there is overweight and so on. I'm not saying I demand that my coaches conform to a particular lifestyle but when you get burped on during a lesson and it smells like McDonald's french fries it's pretty frickin' gross.

    It was also uncomfortable to get into contact position when his , ahem, physicality kept getting in the way, or is it weigh?

    He's also promoting a sport and I don't think the above referenced items are very sportsmanlike.

    Joe, read before you post, bro. It's pretty evident what I was talking about in my earlier post.
  16. Merrylegs

    Merrylegs Well-Known Member

    Joe, maybe I just don't get your humor. Perhaps it doesn't translate well through the written word.......
  17. scullystwin42

    scullystwin42 Well-Known Member

    Just a note of caution on this suggestion - I do this, and the first few lessons with the pro I was competing with, there was a bit of tension because I asked things to be changed to the way my teacher did them.

    Both of these pros are at the same studio, just my teacher-pro has more experience with Int'l Latin, and my partner-pro has more American Rhythm experience. it made for some strained moments, but it did get better over time.
  18. Katarzyna

    Katarzyna Well-Known Member

    I think training with one and competing with other can get really messy... and can create a lot of bad feelings... Its possible but will require a lot of balancing and sensitivity....
  19. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    Kind of like a couple loyal to different teachers...
  20. Katarzyna

    Katarzyna Well-Known Member

    kind of.... it can get tense...

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