Pro Am where Am is the male

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by 123N, Oct 25, 2005.

  1. Dancefever

    Dancefever New Member

    I feel better. It just came across to me as more gender specific and your explenation makes it clearer. Thanks MQ.
  2. mamboqueen

    mamboqueen Well-Known Member

    No problem. And trust me....it's hard to find fault with David. I was just keenly aware of the whole "expression" thing because I find it so hard myself. I certainly wouldn't turn down a dance with him. In fact, I rarely turn down a dance at all :)
  3. mamboqueen

    mamboqueen Well-Known Member

    BTW, that was one of my favorite shows ;)
  4. ThreeStep

    ThreeStep New Member

    I did pro/am last year. It was pretty awesome. They judge the open couples as a couple, not student vs. student.
  5. Kitty

    Kitty New Member

    did you feel at a disadvantage next to the couples where the man is the pro?
  6. standardgirl

    standardgirl New Member

    If we are talking about creating movement across the floor, then yes (IMO), male students are at a disadvantage over female students. Male pro's can often "make" their female student (not all students, of course) move with greater movements than what the students are able to do herself. Although some female pro's tend to do the same thing trying to help (for example, some female pro's "back lead"), it becomes obvious and unattractive from time to time when the judges see those things.

    Another thing being judged is the togetherness (assuming we are not talking about syllabus single where only the student is being judged - actually even in that scenario, it's often hard for the judges to judge the am's only, but this is another issue, and I won't go there). Sometimes, when a female pro dances with her student, the female pro tends to do her job "too much." Often, you will see the female strong and dancing actively, but not necessarily following. I don't want to be offensive, but I have seen this when Shalane dances with one of her student. They are both great dancers - both her and her student, but from time to time, you can see the student too busy with his stuff forgetting her and b/c she is so strong, she won't give in either. I am not saying this doesn't happen with male pro, female am. In fact, I believe swan mentioned something about this in another post where she talked about how some male pro's over danced their students. But it's easier and to happen and perhaps easier to notice as well when the leader is the student. Since the am lady knows less than the pro (hopefully ;) ), and is supposed to follow in the first place, it is less likely for the am lady to look too powerful in the couple.

    But of course, there are more than just those things. There are footworks which I don't think there is an advantage or disadvantage to any genders. And I have seen judges quite often staring at the student's feet. This was in the Open divison. As soon as the couple took the prep step, this judge immediately lowered her head and started looking at the feet. I even have a picture where you can see her clearly looking at the feet.

    Those are my personal experiences, but I have also heard opposite things which I don't quite understand yet. Someone once said that a couple can only dances as good as the lady's level. I don't exactly know how this relates in the pro/am context, but it was something I heard about ballroom dancing in general (probably referring to am/am or pro/pro). Another interesting comment I heard from a well known coach/judge is that when you see top am/am dancing, the ladies are just like attachment to the men, but when you see pro/pro dancing, the ladies actually exist. Does this mean that the ladies are supposed to be more active? Like the female pro in the pro/am case? but that doesn't seem to lead to good results though when the female pro is over powering their students.
  7. 123N

    123N New Member

    Precisely, I don’t see a point to compete against male pros, often Blackpool semifinalists on power and movements. I’ve seen them lugging a “refrigerator” and making it flying around the floor, this is a skill beyond my current level. However, if a couple, instead of the student, is being judged it would make sense for me to find a comparable female pro (height, skill, cost etc.) rather than a big name.
  8. DancingJools

    DancingJools Member

    It makes more sense to me to differentiate between the Standard and the Latin styles. I would agree with statements about a tougher responsibility for male pro-ams doing Standard, because of the floorcraft required. The rest of the dancing skills involved in Standard are more balanced, imho, between leaders and followers, and judges know enough to figure it out. So, apart from the added burden of floorcraft and the need to adjust the routine sometimes (and it's not a small burden, I'll admit), followers in Standard have a lot to do and keep up with, and if they don't, the judges will see it. And I've seen Blackpool finalists easily defeated by a lot less skilled pros, so it's not the unique skills of the teacher that count, in the end. That's for Standard.
    For Latin, I think the field is not only even, between males and females, I actually think men have an advantage. I know I can spin a lot faster, land a lot steadier, have better balance and move my body weight across the floor with a lot less effort, when I'm wearing the equivalent of men's latin dance shoes. I'd like to see some of the boys try that in 2.5" itsy bitsy heels held together on their feet with a couple of thin straps. With tons of makeup and the worry that the false eyelashes or the fake hair will come off in the middle of the floor. And the short skirt and self-consciousness that goes with it (not just the worry about the shapeliness of your thighs, but also because those skirts are merciless in revealing the correctness or lack thereof of your leg and foot action). And the worry about whether you're bouncing too much, in all the wrong places, in your jive. And the kicks. In those flimsy heels.
    Come to think of it, even Standard ladies have to wear those heels and walk backwards in them. Darn.
  9. standardgirl

    standardgirl New Member

    I think the same way for Latin, but I don't compete in that style though.
    Although when I talked about my view to a male friend who competes in pro/am latin, he didn't seem to agree. He competes in both Latin and Standard pro/am. He said that there isn't as much of a disadvantage for male students in latin compared to standard, but he still doesn't think that male students have an advantage in latin or to repharse his words, he thinks that male students are at a disadvantage in both styles just more in standard and less in latin.
  10. Dancefever

    Dancefever New Member

    Samba and Paso are traveling dances, floorcraft is part of these as well.

    And even though it is important to have good floor craft in Standard, if a latin heat has enough people, you really don't know which direction many can go in Chacha, it is like a free for all. So I believe floorcraft is always an issue and the more crowded the floor, the worse it is for any dance.

    But it is the man's responsiblity to keep time and lead, and that is where many pros have the advantage of experience. They dance much more on that floor, they are out there with the other pros more often and the student may be going out there cold.

    One thing the student should have in his favor is the fatigue factor. As experience may help the pro, he must be in great shape and pace himself for the entire comp. With that one advantage, he should make the most of it.
  11. chica latina

    chica latina New Member

    Isn't it true that a good female pro (who knows how to follow even the wrong leads or army leads, can be balanced all the time, spin and move fast without overpowering the partnership) could make any guy look good? I always thought that for a couple to look good, requieres that the female (the picture) would be GREAT. It's just more pleasent to watch, specially since most of the tricks, spins, syncopations are emphasize for the female part. Does anyone agrees?
  12. lynn

    lynn New Member

    i tend to agree chica latina - but i'm a total newbie.

    to me, if a lead is fairly good (o.k., i know this is a big assumption) - it's the follower's part that makes a good dance GREAT - the followers add to the variety and the "extras" to the dance to make it more lively and interesting.
  13. Dancebug

    Dancebug Active Member

    Ummm, I would agee as far as Latin dance is concerned. I think it is why my partner thinks he has become a better dancer all of sudden when he dances with a pro. (He does not think the female pro made him look good.)

    I am not sure about standard, though, because, for example, timing or providing a good frame is mainly a leader's responsibility.
  14. redhead

    redhead New Member

    following wrong leads and still doing the right thing = not following
    and judges will see that
  15. chica latina

    chica latina New Member

    I meant using arms instead of the body to lead; overleading; not being connected through their bodies but the pro female could follow and enhance it. Does it make sense?
  16. saludas

    saludas New Member

    Still wrong, and in addition much more obvious than the 'refrigerator movers' that proam men need to become.

    It is PARTNER dancing, not what is so often done in proam, and what is the common disclaimer of 'only the student is being judged'. Even the beginners can see it, if it is pointed out to them.
  17. redhead

    redhead New Member

    Well if the question is if female pro would look better than a female am in this situation - probably.
    If the question is if this would look good - no it doesn't. I don't enjoy watching it in comps and I feel really sorry for the female pro... looks painful
  18. saludas

    saludas New Member

    Not really, it is a partner dance. The lead and follow you are describing does not exist in reality in that the leader's role is at least as important in the dance, creating and making the movement work.

    The 'illusion' is that the follower is somehow put into positions that allow them to 'show off' and make beauty (the saying is picture and frame) but this is the EXPRESSION and not the reality of the dancing. The uneducated viewer sees a man sort of moving around and a woman embellishing on the man's forms, but in reality the man is 1. creating virtually all of the movement of the female via 'tics', body mechanics, and weight changes, allowing for swing and such 2. deciding on where and when choreography happens 3. makes sure that everyhting that is done is done to best effect and with as little 'disclosure' to the audience.
  19. alemana

    alemana New Member

    that overstates the leader's role in latin/rhythm, in my opinion.
  20. saludas

    saludas New Member

    I disagree. Where does the man NOT create the body actions in the woman in Latin? (Outside of syllabus dancing, of course - I'm talking open)

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