Ballroom Dance > Student Challenges Prevalent in the Pro-am Structure

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by latingal, Jul 17, 2012.

  1. Bailamosdance

    Bailamosdance Well-Known Member

    Our first teacher told us to enjoy the practice, the work, the struggle, because the competition only lasts a few minutes and you spend the majority of your time lessoning, practicing, and working thru things.

    We LOVE the preparation, and we enjoy the results.

    Social dance does not add skills to our competitive work, since leading a social dancer usually means lowering our sensitivities, speed, and quality, for the reasons so often mentioned in threads where folks talk about dancing with others that either do not take any coaching or more directly, refuse to abide by the conventions of partner dance (things like using their standing leg, finding their balance, creating a strong and undistorted frame and shape). Floor crafting at a social is so different than a competition floor, with social dancers randomly stopping and talking, unexpectedly opening up against the line of dance, and moving in that slow 'march of the foxtrot' way. You might find most competitive dancers saying that social dance actually worsens their movement and abilities.

    Social dance is another animal entirely and should not be confused with competitive style dance... and what you see when you see 'serious' dancers doing their 'thing' on the floor is highly enjoyable to THEM (the breaking things down, working through arcane points, etc). Don't confuse your feelings with theirs. These folks relish the time they spend doing what they do, wherever they do it, just like a social dancer does - they just enjoy different aspects.
  2. Bailamosdance

    Bailamosdance Well-Known Member

    no offense meant - I am trying to make folks realize that the comp dancer in the social setting has differing needs and will appear alien to a social dancer who thinks that practicing or working out movement is the antithesis of a social setting.

    For a competitive dancer, the 'fun' is found perhaps in a different place than a social dancer...

    I do take offense at your comment that 'Social dance also involves people skills and manners that are not as important in a competitive setting'.
  3. debmc

    debmc Well-Known Member

    I wonder too. Is there a difference in the way couples prepare and experience dance when they are generally equally skilled i.e. in am/am or pro/pro partnerships versus the way a pro/am couple prepares? I would think there would be some differences.
  4. JudeMorrigan

    JudeMorrigan Well-Known Member

    Speaking from the am-am side of things, I think it depends on exactly what you mean. There are definite differences between ways couples prepare. The obvious one is the one that's been brought up in this thread: in my experience, am-am couples tend to spend noteably less time with solo practice than pro-am students do.

    But I'm totally with Joe on this one. Based on my own experiences and what I've seen from the other am-am couples in the area, "very little time is actually spent on "dancing for fun"... for want of another word. Lessons are spent on teaching and correction, practice is spent on fixing and repeating." is just as true as it would be for a pro-am student. Even those who still go to socials tend to spend 95% of the time at the social dancing with their partner (amateurs who teach are an obvious exception here). While I don't count that as "practice" really, it's also not truly dancing for fun.
  5. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    Answering as a pro. No, it is not. Time spent, dancing for the pure enjoyment of it is rather limited, if not disappears altogether for most pros, at least while in the active competition stage. I used to enjoy it, and often went out dancing, however that was pretty squashed when I went to work for a studio that mandated it, and it came with all sorts of strings, obligations, and people looked at you as if you were a hostess who was there to entertain them. And I think that is where most pros loose it.

    Any amount of "fun" I derive from dancing now is more of a call of personal duty to practice or compete. It is a different drive that motivates a pro to dance when the "fun" disappears.
  6. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    something more along the lines of this:
    All right so it sounds like it was written by a 17 year old highschool baseball player... but you still get the point.

    Attached Files:

  7. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    we have enough of this ad nauseum on other threads...let's get back to the topic
  8. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    I think it is more a matter of what becomes fun as you progress...sure you lose the enjoyment of tsome things...but you also gain so many things...

    what used to feel good and be fun can change...while that it lost, gaining something truly sublime that you have less often, may be worth is to me
  9. novemberecho

    novemberecho Member

    so it seems there is a link between what inspires a person to dance in the first place, and whether they are more inclined to dance socially or competitively?

    btw is there a thread on here that addresses "Why do you dance?" - or why do you love dance, something along those lines? I didn't get any hits on search...
  10. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    there is a thread like that...however, my point isn't that what inspires people is different...but rather, that sometimes the track they are on changes what they enjoy
  11. Joe

    Joe Well-Known Member

    I think I've said something like this before, but imagine you were, say, an accountant. You spend all day, 5 or 6 days a week auditing books for many companies. Do you think you'd want to go home and spend your leisure time auditing the books for your neighbor's small business?
  12. toothlesstiger

    toothlesstiger Well-Known Member

    I don't know that that is a valid comparison. Presumably, ballroom professionals are ballroom professionals because they love ballroom dancing. If it's just a job, there are other jobs that pay a lot better.

    If I was to compare, I'll give you two examples from my own experience. Software development. Certainly, there are a programmers that punch the clock. But the field is full of people that do it for fun outside of work. They write code for an employer during the day, and they write stuff that is fun for them in their off hours.

    Another is science. Without fail, every physicist I knew practically required threats to stop doing physics. You can tell physicists have been in the bar by looking at the napkins littered with calculations.

    That physics example is really relevant, I think. The hard work, the long years struggling to get some job security, the overall poor pay... You don't become a professional physicist unless you really love it, are obsessed with it, and can't imagine doing anything else. That's why I'm NOT a physicist now, I didn't love it enough to offset the sacrifice involved in pursuing it.

    How many people do accounting for fun when they get home from work? Probably a lot less than dance.
  13. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    I think your analogy is flawed in that there is a difference between being a dance teacher and being a dancer...there is a difference between ceasing to enjoy dancing that feels good with someone at your own level or above and being the better end of a pro/am partnership for hours on end...dancing always feels good for the less skilled dancer, it is absurd to expect that ust because one loves to teach and just becaus one loves to dance one should always enjoy and unlimited amount of dance with someone at the level of one's those other scenarios, the persons are not constantly having to reign in their own capacities
  14. Wannabee

    Wannabee Well-Known Member

    I have to agree with Toothlesstiger. I think there are aspects of ANY job that will feel like a job. But I think more often than not, if we are fortunate enough to be doing what we love, we can't help but let it invade our lives regardless of where we are and who we are with (be that with students who do not dance at the same level, other pros, etc.).

    And the whole pro-am issue in my opinion is not that unique to ballroom dancing. Certain aspects are different of course, but the general idea can resonate across multiple professions. For example, I have a doctorate degree in my field. I also serve as an adjunct professor for one of the universities in my city. I can tell you that it takes an enormous amount of patience and a special desire to teach students of any subject. And on some days, and especially with some students, I am just so not in the mood to work with someone whose skill set is so far beneath my own, given that I have been doing my job at a a level considered top of my field for 10 plus years. I suspect it is the same for dance pros. One major difference being of course that I am training these students to do this for a living, whereas dance pros are training students for the students' perception of "fun" and not as a means of supporting themselves later (usually). Therefore, the motivations of my students are different. I get that. But it still does not change the fact that I LOVE my job, inept students and all. And if I reach a point where I don't, I would like to think I will call the university and tell them not to send me any more students.
  15. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    I don't think it is a matter of loving one's job or least not as larinda was decribing it...I think it is about how much extracurricular activity in one's field one chooses to engage in ..and or an honest assessment about varying dance associaitions having varying degrees of pleasure attached to them...which doesn't in any way amount to no longer having passion for dance
  16. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    No one said we don't love our job, or we don't love dancing. I remember sitting up in bed, at 3 am, because I needed Steve to go down to the living room and try something with me, because I had a flash of inspiration. I LOVE what I do. I spend countless hours pouring over videos from my students and others, envisioning choreography for couples, listening to endless tracks trying to find the right show music for people. I stretch my body and practice technical bits that I need to reenforce.

    The question was do they 'dance for fun' ? I read that to be as in "go out to socials andf waltz all night"... And for the most part the answer is no. How many of us do you see at your local friday night studio social, unless we are paid to be there?

    Do we love to dance? Um, at my wedding two weeks ago you could not drag the pro dancers off the floor, they danced all night. Just not ballroom dancing, and not for show, and not as a trained monkey for others enjoyment, and not because they were paid to do so. We danced all night because we loved it. If you put us in a non studio environment and don't expect to see us do a rumba, we would dance all night long. It is just the unfortunate expectation that we have to do a waltz for other people to see and enjoy, in order for us to love our own dancing. And that is not fair, and is far from the truth.

    During the wedding party (80's themed) Thriller came on. And Mazen and Iza did an impromtu mini show with a small bit of their choreography. It was lovely and spontaneous, and full of their joy and silliness. What ruined it was about 2 hours later the DJ put Thriller back on and made an announcement for them to "show us what you got!". You can bet all of the dancers simply walked off and went and sat down. I bought a round of shots for them instead.

    We love what we do, and if I didn't I wouldn't still be here after 20+ years. But do I intend to go out to s social party every friday or even once a month. Absolutely not.
  17. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member isn't that people stop enjoying their passion, they just love it in different ways and places...oftentimes in ways that folks who are in a different space in that journey couldn't possibly understand...yet...
  18. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    there are people I loved dancing with at the beginning of my dance journey who I don't enjoy now..I didn't get snooty...I didn't stop enjoying social dancing...but it IS different now
  19. toothlesstiger

    toothlesstiger Well-Known Member

    Excellent points. Enjoying dance for itself is really only possible when you do it on your own terms. No one wants to be treated like a trained monkey.
  20. debmc

    debmc Well-Known Member

    I like Larinda's description of the dancing at her wedding party, and that feeling is what I am referring to. Is it possible to have that kind of "fun feeling" when we are on the competition floor? Yes, we can have passion, a sense of accomplishment, and enjoy ourselves, but I do like the feeling of fun that comes with movement to music, and it can be hard to be in touch with that side during lessons and competition. The moment I start to embrace that side.. invariably there are errors made in technique or connection.

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