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

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


    JANATHOME Well-Known Member

    Then there is this to consider in switching from franchise to independent.
    My experience is that the cost structure is quite different for comps at franchise VS independent. You may also want to inquire about the pricing structure of comps. A reputable studio should be glad to discuss this with you.

    If I was to switch instructors again my question would not be how to resolve many students who are interested in the same scholorship, but how many of the pros students travel to comps.

    In my situation all of my pros comp students do local or one state away comps but do not travel to out of state larger comps. What this means to me is that my cost to do an out of state comp is expensive because I soley foot the bills for pros travel and expenses..... I would gladly share scholorship time with other students in return for sharing pros costs.

    Just bringing up the downside (or price) of the luxury of unlimited pros availability for scholorships.
  2. nikkitta

    nikkitta Well-Known Member

    No, I certainly don't envy the Pros stuck in the middle. I made my desires and goals known early, and it looked like it was all set until another student decided to go for the scholarship too, at which point I was kicked aside. And the argument about friends and family watching at local comps isn't good since there are still plenty of single dance opportunities. I really wanted to enter the scholarship event, and I too put forth a lot of time, money, and effort in my private lessons, but could not travel far and do boatloads of entries like the others.

    It was one of several bad Pro-Am comp experiences, and one of several reasons why I have no interest in going that route any more. If you have found a dedicated and fair-minded Pro who doesn't fall prey to monopolization and manipulation, be thankful. It can get ugly. I detest it when something as beautiful and meaningful and dancing gets ugly, but sadly it happens.
  3. latingal

    latingal Moderator Staff Member

    This is a tough situation for all when there are multiple students wishing to do the same events at the same comps. It is up to the pro, and I find it best if the policies for how he chooses to allocate comps is up front and on the table when a student joins up.

    However, I find that a willingness on the part of students who do get to do some of the "coveted" events to cede priority on other events that are not as high on their priority lists to other students is a good thing. But I can only speak for myself on this one....

    And I also favor the idea of planning comp schedules somewhat up front. If students "put in" for comps at the beginning of the year, conflicts can be worked out much more equitably with lead time to re-arrange things so everybody might have a chance and priorities are established clearly before the comp season. It wouldn't mean that one couldn't decide to do a comp later, but then their priority for the comp might be adjusted a bit lower than those who put in for it at the beginning of the year (though of course other factors for priority held by the pro could supersede the adjustment).
  4. scullystwin42

    scullystwin42 Well-Known Member

    I have a friend who went to the independent pro from the franchise we both were at, at so it's been nice to compare costs almost directly. I'd like to spent a year or two doing some independent comps, and through the franchise it's substantially more costly, especially as (right now, at least) they don't have any other students interested in independent comps. I will definitely discuss the pricing structures and what other students may be traveling with the new pro. I do like my franchise studio - both the pros and the fact that it's like a 7 minute drive from my house - but to be able to afford doing the independent comps, I'd need to change pros for a while - it's literally financially motivated only. I'd probably end up coming back to the franchise, so I don't plan on burning any bridges. At least I'll try really hard not to.

    But good to hear other experiences with comp conflicts. Sounds like I need to be prepared with what I want to do, as early as possible.
  5. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    I think several things are important here...a student needs to be able to put themselves in the pro's shoes...obviously they are going to note who is a bigger part of their income, as any of us would in making our own calls in life...they are also going to consider who is mostly likely to win and who is most invested in those opportunities....that does impact their reputation.... hard as that may be to swallow, we all need to understand that (both when we are on the good end of it and when we are on the bad end of it)...I have been on both....

    I think the key is; do you also have the capacity to discuss it with your pro in a non-threatening way and talk about what might be done out into the future to make efforts to do some of the things you would like...

    I knew I was walking into a scenario where my pro had a good A2 with more money than me...I knew what that was going to alot of possible opportuites for titles and primo scholarships passed me by and I had to lose to alot of 18 year olds in A1...but I worked hard and was able to simply focus on my own dancing during that time...there were some nice benefits to that, despite missed opportunities... and I respected the seniority and investment of the other student and got along with her cordially with no was a great motivator for me to step up my game...I think, had the situation remained the same and had I closed the gap, then we might have had to have a few conversations at the beginning of the year about my goals and where we could go that no one else had interest in so that I could dance some of the events that I wanted to begin to explore...but it is key to be able to have that sort of candor with your, I am in the space that I have the most invested and have been around the longest...while it is not neccessary due to the level that others are currently at, I would expect that the same criteria that was used previously would be used now...
  6. tanya_the_dancer

    tanya_the_dancer Well-Known Member

    When there was a potential for a conflict like that - 5 people and only 3 scholarships for silver, my teacher said that scholarships will go to the students who he thinks are the most prepared (which translated into those of us who've been dancing silver the longest). I think the end result for that comp was that his newest silver student didn't dance a scholarship at all, and another lady who was also working on silver, just postponed moving up and danced bronze so that she could still dance a scholarship.

    I remember though, somebody posting on these boards a few years back how there was a conflict with two open level students under age 45 doing open, and the comp organizer allowed the older of them to move up in age and dance in the 45+ age group.
  7. debmc

    debmc Well-Known Member

    So far I have been fortunate enough to not get to a place where I was denied a scholarship. When I danced both rhythm and latin, I would rotate what style I danced with the other student in my age group so that when she was doing rhythm I would do latin and so we both got to do our scholarship rounds. There were only two occasions that I had to dance down an age. Now that I am dancing latin exclusively, there is no other silver latin lady in my age category currently competing, so for now... that is not an issue. I have seen it become more of an issue though with students throughout the years and there are a variety of factors that go into the decision making process by a pro. Some feel that the student who is the most invested ( does the most lessons, participates in the most comps, is most likely to win) should get the scholarship, others think that the student who has never done a scholarship before should get first dibs at the next one... so I have seen quite a variety of responses. I think the best thing is to know upfront how the decision is made and then there are no surprises later.
  8. I guess my friend's situation is unique in that she is the 'new' student however extremely talented and much better than her pro current students that is in the same grade. Her pro acknowledged this and supported her and may I say a little more inclined towards favoring her over his other longer tenured students. Simply due to her talents.

    This caused a lot of stir and upset between his students who always thinks he is giving her better choreography (maybe but she is more capable), giving her better teaching, and once she won over one of them hell breaks lose !
  9. Mr 4 styles

    Mr 4 styles Well-Known Member

    after reading the past few pages i can only say

    im glad im a man!!!! i pick my pros to make certain there is no other guy in my age/level
  10. GGinrhinestones

    GGinrhinestones Well-Known Member

    I agree that it is important to know up front what to expect when these things come up. I've also found that sometimes, even when that policy is made clear up front and pros are trying to make everything fair, conflict still arises for other reasons. I am lucky that I don't have to complete - mostly - for scholarships yet, but I also know that could change at any time.

    Unfortunately, I don't think that being male or female makes much of a difference. I've seen plenty of conflict among male students over their female pro - even when they are in different age categories or levels. We're all human, we're in a competitive field, and as pro/am students we are all sharing our pro in a hobby/sport/art that is designed for two people.

    That said, all we can do is do our best to mitigate the potential for conflict, stay as focused as possible on our own goals, and hope our pros stay professional and fair. I also like Fasc's suggestion to put yourself in your pro's shoes - that keeps me in check in SO many things!

    JANATHOME Well-Known Member

    I will also point out that not being able to do a scholorship is not the end of the world or a deal breaker for me!

    I recall the last comp I was at and dancing standard, I was competing in single dance events with a large group of ladies and ladies who typically are the most difficult to place well against. Although I agree that scholorship has more excitement, I dont think I would skip a comp if I could not do scholorships.
  12. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    for me, it depends on the comp...there are lots of comps where I would be very flexible, but there are a few that are either too costly or too important in terms of the calibre of the comp for me to go and not do the hotly contested stuff...but I would also be fine with sitting somethings out altogether
  13. debmc

    debmc Well-Known Member

    I entered the scholarship round in my very first comp... it would be strange to have to skip one now. I would say that I would not take the time off from work, and travel to go to a comp where I could not do a scholarship, but if it were a local comp, I could see still attending and doing the single dances and championship round instead.
  14. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    if I was at a comp that I do for fun where there isn't much contest anyhow, I could see possibly sitting one out....but yea, in this economy, I would be more likely to simply opt out and wait for another one...only because my particulars tend to be quite costly... but I actually can't even see my pro asking for that...the one time that I suggested it he looked at me like I'd grown three heads and rejected it out of hand :)
  15. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    Given the comps around here don't seem to give out money past third, MAYBE sixth, and I almost never get it, Championship or Scholarship doesn't really make any difference to me. If anything, fewer people in Championship means I have a better shot at winning.
  16. latingal

    latingal Moderator Staff Member

    Another challenge in the pro-am structure....getting enough partnered dance time at speed and in a round format to prepare for competitions. Especially with high level pros with many competitive students, running rounds with students can be a lot of wear and tear on the pro's body - not to mention the many rounds at the comps themselves.

    I always find it highly ironic to be trying to find ways to prepare myself - solo - to dance well in a partnership (I am totally all for lots of solo practice, but it doesn't replace the actual practice of partnered work with a partner!).

    Due to financial considerations, most of us cannot afford to get enough time and repetitions of actually dancing with our pros to get enough practice in the partnered work. Not to mention not being able to do enough comps to get enough experience to learn to perform well instantaneously under pressure filled situations at comps.
  17. debmc

    debmc Well-Known Member

    I agree ! I remember a couple of years ago entering a comp where I signed up for several rounds of single dances, because I felt just doing rounds upon rounds was immeasurable in getting used to dancing with pro, being out on the competition floor, working through my mistakes and knowing that I would have another chance to repeat the dance, etc, etc. I can't afford to do that anymore but I do remember it being very useful.
  18. debmc

    debmc Well-Known Member

    This is also what I was referring to when I wondered if there was a difference between the preparation for competiton between pro am partnerships and am-am/pro-pro. I would imagine that am-am and pro-pro partnerships get to have more time in actual partnered practice.
  19. scullystwin42

    scullystwin42 Well-Known Member

    Yeah - I'm always on the lookout for another Am guy to just practice with, even if we don't end up partnering. I had one for a little bit here, but then I got a new job and my husband's office moved farther from home - so I had no time to spare for practice with him anymore.
  20. TinyDancer109

    TinyDancer109 Well-Known Member

    one of the factors in choosing my current pro was the fact that, in addition to being a great and well known pro, he did not have a regular student of my level and age.

    I think that not being able to practice as a team, as well as do rounds, more often is a huge draw back of pro-am, IMO.
    j_alexandra likes this.

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