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

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

  1. debmc

    debmc Well-Known Member

    For me... I disagree. I always recognize that "I must do better"... I think all dancers, pro am, am am or pro pro, feel that way. It is nice though to get some positive feedback, as stated before, not effusive, but enough to feel that I am making progress. If a pro stopped focusing on a particular element of my dancing, I would not necessarily think it meant that I had improved, as it could mean that they realized I was never going to get that particular element and had just moved on. :eek:
  2. NonieS

    NonieS Well-Known Member

    To the great sadness of female teachers/aspiring teachers everywhere ;).
  3. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    I think, just once before I stop dancing, I want to know that my pro had a moment in time where he enjoyed dancing with may never happen...but I am going to keep hope alive :)...I would like to please judges as well... but I am aware that I don't have alot of control over that as I don't know the priorities of each and every one of them....but I hope that, in the end, my current pro will look back and have a reasonable amount of respect for what I he asked when I would stop being stressed and I simply stated that that would be when he was pleased....I am fairly convinced that I will not be getting that particular wish granted anytime soon...but I can wait
  4. kckc

    kckc Active Member

    I've been going through a phase in my life where I feel like any kind of positive affirmation from anyone, anywhere, for any reason, has been scarce to non-existent. However, I had my first ever coaching session recently, and at one point, after a few claps and high-fives from DP, he was actually strutting over to the music machine. I looked at Coach and said "is he strutting?" Coach just laughed and said "I do believe he his, but I would be too if one of my students was dancing this well". I almost cried! That one little thing carried me for weeks when other aspects of dancing weren't quite living up to that day.

    So yeah, DP may not always give praise, but when he does, in whatever form, it goes a long way :)
  5. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    lol...that will never happen in my dance world but I would be content with considerably less :)...happy for you though
  6. tanya_the_dancer

    tanya_the_dancer Well-Known Member

    Here are my 2c on the subject:

    Like fasc's, my goal is to close the skill gap between myself and my pro as much as I can. Realistically won't happen, but that's the thought process behind everything I do.

    Coming up with intelligent ways of practicing is one challenge. Also keeping track of what needs to be done, and what I have worked on - I am really bad at that sort of thing, not just in dancing, but in general.

    Noticing progress is another thing I am not so good at. I usually notice when something didn't feel right almost immediately, even though I can't always tell what was the underlying reason. But I don't necessarily notice when I get better at something. I usually have to look at my videos like from a few years ago and the latest one to notice that something got better.

    I also get a vibe sometimes that pro-am competing isn't taken seriously. Not to point fingers, but I got this vibe from several posters here as well as USA Dance communications (during my tenure as a local chapter officer). However, at this point I am rather ambivalent about even trying to form a competitive am-am partnership. It was off-limits for me for many years (my late husband would have never accepted such possibility), and by now I sort of got overqualified for the job - there are simply no local available guys who dance smooth or standard anywhere near my level (by local I mean the ones who live in my town).
  7. toothlesstiger

    toothlesstiger Well-Known Member

    You have a fundamental problem as a competitive dancer. The closest thing to an objective measure of how you are doing is how you place at a comp. And we know that is pretty subjective. In addition, as a pro-am dancer, it's hard to say how much is you, and how much is the pro.

    I have taught enough to know I don't trust anything positive my pro says about me, unless it is a direct comparison to other students.

    So, encouragement from my pro does nothing for me. If I need positive reinforcement, I need to look at videos of me dancing.
  8. GGinrhinestones

    GGinrhinestones Well-Known Member

    Respectfully, I don't necessarily agree. (Well, other than with the great subjectivity of competition - that I agree with fully.) I think you DO get a pretty good sense, after a while, of how much is you and how much is the pro.

    But that aside, I agree with Tanya. (And I'm going to sound very arrogant here, and don't mean to, I'm just stating facts.) Dancing with a pro on a regular basis is like anything else in life where you surround yourself with people who are at a higher level than you -you learn quickly, and if you keep it up you outgrow the dancers around you. I see that most off the competition floor, when I am social dancing. I can hold my own with the pros (who, arguably, come down several notches to dance with me) but it's dancing with the ams and other students where I really notice how much I have improved - and how difficult it would be to find an am male partner who is at least close to my level to start.
  9. Joe

    Joe Well-Known Member

  10. JudeMorrigan

    JudeMorrigan Well-Known Member

    In my experience, that's less of a pro-am thing and more of a byproduct of the dedication that's required to be a serious competitor. The exact same thing happens with am-am couples who aren't just futzing around. I imagine it would also happen to truly dedicated social dancers as well, although they have far less incentive to put that sort of time and effort into optimizing their dancing.
  11. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    if you have a pro who makes you dance alone alot of the time and who doesn't allow you to let him do all the work, it can become pretty is also clear when practicing alone what the disparities are in terms of what one is able to execute alone

    as to a few other comments; for me if a good guy was willing to close a skill gap, I'd be plenty happy to dance with him as I also have a certain amount of faith in what I have learned and don't particularly need the guy to be really good...I just need him to be dedicated to getting good...

    regarding how pro-am is viewed by others, I couldn't care less and I don't want to resurrect that aspect of the issue
  12. debmc

    debmc Well-Known Member

    I agree with this.
  13. debmc

    debmc Well-Known Member

    Agree with this as well. I think one of the myths about pro am dancing is that "the pro is making the student look good". That is just a myth. The students who are good dancers are having to rise to a higher level to try to maintain a sense of partnership with the pro that they are dancing with. Obviously the pro will be better at guiding the dancing ( lead/follow, connection, backleading even if the pro is a female), and will hopefully be the more confident, stable presence of the partnership,but a good pro am student dancer is still dancing.. on her own... she is not being pushed around and particularly in the open heats, she is executing moves entirely independently of her pro.
  14. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    right...I am not so niave as to think that my pro won't "take one for the team" and do what he has to do on the comp floor if I fail to be over a foot properly here or there....and various other things....however, I do think that, while there are many pros who have made a judgement that somethings aren't worth working on with some students and it is best to just go out there and paint as decent a picture as possible on the comp floor... I also think there are plenty of other instances where pros expect their students with goals, ambition and a decent amount of talent/dedication to stand on their own pro does not warm me up...his view is; "you know how to do that"....and I am under no illusions about what will happen if I miss connection in jive and can't spin on my own or about what happens to m personal blance if I shape improperly or commit a variety of other errors in technique...therefore, I have made darned certain that I can do those things well as often as possible....there is a vast amount of variance in pro/am... as in am/am and even pro/pro....
  15. canismajor41

    canismajor41 Active Member

    Fasc - my pro sounds a lot yours. I'm expected to warm myself up and be able to dance on my own well. At this point, my pro expects me to be able to answer most of my own questions about dance, to have a broad enough understanding of the mechanics in order to troubleshoot most things on my own, etc.

    Praise is delivered very infrequently and practice is expected….even off the dance floor when I’m asked to work on posture, flexibility, and center awareness.

    Of course (like Fasc said) my pro will take one for the team during a comp (and that is no different than what happens in any dance partnership - am/am or pro/pro) but during lessons, this does not happen. In the past, I may have spent an entire lesson on ½ a natural if it wasn’t executed to his satisfaction. And today, I’ll be intentionally left behind on the practice floor if I’m not dancing on my own. Dancing pro/am has allowed me to progress at a much faster rate than I would have otherwise. And for this I am grateful. I actually enjoy the high expectations that are placed on me…just as long as get a “Now, THAT’s dancing!” thrown my way every now and then. Those three words can motivate me for a solid six months.
  16. toothlesstiger

    toothlesstiger Well-Known Member

    My meaning was that when you compete, you don't know how much of your placement is the result of your pro. That is, not just their dancing, but also other factors that may affect judging. Is that what you meant as well?
  17. frotes

    frotes Member

    We are sad too. Having other guys around to compete against is nice
  18. latingal

    latingal Well-Known Member

  19. Smooth Dancer

    Smooth Dancer Active Member

    At USA Dance, am-am, bronze syllabus I often see young ladies in simple evening gowns, elegant, just below-knee. If they dance well, it's a very pleasing presentation. Just them and their movement -- nothing to distract. I think I may even like it better than much fancier duds. IMHO. And there must be some pros that have gone back to utterly simple elegance (granted, they're not off-rack evening gowns).
  20. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    This, plus I can tell the difference when he has overdrive on and is covering me, versus when he's leaving room to let me make my own errors. You can tell when the pro is doing the heavy lifting.

    To above comments, if I couldn't wear fancy costumes and makeup, I wouldn't bother competing. Heck, I wouldn't show up at a social looking like a schlub. If you're going to be showing off (and if you are dancing anywhere other than an empty room, you can tell yourself whatever you want to make yourself feel better, but you're really putting yourself on display) you have a responsibility not to look like crap. Maybe it stems from being reared in a sport where you DO NOT SHOW UP sloppy, and that means either expensive kit, or inexpensive that is made to look like the best. Heck, I took a lesson with my brother's trainer at their barn and not only did I haul out my tall boots, breeches, and a polo, I checked before I left to make sure his trainer would be all right with my not wearing a belt, tucking the polo in, and my wearing a braid instead of having my hair up under my helmet! (She was, but it's not a show barn and I wouldn't have wanted to offend.)

    That may also relate to my not having conniptions about what my pro is thinking, or needing constant positive affirmations. I don't want or expect to hear something is good unless it's NOTABLY good. I was brought up in a sport where there is no assumption you'll EVER be done being a student and where most good instructors don't hand out praise lightly. If something's passable, we'll move on--I don't need to hear from NP "You're doing really good", I can tell he's pleased with Smooth and Rhythm because he's introducing Silver syllabus. That means Bronze isn't perfect, but he doesn't feel the need to go over and over it. That tells me more than hearing praise, where there's always the question of whether he's just trying to keep a customer happy.

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