Student Challenges Prevalent in the Pro-am Structure

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

  1. JudeMorrigan

    JudeMorrigan Well-Known Member

    You see, doi, it's the suggestions that ladies in syllabus gear look like crap, or schlubs or sloppy that I'm objecting to. Don't get me wrong, I get the appeal of dressing up as much as possible, and I'm not faulting you for it. Or suggesting that there's anything wrong with syllabus wear not being your cup of chai. I'm sad myself that I won't be able to break out my tailsuit out this October. But I think you're doing a grave disservice to the ladies who dance adult syllabus and frankly being unfairly insulting to them. No, their dresses aren't blinged out, but they're often quite nice, are not street wear and the ladies look quite nice in them.
     
  2. GGinrhinestones

    GGinrhinestones Well-Known Member

    I see your point, but no, it isn't exactly what I meant. I think Fasc, debmc, and canismajor really summed up my thoughts pretty well - that through experience with my pro I've learned when I'm dancing on my own and when he's carrying me, and over time you can see it in other pro/am couples once you know what to look for. My pro and I have had numerous conversations on this, actually, both when he's told me he's backing off and when I've told him to let me go.

    In the subjectivity and politics of competition, sure there are other factors that come into play with placements whether it's pro/am, am/am, or pro. But that isn't the topic here, and I know there are plenty of other threads covering that side of things.
     
  3. GGinrhinestones

    GGinrhinestones Well-Known Member

    This. There is something very special about that split second when your pro can't hide the fact that he is having FUN dancing with you!

    Bring on the high expectations! :D
     
  4. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    The schulb reference was to the post (not yours) about having a competition in essentially gray sweats. But I still haven't seen anything as far as cocktail dresses or undecorated practice wear I would consider suitable for competing if you want to not only look good and as if you respect that you're presenting yourself to the public, but that I wouldn't consider street wear. A leotard and wrap skirt or the kind of practice clothes from someone like Designs To Shine's Budapest collection are nice and all, but nothing I'd consider suitable for performing in. I had to stone the cheap dress I have (from Acupulco Paradiso, which would also be illegal without the stones as it has reflective metallic thread.) I wouldn't even consider any of it appropriately formal enough for a non-dance formal occasion. Definitely not suitable for doing something where you're actually performing in front of judges.
     
  5. JudeMorrigan

    JudeMorrigan Well-Known Member

    Gotcha. My sincere, snark-free apologies. For what it's worth, I still think you're underestimating what's possible while staying within the syllabus guidelines. I have seen plenty of ladies in de facto cocktail dress. It's not the only possibility though, and practice wear is not common at all, ime. This is the only example I have handy. It's a pretty terrible picture, especially of me (I've improved SO much since this picture was taken, I swear), but it should give you an idea of the sort of dress I'm talking about. The one my partner was wearing was definitely not as fancy as you would see in open or in a pro-am competition, but it was really quite nice, and definitely not street wear. A similar dress made by a professional rather than a local dancer who was a seamstress on the side could really be very nice.
     

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  6. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    I am fairly certain that I will have to settle for the occasional twinkle of the eye (which requires looking fairly quickly)...
     
  7. GGinrhinestones

    GGinrhinestones Well-Known Member

    Yeah, it's usually that grin that he tries very, very hard to hide the second he catches me looking...
     
  8. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    agree...in fact, some of the most exquisite dancing I have every seen has been from women in dresses that are not much more than practice dresses with maybe a piece of nice jewelry or a jeweled belt...with simple but neat hair...on a fit body that dances well, I have alot more respect for that than some blinged out over the top crap on someone who has nothing else going for them...and, given that it would be a color that would stand out, I wouldn't hesitate to wear something simple and smart like that...but I think it really is the topic for another thread
     
  9. JudeMorrigan

    JudeMorrigan Well-Known Member

    Sorry fasc. I know better than to go veering of topic like that.
     
  10. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    you're fine...I was reminding myself as much as anyone else :)
     
  11. latingal

    latingal Moderator Staff Member

    I think it was Jude that mentioned that sometimes positive feedback is necessary in the learning process. And I have plenty of examples of this....why? Because I'm a bit of a freak and can take things to an extreme most people cannot. LOL.

    If my pro does not take the time to give me positive feedback as far as when the correction is in or if I'm performing it correctly....I will simply continue to stretch the boundries of making it show up. What has that resulted in with less enlightened pros? Well some really bad habits; too much tension in the body, over energy-ing everything (so much so now that I've been told the correct level is about 60% of what I'm doing) and I can't tell you how many pendular swings between extremes in corrections I've been through.

    I learned my lesson...I now actively ask for the positive feedback so I can gauge when I can stop trying and know that the gawl darn thing is in!!
     
  12. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    I have begun to now ask "are you no longer stopping here because it has gotten better, because you have given up, because something else is worse, (?)"....but the usual rule of thumb is that if he says nothing, it is no longer his primary concern
     
  13. raindance

    raindance Active Member

    Personally I think positive feedback is very, very important for learning... it is used heavily in animal (e.g. dogs, circus animals, etc) training for a reason, it speeds learning if the learner gets positive feedback for doing the right things. People aren't dogs of course but a lot of the learning principles do apply.

    It doesn't have to be effusive praise ("oh, that is great, you are doing super"). But something along the lines of "good, you are getting the idea", or "yes, that's it, I want even more, but you are starting to get it", or "this bit is going well so now we will work on a different bit for a while" (not implying that the first bit can't be improved further at a later date). And the occasional "good job" or "nicely done" or the like, especially after a nice competition performance, meant to tell the student that they performed well given their current stage of development is a good and encouraging thing too. I guess I just don't think a student should have too work too hard to figure out what they are doing right. (Of course while also knowing what the next things to work on are.) I guess I feel sad for dancers who don't get some positive feedback or encouragement from their pros. To me that is part of the job of a teacher of any subject.
     
  14. JudeMorrigan

    JudeMorrigan Well-Known Member

    I don't think it was me, but I definitely agree with it. In addition to your example, latingirl, knowing what things are going relatively well helps with budgeting practice time. At least personally, I rarely get implicit instuctions on how to spend my week. Even when I get homework assignments, they tend to take up a relatively small amount of my time. And I definitely don't only work on what I covered in my most recent lesson when I practice.

    Plus, we're all human. I'm no fan of praise for the sake of praise, but daggnabit, the occassional "hey, did you notice I didn't have to correct your frame once that entire round?" is nice.

    Also, there's the issue of how we present ourselves on the dance floor. If anything, I tend to feel like I get too much positive feedback from my instructor. See, after all, my comment about not being a particular fan of praise for the sake of praise. I know why she does it though. When I came to her, my confidence was rotten, and it reflected in my dancing. She's worked very, very hard at building me up. Maybe she shouldn't have to do that, but the bottom line is that there really is more to what we do out there on the competition floor than steps and pure dance technique. (She does, in fairness, clearly enjoy it. She was positively giddy about how much "Ernesto" came to play in my first couple of Latin rounds at Millennium.)
     
  15. debmc

    debmc Well-Known Member

    Yes, this is the kind of positive feedback that I like too. I also expect non patronizing corrective feedback as well "no, not like that" or "try again, that isn't it", etc, etc. Basically I need feedback of some kind in order to know what I am doing well and what I need to improve upon. I guess every student is different, but if I never heard anything positive in a lesson I would assume I was doing very poorly and as latingal mentioned, it would make me less confident with my dancing.
     
  16. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    well...the beauty of pro/am is that it isn't a marriage...anyone who doesn't feel that they are in a situation that is, on balance, the best scenario for them is able to make a change...another thing that I think is important to consider is the personality of one's pro....maybe this is also something I do consider having been in a marriage for 27 years...that is, understanding and accepting that a person is a particular way, and not all of those ways are changeable...one cannot custom design their pro or their spouse :)...I have mentioned to my spouse for 27 years that I would love it if he would call from time to time and see how my day is going...if I made his capacity to remember to do that my criteria for good spouse, we would not have made it past 7 years...so I call him...and I remember his other fine qualities...with my pro, there are certain things that he is not wired to do...but, absent that, I have learned to simply get clarification when I need it...I don't think his approach has ever affected my learning process...it has periodically affected my capacity to perform at a comp...but, rather than asking for something from him that is not in his nature, what I tend to do is let him know what will cause me to do poorly ....because that is something neither of us wants...but every person's choice is different...I have never had a fluffy pro (past or present)......I suppose, in an ideal world one would have a top notch teacher who was also affirming to the extent that met each student's minimum standard...whatever that might be....but, absent that, I would prefer to provide my own emotional support and have quality instruction than to have sub par instruction from an affirming pro...worse yet, from a non-affirming pro...everyone's line is in a different space...sometimes that absence of praise can be a motivator to earn praise...sometimes it can hit a point where one feels hopeless...a good pro ideally realizes when it has hit critical mass...as long as one isn't dealing with a student who requires so much that it becomes the primary aspect of the job....such a complicated formula....but I think key is always the capacity to have the conversation
     
  17. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    sure...I think this is essential...and I definately get a sense of when something is more along the lines of what is expected than not...as he will usually say "what were you thinking of that time"...which means; whatever it was, remember it and do it again...but sometimes I do have to interpret the silence...which, as I said, I am accustomed to in my marriage as well....men....:)
     
  18. BreAna

    BreAna Member

    I'm harder on myself than my pro is, so I've never felt like he's been too hard on me. Occasionally I have to remind myself why I dance. There will never be a point in dancing that I'll ever feel that there's nothing to improve on, but that's just how I live my life. It's easy to get caught up in the self-pressure, so I dance just because I love it. Also, I find that I dance much better when I'm not mentally berating myself for mistakes. Any day I could get in another car crash and break my foot again. Why wouldn't I do my best to love and value every second that I'm dancing?

    as far as relationship with a pro goes, I realize that I'm closer with my studio than most Am's. My lessons are always fun and I always learn something. You can have both. I don't feel like just another check for my pro, which is what I think some people were describing here. We're good friends, and I don't really notice a difference in our relationship between lessons and comps.
     
  19. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    I consider the sort of feedback raindance is talking about, if it happens for minor things that should be done right anyway, white noise (np is more effusive than my Boston pros, so I tend to tune out most of the positives as cushioning, as they're generally followed by what he wants to correct), and real positives things that should be reserved for something exceptionally correct. I don't see the point of praising unless it's for something exceptionally good, in any circumstance. If it's just good, I don't really care, if it's BAD, I don't want to be told it's good.
     
  20. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    re; BreAna....let me be clear..lest there be any misunderstanding...in my circumstance, that I do not feel that I am "just another check"...though I also don't feel that I am any sort of special friend...

    the thread really is about the unique aspects of pro/am...and, while I know that many people struggle with that issue and the tension btwn the two things, it is not one that I struggle with...I have no desire to ever again confuse what pro/am is and isn't in my life...my previous circumstance allowed that ambiguity...I am grateful that it does not exist in the current scenario

    and for me, it is a mostly pleasant arrangement where I pay someone to help me improve my dancing for whom I have the respect neccessary to continue instruction...

    I don't look to my pro for validation...I occasionally have to solicit clarification and clarify my own goals and needs...


    while the nature of the pro/am arrangement is ripe with possibilities for conflicting dynamics....it doesn't have to be difficult...and over time, I think most grown ups either find a way to navigate a path that works for both...or people move on...
     

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