Student Challenges Prevalent in the Pro-am Structure

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

  1. latingal

    latingal Moderator Staff Member

    That depends on the individual pro-am partnerships. In some cases, the pro actually has to do more physical work with a student then his pro partner - the student may need more "help" then the pro partner. And if you've ever seen the finals at Ohio in pro-am latin, their performance and energy may not get to a level that they dance with their pro partner, but in some cases it's not too far below.
  2. GGinrhinestones

    GGinrhinestones Well-Known Member

    Agree with this - and also with toothlesstiger. There are reasons for both. Frankly, a pro does not NEED to exert the same amount of effort for a student in newcomer bronze as he (or she) does for someone in open gold latin. I've actually had a few conversations with my pro on this very subject where he has admitted that as his girls improve he has had to step up his game quite a bit. Beyond energy level, there is also a mental switch they have to go through (sometimes extremely quickly) to adjust from "helping" one student to "dancing" with the next one. I don't envy them that job - it has to be difficult. Also unique to pro/am. Then again, they are the pros for a reason.
  3. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    Different kind of energy, even between, say, an open gold student and a bronze student. With my pro (where there isn't even an issue of dancing with us versus a pro partner-he and his wife are retired from pro competition for several years now) he is expending more "performing"/speed-related energy with an Open student, but he's probably needing a lot more MENTAL energy dealing with me--I'm vastly more likely to do something he needs to fix or to be in a situation where I can't get myself out the way a more advanced student could.

    And of course even if you're not dancing with the amount of energy you might in an Open Pro event, that's five dances about 2 minutes each. Dancing heat after heat after heat after heat with one or more students is going to take a LOT of energy and stamina no matter how hard you dance.
  4. toothlesstiger

    toothlesstiger Well-Known Member

    Considering how much the typical pro makes per dance for pro-am, I'm not about to be wracked with sympathy for those that have lots of students competing. :p
  5. GGinrhinestones

    GGinrhinestones Well-Known Member

    I get that you're talking about the stereotypical pro, yet I cannot let this go by without defending my pro and others like him. He makes next to nothing on a typical dance - or comp, for that matter. He doesn't try to make money on comps - he tries to break even (and yes, I get the point-by-point breakdown before every comp.) Even when we tell him he is worth more and we'd pay more, he doesn't charge it. Bad business model? Nope - he gets his money in other ways, and this allows more students to dance more entries and go to more competitions.

    It works well for him and he's not the only teacher I know who does that. One of my coaches flat out told me: "I charge a flat per day fee of a couple hundred dollars and no per dance fee, because we are taking our students there to dance - not empty their bank accounts."
  6. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    you may know more than a few pros who do that, and bless your lucky stars :)...but, ahem, ime, that is not how it rolls the majority of the time
  7. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    I've had both set fee per dance, regardless of competition, or day fee that varies based on how many go (the more students dancing that day, the lower the fee) plus covering entry fees. No idea what their overhead vs. profit is (enough to make it worth doing, obviously, otherwise they wouldn't do it) but it's a lot harder work than sitting at a desk all day...
  8. gingerbread

    gingerbread Member

    Just want to say that I love this thread, although now it is devolving into discussion about price. But until then, I have found it very satisfying to read, as I see I am not alone in my feelings. Thanks, everyone for taking the time to contribute. I am in the category of never quite sure where I stand, lots of corrections, which I crave, but i never get a sense if I am "getting" any of this, if I am improving, where he thinks I stand in regard to people my age or even if he thinks I am a good dancer. I love my lessons, but often I leave depressed and it takes me hours to shake. A few words would help, but that's not going to happen. As some of you said, you can't expect to change people. Sometimes I think I should talk it over, but I am not sure I could get my point acrosss.He would jump to the conclusion that I don't want so many corrections. Sigh.
  9. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    back to the original issue..I also think that, in addition to some of the feedback thing being about a person's basic personality and tendencies, in some cases it may also be a deliberate strategy...I know that my pro would never for a moment want me to be content with my current level of skill...and I think he witholds praise deliberately to make me work harder...
  10. Cal

    Cal Active Member

    My Pro is quite direct in his approach. He will tell a student what needs to be worked on, and he will also tell a student what is working well “for now” but will need to be revisited at a later point. He is most certainly not effusive in giving praise, but his approach will let students know where they stand. For me, that is exactly what I want – just to know. Whether I’m happy or frustrated with where I am – well, that’s up to me to deal with; my Pro does not deliberately strategize in order to motivate students. Having said that, I think there are times when my Pro would love for me to have just one tiny, fleeting moment when I was content with where I am; but we both know that’s up to me, not him.
  11. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    now there is a good point...regardless of one's pro's style....our degree of contentment, motivation, etc....whether enhanced or made more difficult by anyone elses's feedback or lack of it happens to be, is ---in the end---up to us....
  12. latingal

    latingal Moderator Staff Member

    I agree fasc, our degree of contentment, motivation etc. in the end it is up to us...and I wouldn't want it any other way and it is a great point to remember.

    But on the subject of positive feedback and contentment with our dancing, I do find that dancesport has a bit of a wrinkle as compared to many of the other sports that I have participated in the past.

    In the other sports, I was able to concretely say when I had accomplished something - like in gymnastics, being able to complete a back handspring on the balance beam is a marker of my progress - either I can do it, or I can't. After that I can improve the quality of it, but being able to do it is usually the big hurdle.

    In dance, the moves can be done "fairly easily" (as compared to the learning curve of a back handspring on the balance beam), but it is the quality of the move that is the big hurdle. And since I can't really see myself all that well while I'm dancing, I have to depend on feedback from a TRUSTED source to tell me if I am improving or not. There in lies the issue with some of our contentment I believe. I find it very hard to judge objectively where I am, therefore have no way to judge how content I am based on the cost/benefit of the time I put in.

    I have picked a teacher who I must trust to guide me through the process, and I have to trust his feedback and knowledge of my dancing to help me understand where I am and when I am meeting my own standards (and his). But note: I am a self motivated type, and I will do what I must do to meet my own goals.

    If one is lucky, we find a teacher who understands this and can help us build our skills and confidence. If not, one must slog through it and find other means to help oneself.

    Of course this is based on my own experience and my own personality traits, for others it might not be so....but based on some of the posts here, perhaps it is common to many.... *wink*
  13. Purr

    Purr Well-Known Member

    Could someone point me to the thread that talks about what a pro/am student's expectations are regarding their pro when attending a competition?
  14. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    I think that some of that is in "what makes a good teacher?"...alas, we need TC regarding other relevant threads ...mebbe pm him ...as I am on the road.....

    I will say this....my expectation of my pro is that he arrive half an hour before our heats so that I don't get stressed about where he is...and that he does his best to look like he is enjoying himself and does what he can not to draw attention to my faults ..and dances to the top limit of my skill level...I also hope he is available for line-up photos and that he gets my entries turned in enough in advance that I am able to dance all the events that I would like to dance...I expect him to not cancel on me alot...other than that...I don't expect a thing other than him teaching me to the best of his ability....
  15. Terpsichorean Clod

    Terpsichorean Clod Moderator

  16. Purr

    Purr Well-Known Member

  17. dancerdol

    dancerdol Member

    I greatly enjoy dancing in competitions and showcases with my Pro. I am moving up to Open Silver and Full Closed Silver Smooth and I can see us competing right on up to Open Gold. We have chemistry, a true love of all forms of dance and we thrive on challenging choreography. We also both "hear" the music emotional content immediately and are able to adjust the mood of our dancing on the fly, and we look good on the floor together. That said, the man wouldn't recognize a word of genuine heartfelt praise if it jumped up off the floor and waved at him with a red cape. LOL! He is hyper-critical and I have learned not to take it personally. I just practice and work harder. I have had to see the strengths of what I get from my Pro like musicality and creative choreography (many of the things Fasc said she needs at a comp are not my Pro's strengths) and what I don't. That's why I have coaches who truly can put me "first" in some ways different then a Pro teacher with lots of students at different levels. When I am with my coach, he is fully concentrating on making me dance to my best ability and he is effusive with earned praise. Usually my lesson with my coach in NYC goes like this - me doing grapevine very slowly just like he demonstrated to show control and mastery as I am counting my timing out loud - coach: "Excellent, Excellent, Excellent - what was THAT??" LOL
    Having a Pro and a personal Coach - priceless : )
  18. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    I am not sure what you are referring to in regard to what I may or may not think I need... or regarding my circumstance in general...but, related or not, let me add that personally, I don't need much praise from my pro at all...... like you, I am very content to be in the moment with him and able to see us both reacting to the music... that is my confirmation that he is there and experiencing it and enjoying it to whatever degree...the more run of the mill pro expectations were a direct response to Purr.......

    back to the value of mutual experience of the music; my pro once said that it is much easier to make an artistic person technically proficient than to make a technical person artistic......and my greatest enjoyment with him is when that artistry is able to be primary...having said that, because praise is rare from him...it is very valuable when it comes...and, unlike in previous experiences I have had, when critique is neccessary, I have always been fortunate with him that it has never been personal...it has been about the dancing...otherwise I wouldn't be there...however, the one thing I have had to do on a rare occasion is note to him that I do have a point past which I despair and don't feel motivated...I am very happy to say that my pro is sensitive to that in a way that I would never have expected...but, upon further reflection is probably why he is such a talented artist...a certain level of sensitivity is imperative
  19. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    but ..it is late and I am tired, having danced today...so I take full responsibility for not being able to digest your post...will re-read in the morning after coffee ...bottom line is that it certainly is awesome to have a pro with whom one clicks and is able to communicate and grow...
  20. dancerdol

    dancerdol Member

    Hi fasc, I was referring to "what you need at comps" - my Pro - love him - isn't the best at getting entries in on time etc.

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