Ballroom Dance > what is pro-am dancing ?

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by jerseydancer, Jul 12, 2010.


would you do pro/am dancing if you could have am partner who would be willing to comp

Poll closed Jul 22, 2010.
  1. Yes. Pro/Am dancing helps me to improve my dancing skills

    15 vote(s)
  2. No. I do dance pro/am because I have no other options

    8 vote(s)
  3. Not sure

    2 vote(s)
  1. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    got to say de-nay-no my brother... :)

    I have several couples who dance as am-am together and the boys dance also pro-am with me. They all love it because while competing with me they get to feel something different on the competition floor. There are things that his am partner cannot do for him, and no amount of studio-lesson time with me can prepare someone for all of the traps and pitfalls of a real competition floor. Dancing with me he can see how quickly it is possible to change and make decisions. My mind is working over time while I compete and I highly encourage all of the boys, as soon as we get off the floor, to consider what just happened, and how they can then replicate that for themselves. And it just is never going to happen with that amount of intensity or necessity in the studio.
  2. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    Their amateur partners won't let them deviate from routine?
  3. DL

    DL Well-Known Member

    Some time ago I danced with a top pro in a social venue. It was a foxtrot on a relatively small floor that was quite crowded with couples dancing bronze american foxtrot. I was set to dance likewise, so I could control the floorcraft better, but she was intent on continuity footwork and we danced silver smooth (in closed hold) for the whole song. And, they were big and fast-moving continuity steps.

    There's simply no way that, at the time (nor perhaps today), I could have done that with a partner in my peer group. I would have hit somebody trying, indeed probably several somebodys. She didn't exactly backlead, but she knew what my only correct choice for the next step was before I did, and she was ready to follow it before I finished working it out for myself. I don't think I could have gained that sort of experience any other way, and it did open my eyes to new possibilities.
  4. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    Only correct choice?
  5. DL

    DL Well-Known Member

    Constrained by crowd, room size, the speed and size of the steps we were taking, and staying on beat, yes. Or at least, the only choice I could perceive even in retrospect. At several points I would have, on my own, concluded there were zero choices meeting those constraints, and broken stride, switched to SSQQ, stopped to wait for a measure, or the like.
  6. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    If there is one proper moving choice there are almost always several. But I'd be more appreciative of a partner for whom hovering or moving smaller are also options.
  7. DL

    DL Well-Known Member

    I refuse to be drawn in to this. Let me simply rephrase and say that I gained a perspective into floorcraft in that situation that was beyond my individual ability at the time, that I doubt I could have gotten another way.
  8. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    Thank you DL, that is precisely what I meant.
  9. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    I'm sorry to see that people believe amateur ladies are not in a position to enable a leader's learning. Such beliefs are usually self fulfilling, but fortunately so are their opposites.
  10. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    And that isn't what DL or Larinda said. Nowhere in there was an absolute statement that leaders cannot learn anything from dancing with amateur women.
  11. DL

    DL Well-Known Member

    Have you read all of my replies in this thread?
  12. Warren J. Dew

    Warren J. Dew Well-Known Member

    Nor did Chris make an absolute statement. "There are things his amateur partner cannot do for him" implies to me that, well, there are things the leader can't learn while dancing with the lady who is his amateur partner, which is pretty much what Chris said.

    Obviously I don't know about those specific cases, but in general I'm certainly willing to believe that there are some amateur ladies who, for example, don't follow well enough for the leader to gain confidence in his floorcraft. I do question whether that's the original poster's situation, and I also wonder if a better approach for the amateur partnership in that situation wouldn't be for the lady to work on her following ability.
  13. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member


    Have you danced with an amateur lady who has the balance and control to enable a range of options for you?

    Have you posed yourself alone in various places in the room, brainstormed your options, and then made an effort during relaxed practice to incorporate them into your subconscious vocabulary?
  14. NUdancer

    NUdancer New Member

    Warren, you said this much more eloquently and simply than I did :)
  15. DL

    DL Well-Known Member

    I have danced with a wide variety of pro and amateur ladies across a broad spectrum of experience levels.

    I sense (wrongly?) an implication in your recent comments that in your view I'm somehow arguing that I can't learn by dancing with amateur ladies. For the record, I'm saying nothing of the sort. In fact, I've already stated in this thread that I've had experience to the contrary.

    Larinda pointed out a specific way in which a relatively inexperienced leader might learn something from a very experienced follower. I've experienced first hand exactly the case she describes. The lady with whom I had that experience certainly is capable of providing "a range of options". The point is that she had floorcraft skills decidedly superior to my own, and was able to give me a notion of what it's like to have and use that skill set.

    There's no contradiction there. I just see a lot of ways to learn from dancing with different people.
  16. DL

    DL Well-Known Member

    Certainly, but nonetheless I discern skill significantly greater than mine, in that and other areas, among those of my partners who have spent 20 or 30 years doing that sort of thing full time. A small few of them are even able to teach me a bit about it during the space of a single dance, provided I'm paying attention.
  17. LaWa

    LaWa New Member

    I miss a poll option "I dance am/am because I have no other option". That is the case in many European countries.
  18. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    There actually is a comparable dynamic to some top pro/am teams going on in places without a category reserved for it, typically an amateur or pro competitor retired from their own ascent, dancing with a student, registered in either pro or amateur over 35.
  19. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    This is somewhat more nuanced than the previous claim of something that you could not have gotten in any other way.

    I'm not going to say that one can't learn some useful things fairly quickly in a pro/am context, because obviously that does happen.

    But I am going to observe that it often has the effect of raising ones requirements of a partner faster than one's potential contributions to a partner.
  20. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    That's an absolute statement. Implying that DL said that am gentlemen can never learn from am ladies, which isn't what he meant.

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