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Re: Sorry, dude.
Posted by Waltz123
3/15/2011  1:30:00 AM
Nothing is funnier than watching those who do pro/am as they discover that they can't actually dance with anyone but their pros.
Never had that happen to a single one of my students in my entire career as a teacher.

To understand the problem with your argument, realize that one could make the *exact* same argument about am-am couples. The argument goes: By dancing exclusively with only one other person, you make it impossible to dance with anyone else. By this logic, amateur couples who spend their entire careers together would also not have the ability to dance with anyone else. That is, of course, preposterous.

The notion that a reasonably well-trained pro-am student can only dance with a seasoned pro is about as realistic as the notion that somebody who learns to drive on a BMW 3 Series could never possibly drive a Ford Focus.

Once you learn the basic concepts of driving, you can drive any car reasonably well. It's true that more expensive cars tend to be easier and more fun to drive, but that applies to any and every driver, regardless of skill level. Switching cars sometimes takes a period of adjustment, but this is mostly a matter of fine-tuning, growing accustomed to the individual personality, feel, and idiosyncrasies that any particular car has, and figuring out what it is and isn't capable of. In the end, the basic skill of driving, with all that it encompasses, remains constant.

Like driving, the fundamental skills of dancing are largely universal. Teach a student how to stand up straight and dance on time, and they will do that whether they dance with you or someone else. If that someone else is the dancing equivalent of a Ford Focus, your student will still be able to stand up and dance on time with them, probably even the first time out. This assumes that you have taught them well, of course, but then the same could be said of any type of student.

Don't get me wrong... I'm not saying the overall skill level of pro-ams as a whole is necessarily better than or even equal to amateurs as a whole. But I believe your reasons are irrational, the degrees to which you take your arguments are blown wildly out of proportion, and it serves to perpetuate an unnecessary stigma about pro-am dancing. So let me set the record straight:

The primary difference between pro-ams and amateurs is age. Pro-am overall encompasses the entire spectrum of ages from 9 to 99, with the bulk of the bell curve representing the 30-70 set. In stark contrast to that, professionals and amateur couples are comprised primarily of youth and young, athletic adults. There is, of course, a subset of older amateurs, but the numbers are comparatively small, and only bump the mean age up slightly.

Starting age and total career span are also extremely important factors, and here the pro-pro and am-am couples have it all over the pro-ams: The difference in mean starting age is probably a good 20-30 years.

As for commitment level, you could probably make the argument from a statistical standpoint based on age alone: Your average 75-year old is not looking at laying down the foundation for a career spanning 30 years into the future.

But that's all statistics -- It says nothing to the individual making a decision about which path is better for himself. If said student is 18 years old, has all the drive, ability, intelligence necessary, has the time and money to spare, and has selected a well qualified and highly skilled teacher, is dancing am-am a better choice than pro-am on his path to a professional career? Not necessarily.

Each path has relative advantages and disadvantages, some of which have already been pointed out. In the end, only a few lucky people are that aforementioned 18 year old who has everything... Most of us have limits on our life that make our situation less than perfect. So the best choice is often determined by the limits of our individual situation.

There are MANY pro-am students that take their dancing very seriously and work just as hard as everyone else to improve.
No, there aren't and no, they don't.
Congratulations... You just finished telling a former pro-am U.S. champion that she doesn't take her dancing seriously.

It's awfully presumptuous to make an argument about the commitment level of an entire group of people, the vast majority of whom you've never met. Even if what you *meant* to say was, "Not in my experience", that would still only apply to the infinitesimal fraction of the entire body of people you have observed closely enough to actually be able to accurately gauge their true level of commitment.

Need I remind anyone that it is those pro-ams that fuel the entire ballroom industry?
Only if you want to repeat another lie.
Are you a competition organizer? If not, then what information or statistics can you show us that proves her wrong?

I'm not a competition organizer, either. But as it happens, I do run the websites of 7 competitions, whose organizers send me a file each year containing a list of every single entry. I just sampled the data from the last 7 years and found that 93% of the entries from these comps are pro-am, leaving only 7% to everything else. The numbers don't lie, and neither, apparently, does Lorena.

If 93% doesn't qualify as "fueling an industry" in your book, I don't know what does. What do you suppose would happen to the U.S. dance competition industry if 93% of all entries suddenly disappeared?

It is clear from your last message that you have quite a lack of respect for the U.S. pro-am industry, but that doesn't mean it is not deserving of respect from the rest of us. It has produced some excellent dancers and teachers through the years, one of whom is me. And without it, you'd likely be dancing your next competition in a high school gym.

Regards,
Jonathan
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