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+ View Older Messages

Re: Oh, my!
Posted by Waltz123
3/21/2011  5:39:00 PM
You just finished telling a former pro-am U.S. champion that she doesn't take her dancing seriously.

And your point would be . . . ?
My point is exactly what I wrote previously: You are being presumptuous.

You have no idea how committed she is, because you don't know anything about her, except that she was at some point in the past a pro-am competitor. This fact should have zero meaning, unless you first subscribe to gross over-generalizations such as, "100% of pro-am competitors are uncommitted and don't take their dancing seriously, without exception."

She's actually a professional competitor and teacher now, and has been for quite a few years. If your logic is to be applied correctly, she could only have become serious about her dancing the day she turned pro, as though there were some mystical transformation that occurred at the stroke of midnight. After all, there's no way she could have possibly worked hard, understood the true meaning of commitment, or taken her dancing seriously at 11:59 pm the night before.

Yes, this scenario is as absurd. And so is the logic that suggests it. Can a person's commitment level change over time? Certainly. Does it necessarily correspond to their status as a professional, amateur, or pro-am? Of course not. The old adage "You can't judge a book by its cover" applies to this as much as anything else.

So I return to my original point: It is presumptuous to think that you know anything about someone's motivation or thought process based solely on the group against whom they decide to compete.

You know, I dont really care where Im dancing as long as there's decent music, a workable floor, and friends with whom to dance. This point is a blatant appeal to snobbery.
Nobody here is criticizing social dancing. It's entirely off-topic.

We're discussing whether or not pro-am competition dancing has value and merit. I'm defending it against what I believe to be misguided criticism by offering opposing viewpoints, in order to balance out the bias. In other words, I'm not attacking amateurs or their methods -- I'm simply defending pro-ams. Fascinating that you've decided to label that as snobbery.

In fact, last time I checked, a snob is defined as one believes that something or someone is beneath them, like, for example, pro-am dancing and those who participate in it.

But as it happens, I do run the websites of 7 competitions, . . .

Care to name them?
(Amused by the implication of bogus statistics) -- Nashville Starz, City Lights Ball, California Open, Vegas Open, Wisconsin State, Atlanta Open, and Capital Dancesport. The sample data included various events between 2004 and 2011. Data wasn't available for certain competitions during certain years for a number of reasons, but I still managed to include roughly 30 events altogether, for a total of 125,614 entries.

What's interesting is that the margin of variance from one competition to the next was tiny -- only about 2 or 3% -- not too shabby for a collection of unrelated competitions spanning over 7 years and 6 states from coast to coast. This suggests that the data is extremely consistent with almost all competitions of the same ilk (i.e. NDCA-sanctioned multi-day combined pro & am comps).

The industry being fueled is the Pro-am Dance Industry, not the ballroom-dance industry in general.
The industry in question is the competition industry as a whole -- not just pro-ams, but professionals and amateurs, too. With only 7% of their current income, U.S. competitions could not afford to operate, putting an end to the competition industry as we know it.

Sure, many pro-ams would continue to dance in some form, but without that money stream flowing into the competition industry, there would be precious few options for amateur and professional competitors in the United States. With only a tiny fraction of the venue options, audience, and income we have now, the number of competitors and skilled coaches would dwindle, and so then would the standard of competitive dancing.

What I do not respect are the tactics used to keep the flow of new students moving into pro-am. You yourself stated that some children are pushed into pro-am ("9 to 99"), an absolutely disgusting situation.
Sorry... Where exactly in the phrase "9 to 99" did you find the word "pushed?". That's your word, not mine. But it does bring up an interesting point:

Your usage of verbiage such as "pushed" is an attempt to project your viewpoint onto others, as though to say that each of those children *must* feel the way you do about their situation. I don't know any child competitor who gets pushed, kicking and screaming out onto the dance floor. The ones I've watched seem to actually enjoy it.

Putting kids into ballroom is no different than putting them in ballet, karate, gymnastics, or any other physical skill-based activity. Kids enjoy physical activities, and require their parents' guidance. And every once in a while, a child might need a gentle push when he wants to quit for the wrong reasons, to teach them the value of persistence. This is the experience of all normal parents, and it is a far cry from the freakish "stage mom" type we've witnessed on cable TV.

Sure we're all appalled by stage moms. But they are the minority, and they exist as a minority in all types of kids' activities. There is nothing specific about ballroom that makes it more disgusting than any other kids' activity from the standpoint of the parent-child dynamic. Perhaps more relevant to the current discussion, there's nothing about pro-am ballroom that breeds stage parents more abundantly than amateur. Actually, the opposite is far more likely.

In addition to the kids, you also impose your viewpoint on the adult pro-am competitors by suggesting that they are not willing participants, that they are being pushed, tricked, or duped into competing. Nobody could possibly do that willingly, because everybody must think like you, and if they don't, they're not smart enough to know what they really want.

Contrary to what you believe, these people might actually be intelligent enough to make their own choices, and be satisfied with them. Before you go about making public blanket statements about other peoples' will and desire, think first about whether your words really reflect their point of view, or whether you're simply projecting your will onto them.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have some unsuspecting pro-am students whose bank accounts need to be bled... :)
Continued from above.
Posted by jofjonesboro
3/21/2011  9:23:00 PM
I questioned the commitment of your friend because she made a claim which I know with metaphysical certainty to be false.

You take up a lot of space writing about projecting views and making presumptions.

Then you use this language in response to my request for the names of the competitions at which you worked.

Amused by the implication of bogus statistics

The suggestion of bogus statistics is your inference and not my implication. You're not exactly free of presumption yourself.

I wanted to see the names to determine if they were all NDCA events and they are (I checked). Therefore, all of your statistical arguments are based on a biased sample. The NDCA is the number one promoter of pro/am in the world (their website says so). It cannot be meaningful to use an analysis of participation at their events alone to make comparative judgments about pro/am and amateur dancing.

We're discussing whether or not pro-am competition dancing has value and merit.

No, that is what you are discussing. I am disputing the assertion that pro/am is superior to amateur partnerships as a method of training student dancers.

My use of the word "pushed" is based on my own experiences and observations in addition to those related to me by many other amateur dancers over the years.

Putting kids into ballroom is no different than putting them in ballet, karate, gymnastics, or any other physical skill-based activity.


Yes, ballroom is different because, as I noted above, it is a COUPLES activity; your other examples are all studies for individuals. Martial arts or ballet students may train together but they are not partners. While there is some dancing together in ballet, there are no analogous lead-follow roles in anything that you mentioned. A ballerina can train and perform by herself as much as she wants.

Children who want to pursue ballet can simply go find teachers and begin to learn. Prospective ballroom students can start taking lessons but will not actually be ballroom dancers until they find partners.

There is also a huge difference in the costs of these activities.

. . . you also impose your viewpoint on the adult pro-am competitors by suggesting that they are not willing participants, that they are being pushed, tricked, or duped into competing. Nobody could possibly do that willingly, . . .


When newcomers enter a ballroom dance studio, they bring excitement, anticipation, eagerness, and complete ignorance of the world into which theyre stepping. They yearn to dance but all that they really know is, in all likelihood, what theyve seen on TV or in a movie (which is almost always some type of competition). With no experience on which to base qualitative judgment, they will believe whatever they're told. They can easily be led - or misled - in almost any direction that a dance professional wishes to take them. In this situation, they are virtually children. Why else do so many experienced dancers refer to them as babies?

Your implcation that I'm insulting their intelligence may be based more on your own experience than on anything that I've written.

. . . I have some unsuspecting pro-am students whose bank accounts need to be bled...

Your words, dude.

I'm done with this exchange. Goodbye.

jj
Re: Oh, my!
Posted by Anonymous
3/21/2011  7:41:00 PM
To dance a routine is one thing. To understand exactly how it should be done is another. Letting a professional lead is not the way to learn to dance correctly. Also being able to partner another person has its probems. I will explain. In the ballroom hold we have one half a body thickness, thats us, plus the whole body of a partner. It goes without saying that not everybody is exactly the same build and that there is a great difference between partnerships
Re: Oh, my!
Posted by silver
3/22/2011  6:27:00 AM
JJ wrote:
I questioned the commitment of your friend because she made a claim which I know with metaphysical certainty to be false.

I found much of the rhetorical interchanges interesting until the word metaphysical slipped through JJ's Freudian wormhole. I almost dropped my popcorn. I've been awaiting a response to the challenge of the gauntlet thrown down earlier by Some Help. (She should have proclaimed a double-dog dare.) If the study of metaphysics lends itself to certainty, then perhaps you really can save 15% by switching to Geico.
Re: Oh, my!
Posted by Telemark
3/22/2011  7:08:00 AM
In the ballroom hold we have one half a body thickness, thats us, plus the whole body of a partner. It goes without saying that not everybody is exactly the same build and that there is a great difference between partnerships


Well, I'm glad we've cleared that up.
Re: Oh, my!
Posted by intabfab
3/22/2011  8:20:00 AM
As a former pro/am dancer who turned pro teacher, I appreciate waltz123's defense. True, I started in a franchise studio where JJ's take may apply, but my passion and dedication to dance quickly told me to get out and find a better place! Maybe I'm an expection to rule, but that's the point, there is an exception to every rule.

Still, based on just quality of information and skills of debate, JJ you fall very short. Especially since you intentionally misinterpreted the last line of sarcasm in waltz123' post. Maybe you just can't teach an old dog new tricks!

To Waltz123 - Shakira wrote a song in which I feel the lyrics of the chorus apply and may bring understanding ;)
"I'd rather eat my soup with a fork
Or drive a cab in New York
Cuz to talk to you is harder work
So what's the point of wasting all my words
If it's just the same or even worse
Than reading poems to a horse"

Re: Oh, my!
Posted by silver
3/22/2011  10:44:00 AM
In the ballroom hold we have one half a body thickness, thats us, plus the whole body of a partner. It goes without saying that not everybody is exactly the same build and that there is a great difference between partnerships


Telemark, I'm still confused as to what happens to the other 1/2 of my body. I accept that we are not all the same thickness. But what am I missing here? With 1/2 of my body thickness plus a whole body thickness of let's say, my teacher, where does that leave the other 1/2 of my body in the "ballroom hold"? In metaphysical terms, does the other 1/2 even exist? If it doesn't, then does it really take two to tango because apparently, I've been doing it with only 1-1/2. And with that 1/2 missing, wouldn't that throw the whole moment of inertia in the partnership out from the perceived center of the ballroom hold? Is there a theoretical physicist on this site? I'm in need of consultation.
Re: Oh, my!
Posted by Anonymous
3/24/2011  6:48:00 PM
Silver Contrary to your belief our arms start at half the thickness of our bodies. If they started behind our shoulder blades the story would be different.
Re: Oh, my!
Posted by Telemark
3/25/2011  7:55:00 AM
Contrary to your belief our arms start at half the thickness of our bodies. If they started behind our shoulder blades the story would be different.


If my partner's arms started behind her shoulder blades, I might go for your proposition (although in relation to what, or to what purpose, defeats me), but as my parnter is quite normal, we subscribe eaxctly half each, and therefore, dance as one.
Re: Men as followers
Posted by anymouse
3/31/2011  9:17:00 AM
"I would like to compete with my female instructor at Pro Am Competitions as a leader and a follower.

I competed in Bronze in 1999 and 2000 as a leader and did very well, but I am toying with the idea of doing twice as many entries by competing as a follower and a leader.

Can this be done? I am interested in Ohio Star Ball for one of the comps"

Not at a traditional ballroom competition, but there are alternative ones for same-sex partnerships where lead/follow changes are expected. There might perhaps be something in that world which you and your (opposite sex, professional) teacher could fit into, at least its worth researching.
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