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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... :)
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