My AM instructor recently asked me to participate in a showcase in two months. I'm concerned because I don't think I'm ready...I've only been taking lessons since May and I don't feel like I've really *mastered* any of my dances to the point where I could have a polished performance that is not mediocre. I'd like to trust that my instructor would only ask me if he thought I was ready...but there is also a part of me wondering if this is more about sales. I do have a lot of respect for his opinion, and if he REALLY thinks I'm ready, then I feel I should do it. I just don't want to have a disasterous performance. Does anyone have any experience with this?
I've been competing for over eight years and I always feel nervous and like I'm not ready.
That said, my first piece of advice is to sit down and have a frank talk with your instructor about exactly how much this is going to cost you. Showcases can get to be VERY expensive, and you don't need to be adding sticker shock on to your nerves.
If, after he's disclosed and explained the costs, you still want to do it -- then go for it! You have to start some time! I did my first inter-studio competition, where a couple of local studios got together, after I had only been dancing for about three months. I was nervous, but afterwards I realized I had had so much fun that I became hooked on dancing and competing for life! Since then I've had several amateur partners, plus have done Pro/Am with three different teachers over the years.
HMMM the Arthur Murray Showcase, one of the best sales tactics that they have. A new student that came in last week will "be ready" for that showcase. You will be required to use more lessons to learn the dance or you will be required to purchae more lessons to learn the dance. You will be teased with patterns that are not at your level, but let's show the Judge how well you can handle the more advanced material. HMMM oh thats right, you will need to purchase a ticket for the dinner dance and awards presentation that night. And there will be a fee for entering this showcase because they have to pay the Judge and your teacher etc. And much to your amazement you will go home with a trophy or a ribbon. And DAMM everyone did. OH thats right there might be a free style comp too and if you sign uo for one or ten there will be a special fee for that too. After the event is over and you are so excited about what you have done. The Judge (generally) along with your teacher will sing you the praises for the job you did and how well you handled the advanced material in your routine. And if you really enjoyed what you have done and would like more it will cost you your next unborn child. Please sign here. If learning how to dance is something you really desire take all the monies that you will spend and invest it in lessons with a good teacher. And if you desire to compete wait until something comes up where it is a true dance competion and not a way of just selling you lessons. A great deal of the material learned is nothing u will ever use again anyway.
An experienced dance friend is doing her first showcase. She has been dancing for 15 years or so and is very experienced. She has done competition, lessons, but never a showcase. The showcase is an Int. Rumba with a Argentine Tango flair. The choreography is all basic syllabus work. She figured 6 lessons at most, since she already knows all the syllabus through gold level.
She is on lesson 4 now and they still don't have all their choreography and the teacher is good, but very inefficient. He is slowly working with her on balance and the basics. Now she is irritated at the teacher and about the whole idea. At the pace that he is going it will take 20 lessons. He is now trying to talk her into extra lessons for the performance.
Showcases seem to be a green light for a teacher to run up a large dancing bill.
I would say wait awhile on your showcase if you can't tie all the expenses down. However, it will be a great growing experience--don't expect too much overnight with your new dancing abilities. Learning to dance well is a long term project.
I really do recognize the motivational value of performances, so I don't mind paying for it...if I'm actually ready! Right now I'm leaning towards no, but I'll have a heart to heart with my instructor next week. The truth is, I don't know if I'll ever actually feel prepared...even in 5 years! I have such respect for the art of dance, and I don't want to debase it by doing a lousy performance.
Like it or not, you are going to have some lousy performances in dance. I just did a well rehearsed Samba in competition and did a lousy performance by making some stupid mistakes. Don't worry about a bad performance. You have a better chance of doing well with a showcase since it's only one dance. In competition one does multiple dances--I did 15 different dances in my last comp.--made some mistakes too--so what.
You probably should do the showcase to just you past your fear of mistakes or a bad performance.
I would do the Showcase. Competitions and exhibitions, such as Showcase, do a lot to move your dancing forward. A cynic would say it's because you have to increase your lesson "burn-rate," which somebody above mentioned with some bitterness. Ask your instructor if he thinks you can do a creditable job without having to increase your lesson load. If the answer is no, then I would wait. But if he says yes, go ahead and do it. And then have fun; life is short.
<<<< The showcase is an Int. Rumba with a Argentine Tango flair. The choreography is all basic syllabus work. She figured 6 lessons at most, since she already knows all the syllabus through gold level.
She is on lesson 4 now and they still don't have all their choreography and the teacher is good, but very inefficient. He is slowly working with her on balance and the basics. Now she is irritated at the teacher and about the whole idea. At the pace that he is going it will take 20 lessons. He is now trying to talk her into extra lessons for the performance.>>>
Actually, she is probably getting more out of the lessons by doing balance and the basics than she might if she does choreography - so in this case the teacher is doing the right thing.
If it's syllabus, and she 'knows' syllabus, then why would the coach need to teach the syllabus, anyway?
However, I'll wager that the sutdent is not very good at even doing basics or balance, tho she thinks that by 'knowing syllabus thru gold' that she is better than she thinks. Six lessons are just that - lessons - not practice. She needs to go off and practice what she gets in the lessons - it's not up to the teacher to do that for her.
I have read that there are three levels of dance lessoning: student dances with teacher is the very lowest and beginner-est level. The reality check is in....
Hi all, learning to dance can be a tricky buisness with finding a good instructor, watching out for sales tactics which make you pay/buy more lessons. Its everywhere and truly speaking dancing is a buisness. But at the end of the day its what you really want out of your lessons and where you want to be with your dancing. All studios apart from private/group classes have competitions, social nights. showcases etc...but then its upto each individual to decide if they are ready for it or not and are ready to sell out more money just to be in the comp. If you think you are being forced to do something that you would not normally doo or are feeling uneasy about the whole idea of taking part in a showcase just because you are not ready to dance, then dont do it.
The lady friend that is preparing for the showcase is also my dance partner. She has a very sketchy background in dance. She is from E. Europe and danced folk and ballroom with a traveling company-had never done any competition, social dancing, or ever heard of a showcase until moving here 7 years ago. She had never had a private lesson. They were just assigned a partner and went to work. All of their lessons were very demanding group lessons. They did lots of solo drilling, class drilling, and the teacher was very much a dictator. All of the dance was choreographed with a group--she said she did a Jive routine once that lasted 7 minutes.
When we started dancing together I was a total beginner and she was more advanced than me. She attended private lessons, but they were about 65% for me--and I paid for them.
Now she is paying for her own private lessons and possibly doing this showcase. She says she did Int. Latin at a high level about 23 years ago, but has forgotten most of it. She could't remember a hockey stick. She is finding out that she is weak in lots of technique issues. She is not a beginner in some ways, but she is like starting over with these Latin dances and the very specific footwork and technique. She knows the syllabus, but it gets mixed up with time and different language. We competed recently in Int Latin and this helped her realize that she needed some work. We did American Rhythm for years and have switched to Int. Latin recently. I am way ahead of her in some ways since I have been taking lessons, competing, and working with my teacher partner for about 1 1/2 years.
We had lots of problems and wasted lesson time on choreograpy issues. She is very picky about what figures she will dance. Lots of lesson time was wasted on this using my dime.
I watched her last lesson and she is improving drastically. It's funny to watch and listen to the process. Her lesson costs about $65 per hour and she is on a tight budget and is very frugal. Guess she wants the teacher to read her mind on acceptable choreography just for her. I think now she has given up on any type of choreography and is settling for him to just help with the basic technique on each latin dance. I am very happy that she is taking private lessons now. I take from the same teacher and at some point we may split a lesson. We plan on competing again in May. The interest in private lessons for her are to help prepare her to be a dance teacher.
For the average student, a showcase will take 10 additional lessons even if you are not learning very difficult steps. Performance dancing is very different than social dancing. You have to memorize the choro=eography, and work on technique and presintation. But if you put in the commitment and practice time, I assure you that you will be happy with the outcome, and you will learn alot in that dance.
Everyone makes mistakes and messes up during performances. That's par for the course. Embrace that and use it as a tool for learning. just like in life, learn from your mistakes and mishaps in dancing. they will make you a stronger dancer, and will make you more confident.
Emanon 56. How different it is from some other countries where the competition couples belong to a club and would not allow any person on the floor if they weren`t ready. It does nothing for the image of dancing to see people struggling, in some cases it is as a dancer embarrassing to watch.
when are people going to wake up to themselves and realise AM is not a real dance studio. A friend of mine is on this site daily and brought my attention to a number of topics relating to AM. As a former am teacher I had a background in Ballet, tap and jazz and after a knee reconstruction I applied for a job at AM I was shown DVD's on how to learn the dances and additionally I was taught by a more experienced teacher in full view of the students waiting around for their lessons. AS a teacher we were told we can only teach 5 steps per level or if a student increased their payment amounts, this in turn held many of the students back. The teachers are not paid ridiculous amounts of money either.
The only time when my AM dance instructor teaches me anything new is when I sign up for a Showcase. There are two groups of students at AM, those who compete/participate and those who do not compete/participate in the showcases and comps.
I noticed that those of us who only take 1 private per week do not learn any new routines at all. Where as those who particpate in showcases ($1000) and comp ($3000-$4000) are taught short routines of about 4-5 new steps.
I am screwed because I spent about $150 per week on my private and my instructor wont show me any routines, just one step per lesson without linking it into other steps to form a short routine. If I want to learn how to link a couple of steps together, then I have to sign up for a showcase or comp, which means I will have to spend ($1000-$4000) on top of my weekly private lessons.
I have been told by others at the studio that if I join a showcase or comp, then I will have to take more than 1 private per week to learn and practice the material. They recommend 3 or 4 privates per week.
This would mean that I would end up spending $5000 to learn short routines for a showcase and $10,000 to learn short routines and participate in a comp.
Sounds like you're at one of the less than great AMs.
I'd recommend shopping around to check out other studios when you get close to the end of your current contract. Be sure to check out indpendent studios in your area. In general, independent studios are more likely to individualize instruction to each student, rather than having a set structure for all. There are several ways to find studios:
-- The Dance Directory on this site
-- the Yellow Pages under dance studios or dance instruction
-- Google "ballroom dance" and the name of your town.
Most studios have an introductory package where you can sample a private lesson or two for a reasonable cost. Or you could take a group class just to get a feel for the atmosphere of the place.
Before you commit to anything, discuss your dance goals with the new instructor. Ask about costs for showcases, etc. When I first started at my independent studio, I took the intro package, like it and signed up for a 5 lesson package, then a larger package, etc. I've been there 5 years and they have always taught me what I wanted to learn and as much as I could learn. Never any sales pressure.
no subject Posted by brdSteven 7/1/2007 12:07:00 PM
"my instructor wont show me any routines, just one step per lesson without linking it into other steps to form a short routine."
Seems to me the mistake your instructor is really making is not helping you see that what you think you want is bad for you.
A dancer with good fundamental skills - including leading - can put any number of single patterns together in ways that are interesting and fun for both himself and his partner; he can create a unique experience each time he steps on the floor. This is a gentleman a lady will look forward to dancing with.
A dancer with poor skills but possessing a collection of "short routines" will tend to use the same material in the same way every time, with unimaginative basic steps acting as filler. The result can be pretty tedious.
Imho, a private lesson should not be wasted on showing how various patterns can be used in combination - group classes are better for that. Instead, a private lesson is best used to do what cannot be done in a group class - professional diagnoses and treatment of what needs improvement in an individual's own dance fundamentals. It could be posture, balance, lead/follow, timing, styling ... but rarely should it be about mere choreography.
When you get right down to it, the choreography that comes with signing up for a Showcase is essentially a way to put an exciting wrapper around very intensive work on the fundamentals. The student should be a better dancer after going through the process, but not because of knowing "a routine".