Performing Posted by Just4Fun 10/31/2006 12:27:00 PM
My wife and I have been taking ballroom lessons for about 5 yrs. The studio we go to puts great emphasis on performing in spotlight dances and showcases which we do not want to do (we take lessons for social dancing only). Our teacher is continuosly pressured by the owner to get us to do performances. To "encourage" people to perform they routinely call people up to do spotlights without their prior knowledge. So we never stay when spotlights are being done because we don't want to be put in the position of doing something we don't want to do or refusing in front of all our fellow students. Is this practice common in all studios? The owner tells us that performing will make us better dancers. This may be true but I suspect it's more about taking more lessons to learn routines and paying to dance in showcases. We did try it once and we did not enjoy any part of it. The way I look at it is we are all adults and if we want to perform we will do it.
Just curious if this is common practice and if anyone else has had similar experiences.
Just4fun. Where I live we don`t have the same system you have. We do have three styles of dancing one of them being a sequence dancing. This means that every couple dance behind each other all the way around the ballroom all doing the same steps at the same time.. I put this in and will add that on the social scene it is more the older generation that go to this type of dancing. We I think would have one of the biggest dance populations you could find. I have a book with a list of dances for the week. Today , within easy reach of where I live there are 14 places to go. About 50 % of these are on during the day. And yet none of these would even go to a competition even if you paid them to. They have there thing and that`s all they are interested in. They will watch. Dancing with the Stars. They might go to see Burn the Floor. You should live here. Starting Monday at 7.30 am Beginners practice. 8.30 am Advanced practice. 10. am. dance till about 1 pm .Then they have a cup of coffee, everybody has brought a plate of something to eat. This kind of things goes on seven days a week. And yet you couldn`t get them into a normal studio even if it were free.
Most studios have showcases of some kind, I think, but I've never heard of forcing students to perform with no advance notice!
Personally, I do find having the goal of a performance or competition does help me focus and stay motivated to work hard on my dancing.
But if you don't want to, you shouldn't be pressured. Have you been at the same studio for 5 years? If so, you're good customers! I've been with the same instructor and studio for 4 years and I know they appreciate me. Put your foot down and let them know that's not for you and that you find being pressured unpleasant. Are there any other studios in your area?
They call you to perform spotlight dances without notice. These are the featured dances at the weekly practice session. The showcase dances are all well rehearsed and the students pay to perform.
There are other studios in the area. I know at least one of them is similar in trying to get their students to perform. We have been at the same studio for the 5 years. It would be hard to change since we've made so many friends but we may have to eventually.
Along the lines of "You know we've been good customers for a long time and we really appreciate all we've learned here. But one thing is making us very uncomfortable. We do not want to perform in any way. We don't like being pressured to do showcases and it's too bad that we have to leave the parties to avoid being put on the spot for spotlights. I'd like to come to an agreement that we won't be asked to perform at all in the future, so that we can feel comfortable continuing to take lessons here."
If he foresees a steady source of income heading for the door, I'll bet he (or she) agrees!
We took lessons at FADS for 5 years. They promoted showcases and competitions, but did not hassle us about it. They said learning exhibitions would help our dancing and we learned about 4 different mini exhibitions, with the understanding we were learning to improve our dancing not to perform.
The exhibitions they gave us were really neat and will do them or parts of them in our social dancing. Some of advanced elements they put in them, we adapted to other dances, because we liked them so much.
Hi Just4Fun, Your post is old but I figured I'd comment anyway because it demonstrates a situation I am in currently. My husband & I have been taking private ballroom dance lessons for 2 1/2 years. We chose this activity to spend more time together for fun, fitness and well-being (stress relief). We also wanted to meet others with similar interests. We made it very clear to the owner and instructor that we were not interested in showcases or competitions. We want to learn and attend regular practice parties & socialize. We don't mind spotlight dances but prefer to be prepared, not put on the spot (which they will do). Lately they have been pressuring us to participate in the showcases. I attended one and I hated it! My husband didn't mind but I had several issues with it and the instructor didn't find any of them valid. I believe they are just a money maker for the studio; such a pity for those of us who want to just learn and have fun.
Not all places charge to hold showcases, but many do. My studio which is an independent instructor studio, charges about $50 and you have the option to buying a video of the event. Not much of a money making venture there AND they provide wine, sodas and finger foods. Maybe it helps cover the light bill/rent for the summer months when dancers go on vacation.
Those who are more advanced dancers request to do spotlight daces at a social dance to work out any last min kinks of a routine they are showcasing. Dinner dance events are thrilled when they can get in a spotlight dance like this. I have never heard of a studio pushing unprepared students into this and I too would object.
Doing a showcase can be a working tool to improve your dancing. Generally your instructor takes your weakest dance to do a showcase around. The idea is solid concentration on this dance to increase speed, improve technique, "fluidness" - or what ever is needed.
It's not easy to get out and perform in front of an audience the first time. However, doing a showcase in-house you are among friends and fellow dancers to give you support. What's the worst that can happen? You trip? - I've done that, count it great by not going down. You get a heel caught in your skirt? - Seen that a few times, teaches one how to be cool under pressure and not lose balance as you extract it. You have a brain fart and forget a section/step of your routine? - I've done that and I've seen that, you just keep going. The audience does not know your routine. You do a lift and as you slide down your partner's front you get a painful wedgie? - Happened to my instructor's wife and they are 5 time rhythm champions - so see, even champions have to deal with problems. When it's over you discover you didn't die. Look, you are among an elite group of folks who have put themselves on the line for others and you have reaped the benefit of improving your dancing, having a good time and entertaining others. You will see that improvement flows into your other dances - AND it's a wonderful confidence builder.
I've seen and heard rumour of different studios. I am part of a worlwide franchise and they organize plenty of competitons that compete against others within the franchise. We have three studios in our city (all a part of this franchise). One of those studios is very competion oriented while the owner of my studio is more "have fun dancing" oriented. There is a studio of another franchise around the corner from us and we sometimes pick up some of there students who come to us complaining they are "too competion focused."
But we will have spotlight dances as well. Not to be confused with showcases. We have a regular practice party on weekends and at some point near the middle they will stop and make announcements and sometimes surpriseingly (except in cases of when it is the student's birthday)invite students out do do a "spotlight" dance.