I bet it's true that in pro-am competitions, the amateurs follow a lot. That's also a sad commentary on the sport. I would hope there would be less back leading. I realize that the dancers, especially the pros, are concerned with how they look before the judges and audience, but I hope the judges pick up on the back leading and judge accordingly by giving fewer points to those who do back lead. My professional instructor expects me to lead her as I have been instructed to do, and though she might go where she thinks I want her if the lead during a show weren't the best, I would hear about it later, in a nice way. Thats what I pay her for.
oh, ouch. sorry you feel this way and perhaps if this is really the case, the male student needs to find a different teacher. I am a pro and dance pro am with several of my male students and trust me, they lead. that's my job as a professional female instructor.
I can lead so I will be happy to tell you why I use a professional instructor.
My instructor knows how to move her body. She can get out of my way. Leading doesn't mean picking up a rag doll and throwing her around the floor. We need partners and not everyone is willing or able to dance at a competitive level.
Do you know any good dancers that have never worked with a professional? I don't. Even the professionals are dancing with other professionals. Would you expect a professional to choose one of his students to dance a championship level competition just to demonstrate his great leading skills? Of course not.
My instructor is paid to NOT backlead. She is paid to help me experience good dancing so that I can replicate the experience with other amateurs.
Now as far as Amateur competitions go, I think they are valuable but I doubt their honesty. I once watched a finals in Atlanta where the nations top amateur couple was dancing.
The lady was ill and she ran off the floor and vomited in the lobby during the final heat.
Not only did she fail to complete the competition but her performance suffered and she was still granted with the #1 trophy. I had never before seen a sports meet where someone abdicated but still won.
There just aren't the numbers needed. In Europe, there are far more men that know how to dance. A competitive couple from our studio went to a comp in Italy. In the senior 2 category (over 55, I believe), there were 85 couples entered! Also, I find that the older gentlemen who persevere and really learn how to dance, suddenly think they are hot stuff and want a younger partner. Younger women don't want them, but that doesn't stop them from trying and rejecting women their own age. These are my observations from managing a studio and trying very hard to match women up with appropriate partners.
Seriously, I had a much younger partner for about a year and a half. She put up with me because she wanted the dance training and had zero prospects for another partner (this was not in Atlanta). As should have been expected, we never really learned to communicate with each other but were wise enough to understand the value of the partnership (even though, competitively, we were a terrible couple - she never wanted to practice).
My experience tells me that your comment about skilled older leads - while not pleasant to contemplate - may be true more often than not.
However, I can honestly say that I've never rejected an older woman in favor of a younger one. At the time of my partnership with the younger woman, I had not danced in a few months and had no other immediate prospects.
Thanks for the explanation about the situation in Europe.
And bless you for helping students to find partners.
Because the numbers of single ladies over 50 at public ballrom dances ( and attending class lessons ) is so minimal its not countable .
In matter of fact, most schools in the UK will not take unpartnered ladies ( or men in most cases )irrespective of age .
The facts in the US are quite documentable.. in fact, most of the chain schools would not have survived, thus depriving future champions, of the opportunity to enter the world of dance ( You know we have just had this very discussion on a nother site ).