Have any pro-ams here broken up with their coaches? I am interested in finding out what others experienced when they faced that decision. What made you leave your teacher? How long have you been with him? How difficult was the decision? I suppose I must say I am in that situation. I don't know that I want to give specifics. But it is extremely painful to decide to leave a teacher. I thought listening to other students' stories/advice would make it easier. I have no romantic feelings for my teacher, so I don't need any advice along those lines. But it is like losing a very important relationship. It hurts a lot.
quote:Originally posted by Reina: I have no romantic feelings for my teacher, so I don't need any advice along those lines. But it is like losing a very important relationship. It hurts a lot.
Never done pro-am, but breakups in amateur partnerships usually have an element of this as well On a purely practical level, a good dance partnership ends up connecting to one's life in many of the same ways that a romantic relationship would, so when you disconnect it, the hole left behind can have some similarities. Dancing with other people then either feels wonderful (if you are mad at the ex-partner) or hopeless (if you are wishing there had been a way to continue).
One unfortunate thing is that non-dancers probably will not understand - they'll think it's either relatively trivial, or they'll think you're in denial about the no romantic feelings bit. It will take either dance friends, or people who are very good at listening without projecting, to understand what you have lost.
As for recovery... do a lot of dancing socially. Treat yourself to something special dance related (lesson with visiting pro, new shoes/costume, half dozen ballroom CD's, whatever) AND something special NOT related to dance. And then start looking for a replacement...
I'd personally go more for the dance-related special treats because anything related to dance might just remind you of the partnership that didn't work out. The way I deal with partnership breakups is to take a break from dance for a while and enjoy doing other things for a change.
And for some reason, talking to dance friends about my breakups only makes me feel worse. I'd spend more time with those non-dance friends who you might have neglected while dancing pro/am with your coach.
It'll make you feel good, trust me, to enjoy the other pleasures of life like that, because there's more to life than dance. And you don't have to take a long break from dancing and become rusty. Sometimes all it takes is a week or two away from the world of dance to realize that there's no need to make yourself miserable and mope over a lost dance partnership when there are myriads of other opportunities you have yet to explore. And if you know breaking up was for the best, all the more reason to move on quickly.
I've been doing Pro/Am for about 5 1/2 years and I'm with Joe: at the core it's a business relationship. I feel that my teacher is professional enough that if I went to him and said "It's been really great but the time has come for me to move on and so I'll be going to _____ ______ from now on," I feel confident that he'd wish me well. I know it's a business relationship, he knows it's a business relationship, and we know that each other knows it's a business relationship. I think that's part of how we've managed to have a satisfying and successful student/teacher relationship all these years: because I never confused him with being a surrogate boyfriend, or being a buddy, or being "my" dance partner. He's my teacher, and I think of him fondly for it, but we both know this arrangement is "at will" and that he can drop me as a student if or when he wants to and I can drop him as a teacher if or when I want to.
Someone I know is going through the "should I change teachers" blues. On the one hand, they feel like they will disappoint their teacher and make them feel bad for leaving...and I say on the other hand the teacher is a professional dance teacher and having students come and go is part of the job, and a teacher can't take it too personally if a student wants to go elsewhere. Sometimes a teacher can only take a student so far, and that's not to say that the first teacher was bad, just that it was time for the student to move on to someone else with a different focus, or more experience, or better schedule availability.
I was simply trying to be concise; Laura was a little more verbose. Got nothing against pro/ammers. Do have something against peeps without common sense. No rough times here QQS, but you're still welcome to comfort me.
quote:Originally posted by Reina: Have any pro-ams here broken up with their coaches? But it is like losing a very important relationship. It hurts a lot.
Most of us hire teachers to teach us to dance. Just about the only thing that counts is how much progress we make as dancers.
About the only reason I would leave a teacher who was effectively teaching me to dance would be if there was something offensive about him or her personally--say personal habits or teaching style--that offset the benefits of his teaching. By the same token, I can't think of any reason I'd continue paying a teacher who didn't effectively teach me to dance, no matter how nice a person or how pleasant a teaching style they had.
If you are using phrases like "broken up" or a "very important relationship" with respect to your teacher, I would say you no longer see this teacher's role princpally as teaching you. It seems he's taken on some other role for you. So the first thing you need to do is clear your head, decide what you want from a teacher, and go from there. I would add that it's potentially very dangerous to get into a situation where you are paying someone to provide you with friendship or some other type of emotional support, if that is part of the problem here.
I will share my experience, whichis that I swithched pros after a 7 year stint. We competed together with pretty fair success for most of that time. It was a difficult decision to make, because while I agree that it is ultimately a business relationship and that it is your dime, I also know that it is an important relationship if you don't have the luxury of a practice partner or an am competitive partner. In fairness to you, your pro has probably spent a fair amount of energy making himself indespensible to your dancing. Its either good customer service or good marketing. Some pros will behave professionally and some will be less so. Some will try to keep the business in house and some will try to color your relationship with other pros and coaches and even judges with a lot of politicking. You can't avoid it, but you should be prepared for it. But if you have seriously contemplated a change, you probably should. I stayed longer than was productive to avoid the mentioned discomforts, and at the end of the day only regretted the time I wasted. It is a very big adjustment to work with a new pro, but if you are lucky enough to live in an area that has more than one ( I wasn't for a while) you should avail yourself of the opportunity. Its a little like switching hair dressers in a salon. But a lot more expensive.
Or maybe it's not entirely a problem...(referring to the thread on making contracts or not). This is a very good example of something that apprently worked well and was rewarding for a time. I would have a hard time changing teachers, too, even if it was warranted - and I don't even do Pro/Am. It's not because I have anything more than a social contract in place. I believe that is only the case because there are good things in that business relationship, and I would hate to have to let them go.
Even so, nothing lasts forever. At some point (and I have zero idea when that time may come), it will be right for me to explore dancing with another main teacher, and it will be time for the teacher to become involved with new students. The worst thing would be if it were easy! That would mean I was not parting from someone or something I valued.