Welcome to the forum!! Your post was really well thought out, and you echo alot of my own opinions about pro-am.
In terms of fee structure, my one question would be: how would you handle the very well known professional that does pro-am? Do they get to sell their time at a premium? And at what level of professional accomplishment does the premium kick in?
Interesting business questions to kick around, and I'm sure one that professionals aren't entirely comfortable with.
Best of luck in the comp! Please let us know how things go!
Thanks for the reply. I think ultimately the fee structure is always going to be a personal arrangement between the Am and the Pro. The best we can do is to create a standard so that when people are getting scalped - they are at least donating thier head cover knowingly!
It makes a big difference to your negotiations on this if you know the 'norm' with a reasonable instructor - at least then you will also know how much extra an individual rates themselves. For some, competing with a national champion will be worth it (wish I could afford it!) - surely that is one of the delights of our sport, that this is actually possible.
What riles me is that there are unscrupulous teachers who are knowingly grossly overcharging - and that the professional organizations and the ballroom competition organizers turn a blind eye - indeed I suspect that many of them think it is amusing and legitimate. The fact is that for some of us there are very few choices for pros in our areas - and everyone here understands that if you have to dance well, you have to dance. While supply and demand are factors - a true profession should allow an ante but not a total rip off. For example, imgine if the doctor charged you 100 times the going rate for surgery simply because the next hospital was (for you) a lifetime away?
Is there anyone on the list who thinks they are being scalped?
Oh but I ramble too much! The real question is: do we want to start a Pro/Am organization? I would be happy to look into this if there is interest.
Alternatively, I could just quiet down and sit under this here rock....
Actually, I have an hour lesson at 8 am - the real reason for life....
My lessons are just 45 minutes, they used to be 1 hour, but while the cost stayed the same, the lesson became shorter ( what was the % increase compared to today's inflation ? )
Today we are informed it is not a good idea to take "just" 45 minutes, that "you cannot accomplish much", and if you no money, its OK, wait till next time and take 2 lessons.
I better not mention the cost of the 2 lessons, and I am thankful this teacher does not accept personal calls on the cell, and use bathroom too frequently durin MY time.
Yes, if only the dancers could agree to get together, and together purchased teachers time, lets say guarateeing 30 hrs per week for a year, they could say: OK, we will pay you this much per lesson, take it OR ....no,no, no not... leave it ....OR... we will approach/invite a different teacher, AHA and leave you wondering what great oportunity and guaranteed income you just missed.
We, the dancers have all the buying power, but we have allowed (them) to be divided, fregmented, week, we appear to them to be begging, we allowed them, and tolerate them acting as hot shots, primadonas, and if you don't like it they make you feel you shall not be missed. Either submit and shut up, or, get lost. Have you had that feeling of nostalgia.
Would it not be nice to see an appreciative , helpful, reasonable teacher who would agree to sell time at a " bulk" discount price.
The students could pool the moneys and take lessons in a timely and organized way, the teacher would be busy and secure, he could schedule his studio time and travel time better, we would get a break ...and guess what, once the news would get around, others would be soon asking for same. Time to time, the dancers would vote if they wish to give the teacher a reasonable "inflationary" bonus, or not, to renew the contract or not...
And the motto would be "You do not like it...find your own students". We are strong, we stand united...bring in a new student, 'she' will soon join our little organization, she does not want to get scalped either.
Sad to say but some of the rate hikes are due to a group of students with lots of money rather than brains. I have been told by more than one person in the Toronto area that this select group of students are asking the instructors to charge more. There is a one-up-man-ship going on where they can say that "they" are better off their than friends as they pay more for their lessons. It may be obvious to us but lets face it, some of these people are too stupid to realize that they are not showing off, but rather being laughed at behind their backs. I also would not doubt that it is also a way of pricing out the competition. Some of the instructors have refused to play the game but others are not going to look at gift horse in the mouth. A lot of people are suffering for their lack of judgement.
I find it very easy - I pay my pro a flat rate and he pays all of his expenses. We agree ahead of time how many "programs" this will include. 5 freestyles, 1 open scholarship and perhaps th superbowl. How far I go is up to my dancing that day and the judges opinion.
If he has multiple students going...good for him, he makes more $$$. As long as he is ready to go and has energy when it is my time. And I have never had a problem.
Re: Quote " I have been told by more than one person in the Toronto area that this select group of students are asking the instructors to charge more. There is a one-up-man-ship going on where they can say that "they" are better off their than friends as they pay more for their lessons. It may be obvious to us but lets face it, some of these people are too stupid to realize that they are not showing off, but rather being laughed at behind their backs. I also would not doubt that it is also a way of pricing out the competition. " ____________________________________________
I would tend to agree, the problem it is a " hear-say ".
( And since I watch Judge Judy on TV a lot, this is not admissible...)
However, if such a group exists, they would have to be large enough to make it worthwhile for a teacher to increase his prices, and to keep this teacher busy, because others would probably swithch to someone else.
This teacher could not possibly charge at two different scales - one for the 'rich' / alternatively "naive and stupid" and the other for the hard working class, or, the children of the hard working class.
There is no doubt that 'moneys' plays an important role in dancesport. It also plays an important role in other sports, and in all activities of our lives. No surprise, moneys influence teachers, adjudicators, organizers, like it, or, not.
In a long run, we will see we just may price ourselves out.
Those few who can afford expensive lessons will be divided into several categories:
Category one : capable, ambitious, young, capable, great dancers - the top of the cream, willing to pay anything for top instruction, they will do anything, and pay anything even if they should go bankrupt. These are the new Mirkos, and Dominicos, and Brians...
Category two: those less capable, naive, those thinking the more you pay for lesson, the higher the probablility the instructor will somehow use a "wider funnel", to pour into you his/her wisdom, and you by a miracle gain the understanding, and somehow become a much better dancer, and will get ahead in a competition..
Category three: Snobs, who will not benefit much as dancers, but will be seen and will get a 'high' from telling others THEY take lessons from the best ( or from those others cannot afford ...because they just may be not the best, just bloody expensive )
These are probably the same people who go to France just to take a picture beside the E. Tower, or go to a ball-game, not because of the game, but to take a picture to say we were in the Sky Dome, those who go to a funeral of Mrs. Gretzky, to take a picture beside the passing-by Wayne, those who try desperately to rub shoulders, with the real winners, not because they even like , or care for them, but because they can fool themselves by pretending they belong in the winner's circle.
I hope that ordinary people. like you and I, do not envy these snobs, but feel sorry for them, because they just do not know better.
No, moneys cannot buy everything.
And you know what, this is probably a short lived phenomenon, just look how many young people in Ontario, in Toronto are taking up a dance.
The kids cannot pay for the lessons, their parents have brains, they see and the history showed that by taking a lesson a week their child can become a good dancer if talented.
And without a talent 10 lessons a week will make little difference.
And event the talented kids, will not become great champions - which some instructor would tend to hint to the parents.
Ageing adults, lets call them seniors love to dance, many find a fountain of youth in dance.
The Seniors have moneys, some anyways. Seniors know their limitations, many realizing they have reached their maximums , their platos, others, and in desperation, try to reach for something they should have reached for 30 ( thirty ) years earlier, and.. there is not a teacher in the world, or a teacher 'expensive enough', and there is 'not a lesson great enough', to return their youth, or, the stamina, or, to return them the vitality, to give them ability to absorb and to perform the skills as a winner, the winner they will never become, cause they are over the hill...too bad.
A duck can flop the wings, to pretend looking as an eagle, but a duck will never soar.
And so, let the ducks waste their resources in a futile search for the greatness, their unexhaustable source of moneys may make a few instructors happy, but you will never see your duck soar .
Let it be, such is the world. How many of us enroll and play a POLO ?
Ah, greenpin you are a person of wisdom. I believe that the trend will probably die out as these people move on to other things, or when the novelty of being with a big name instructor wears off. I know there is quite a group of these people but as I mentioned above, I'm sure they will move on some day. A lady told me that people who have no talent usually try and buy it (not saying this is the case for them all). It takes more than money to make it. They may have early rewards but in the long run they will probably be frustrated as they no longer get the results they are looking for. Most likely they will feel it is the fault of the instructor and move from one to another until they decide that it is no longer worth the trouble. Perhaps I should lay out some dog showing pamplets at some of the studios . Nah, I wouldn't do that to the poor dogs.