My last post set off a fire-storm of correspondence - so even if there is noone else here, lets try again!
I love PRO/AM because of the particular challenge of trying to keep up with the pro bit and learning speed . However, I think if a terrific AM came along I would probably jump at it for a number of reasons including cost and the chance to dance a lot more. I suspect also that I would regret it as everyone tells me the teaching is directed almost entirely towards the male - and I would find that very frustrating. On the other hand I suspect that male proAMs would have no reservations.
I think there may be an assumption that all proAMs (my shorthand for the AM partner) would take an AM partner if they could. Is this true for you?
There, an open question - lets see if anyone is out there.....
Hi Elise, We think that in its early history, ProAm arose because it tended to be harder to find "AM male" partners for "AM female" students. [It actually would be very interesting to determine what was the "FIRST" Pro-Am event ... probably something offered from the contract studios. For example, "Showcases" are often offered so if anything, that was probably the first case of "Pro-Am" being done at contract studios where teachers could showcase their students, as well as students were able to showcase their steps.]
Many AMs in the ProAm partnership or competition many times have the dollars and resources to be able to take lessons, travel, and purchase costuming, etc. ... but the hardest variable is ... finding a partner! It's hard enough finding a "life" partner/husband/spouse (and stay married to them ... only thinking about divorce rates! ) ... so when someone is looking for an equally dedicated "male" competition partner, well, the probability is even less. Especially when you add to that other factors like "chemistry/personality", funds, travel time, dedication, etc.
So, we're thinking maybe it's not so much that they are closet Am/Am, but that ProAM is more an "opportunity" for those who may not have found a partner, or are continuing to look for a partner ... so that they can at least have some "goals", and be able to experience competition ... whether that means "dressing up", "preparing mentally", "practising", and even developing moral character (e.g., when judging results don't go one's way)
Yea, as I mentioned, I am sure I would also jump (hey, I'd do a tripple axle) at the chance - but having become used to dancing with a pro I suspect that I would also take a lot of adjustment - and that I would really miss the in depth trainingy. Of course, one could do both - but who has that much money or time?
Not to put off any 6'2" (or taller, I'm 5'10) men who might be perusing this.....
So, we're thinking maybe it's not so much that they are closet Am/Am, but that ProAM is more an "opportunity" for those who may not have found a partner, or are continuing to look for a partner ... so that they can at least have some "goals", and be able to experience competition ... whether that means "dressing up", "preparing mentally", "practising", and even developing moral character (e.g., when judging results don't go one's way). ***
I realise this - but I suspect that there are those (and the more I think about it, the more it seems to fit me) who do pro/am actually by choice. I actually think the form deserves more respect as a serions competition in itself and not as most people may think of it as 'ladies in waiting' . There seems to be that kind of attitude at many competitions - but from my limited experience I think there are more and more pros who seek top pro/AMs not just as, to put it brutally, cash cows nor even as cheap advertizing but actually as an opportunity to win nationally and internationally recognized prizes.
I'm not sure if the opportunity will ever present itself for me to be able to do Am/Am (so this could be sour grapes!- hey, how come there is no sour grapes emoticon?) but, despite my statements in favor of it, I am not entirely sure what my decision would be. Currently at least, I am happy to set a target to win with my partner at Pro/Am - and, fortunately for me, he seems just as motivated as I am. Perhaps in a few months I will be passionately defending this dancesport variant against all others!
On the other end of the coin, I am an experienced 20 year old male who can't find a partner. A young partner isn't suitable because I am too old to dance in youth or compete for under 21 titles, and many experience girls my age are turning pro because they don't want to wait to find a good partner and rather teach than train. I think finding a partner is just hard guys.
There is an interesting situation where I live too. I live in Florida where there are plenty of rich and/or retired people who have the necessary funds to dance pro/am. Also, the other young girls just dance for fun, but compete in pro-am since their parents are rich. I am 16 years old, but I don't want to dance pro-am and don't have the money to. The only other young guys are short and dance social american style, while I am 5'6 and dance 10 dance at a high level. My trainer is amazing and of course would like me to compete with him in the 5 dance scholarships at bigger events. The problem is that even if entering in under 18 may cost a bit less (still too expensive) the top scholarship prize is very small and there is no one to compete against at a high level at most events. I have been looking for a partner for a long time and unlike other coaches and the owner of my studio who try to pressure me into doing pro-am, my coach has been looking for a partner for me as well. The problem is that no one wants to relocate to Florida and relocation from my side is pretty impossible. I think one big reason young guys don't dance here is, besides stereotypes and lack of knowledge that ballroom exists, is the fact that most pros are concerned with raking in the dough from pro-am and not with the future of dancing. The USA Dance chapters are all focused on social dancing for the senior citizens (which are almost all of the members) and raising funds to buy defribilators since the people at the monthly dances are about to croak. I think pro-am is great for the people who choose to do it, but believe me, where I live it has a bad effect on someone in my situation. Many of the dancers at my studio who do pro-am love it and don't care about finding my partner, while I can't do pro-am (even if I chose to) and am stuck without a partner.
One example of people I know who do pro-am: The guy is a heart surgeon, his wife is a pediatrician. They each have 8 hrs of lessons a week and still dance and compete with instructors rather than each other.
:Biggestbox I imagine that after your post you probably have about 20 kertrillion e-mails from adoring women! No? I can't imagine your situation being possible in toronto. Hey, maybe you should move....
:Juice23 Are there really 22 other Juices here? Or is 23 a particular type of Juice - like 7-up or V-8?
Your situation is unusual - perhaps we should introduce you to the poster above! Its hard to find partners anywhere, in particular for women - and yes, pro/am can be very exclusive due to the high cost factor. We are trying to start a pro/AM association - representing the Am bit - in part to generate a forum to discuss fee structures. Also, I hope that as this danceform becomes better recognized and gains a higher status at competitions, it will be in the professional's interest to attract top competitive amateurs - and this will be easiest if they are both excellent dancers and also keep their fees in check. Thus, I think that a top pro/AM should 'earn' a lower fee level because of their potential to gain attention during competitions and by attracting more students to the pro.
I note also what you said about competing at pro/am and the difficulty of finding good competitions. The Miami events have high national and international participation but I suppose this may be a bit far for you. One of the problems with Pro/Am is the infinite number of levels which virtually ensure that at the higher levels you will be dancing alone. From what I have seen many of these are nonsensical levels created so that one pro can partner lots of Ams at the same comp. However, most competitions now also have multidance events with just a few (e.g. bronze, silver, open) levels or, as you mention, schollarship ones in which you really can get a good competition.
I realize that this does not help you much - but at least some of us are thinking about these issues. Good luck finding a partner! Don't give up the dancing - you have only a few years until you will, I presume, be able to move to a more fruitful area. ee
Hi EliseS! Back on topic, I think something representing the ams in pro/am would be great. Prices need to be defined in the same way for everyone. I don't necessarily mean the same prices, but the pro needs to give everything up front, which I know many don't do. Many are very vague to convince the students to compete. Then, when its time to pay, there are often more fees than originally presented.
With any pro/am comp- even Miami which I would love to do- the problem for me is the costs. But believe me I'm very dedicated and will not give up on finding a partner. I drive 26 miles just to get to my studio, and I never miss a lesson, practice, work out, or yoga session no matter what (even like yesteday when I had bruised my back and scraped my wrist in a fall earlier in the day).
oh and Juice23 is only the best tasting in the world! haha I graduate in a 1 1/2 years and am planning to go to a top private university in the MA or NY where I will be able to continue dancing and find a partner!