Ballroom Dance > A pro because you do it for a living

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by DanceMentor, Apr 27, 2017.

  1. DanceMentor

    DanceMentor Administrator

    It seems to me that often the point is made that someone is a professional dancer because it is their primary source of income. And as a result a person is supposed to treat this person with a different sort of Dignity & Respect.

    For me this question doesn't really enter my mind. If I see someone teaching at the studio or competing as a professional, I grant them respect and dignity because of their exemplary dancing and the way they carry themselves on and off the floor.

    In this crazy world there are all different ways that people reach for the top, or simply teach dancing. There are some professionals who were well funded from the time they were very young and continue to be funded well now. They are professionals who started from nothing and they became a great dancer through sheer force of will and hard work. They are professionals who have drug problems and relationship problems and have fallen short. There are people who found jobs in the dance industry and are teachers but also make money another way is even though it's in dancing. There are teachers who are full of passion for dancing and teachers who have lost that passion but continue to teach.

    But for me, at the end of the day it is about the exemplary dancing, strong character and commitment, development of good teaching methods, and inspiration that people feel when they are around the teacher.

    You are not granted pro status just because you do it for a living. You earn it. Thoughts?
  2. eaglemike

    eaglemike New Member

    Someone I studied under years ago said "a true professional acts like one." This sums it up to me.
    The first sentence of your last paragraph......
    I've studied with several that had that sort of character, some that were close, and some that just wore the robes......
  3. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    I think we tend to get hung up with the word professional because we confuse different meanings..

    "Being a (career) professional" is not the same as having a personality trait of "acting professionally". I am definitely a professional coach, dancer, competitor, have been for almost 30 years now... no matter if people think I act unprofessionally sometimes. One is a noun. One is a verb. Not the same.

    Just like being an award winning "champion" is not the same thing as the verb champion as in "advocate" or "patron (of the arts)".

    Multiple meanings lead to confusion when people try to assign their personally favorite meanings to inappropriate situations.
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2017
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  4. IngaSv

    IngaSv Member

    I think "professional" just refers to "professing" to have the requisite skill in the field/being qualified in the field. This is (for me at least) in contrast to someone who is an amateur/performs the activity as a pastime or hobby and does not have the requisite qualifications or skill attainment. Of course, it's possible to have highly skilled amateurs but they cannot be called professional if they do not have the requisite qualifications in the field. So if there's an amateur teaching students, they are not necessarily professional by virtue of teaching. It also doesn't really have anything to do with "acting professionally" in my opinion.
    Larinda McRaven likes this.
  5. eaglemike

    eaglemike New Member

    I disagree with this. "Professing" to have the requisite skill???
    So a "professional" shows up to take exams, get certified - and thinks it's ok for waltz to be danced to a 4/4 song..... No, I'm not making this up, it really happened. This person was already teaching. IMHO this person is in no way ready to be described as a "professional." The examiner thought so too..... This is one of the worst examples I've seen, but I've seen more......
    Is it "professional" for an instructor to be late 90 percent of the time? No show to lessons and then answer the phone from the airport saying "I forgot." Call to cancel lesson 20 minutes after they were supposed to be at the studio, wanting to reschedule for later in the day? I would suggest this behavior is "unprofessional."
  6. Joe

    Joe Well-Known Member

    They do? :confused::eek:
  7. s2k

    s2k Well-Known Member

    Fill these blanks with words that relate to any occupation, for example: doctors, teachers, EMTs, lawyers, professors, managers, miners, physical therapists, bank tellers, engineeers, etc. Would we say: "You are not granted pro status just because you do it for a living. You earn it" in regard to those professions?
    scullystwin42 likes this.
  8. DanceMentor

    DanceMentor Administrator

    I think with any profession, just because they are getting paid to do and hold a piece of paper, has little guarantee that the person should be given status. Maybe in dancing there are fewer requirements than some of the professions.
  9. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    :hungry: :snaphappy: are you in my snapchat :pomp: :wacky:
  10. Mengu

    Mengu Well-Known Member

    I don't believe being a professional needs to be any of those things. It is a choice. You choose to become a professional, or you don't. What you're listing there, can contribute to determine whether you will make it as a professional in the competitive dance world, but none of it is required to become one, as there are many niches of teaching dance that you can find. There isn't "one right way" to make a living as a dance teacher. If you setup a business to strictly teach celebrity wedding couples, and have a fantastic advertisement/business plan, connections, and some luck, you can have a hugely successful business as a dance teacher, focusing on production value of a dance number, over quality of dance.

    I do however agree that the professional title itself can be confusing when examined by itself because it can have multiple meanings, and be defined differently in different fields or organizations. I recently read this article about being a hobbyist, amateur, or professional in the art world (my other hobby). They are not universal definitions, but I'd like to think many of those concepts apply to dance, and are the closest definitions to how I think about those three terms. The gist of it is you choose to be a hobbyist (our equivalent of social dancer or PASD), amateur, or professional, though the article is more about the implications of that choice. Here is the link:
    Larinda McRaven likes this.
  11. IngaSv

    IngaSv Member

    I was just talking about the origin of the word "professional". Comes from the word "profess".

    Like Larinda McRaven, I still think that there are different meanings of the word "professional", which can be used as a noun or an adjective. One can behave in an unprofessional way but it doesn't mean they are not a professional dancer or coach.

    Not to stir up an argument, but your first example actually agrees with what was said (someone who is not yet certified but is already teaching is not a professional).
  12. Loki

    Loki Well-Known Member

    You toe-may-toe, I say toe-mah-toe.
    Purr likes this.
  13. carlosyabrudy

    carlosyabrudy Member

    I am a huge advocate of use of correct terms and language when it comes to people's professions and abilities...

    I am new to the dance world but nevertheless it doesn't make a difference. Here are my thoughts
    Someone who is a professional at anything means they do it for a living.

    Someone who dances and competes at PROFESSIONAL LEVEL are simply dancing at a certain level expected of someone who dances for a living

    There are many EXPERTS who are GREAT at what they do but these are not professionals.

    From my point of view, respect should be given to all humans no matter what amount of dance ability and an open attitude should be kept whether you are in the presence of greatness or not. Recognition should be given but not in the form of acceptance of bad attitude from another unless it is agreed upon e.g. Katusha Demidova shouting at you in a lesson because it is the style of teaching you like....

    One has to remember that out of the dance hall, one reverts to being just a regular human being.
    IndyLady likes this.
  14. Joe

    Joe Well-Known Member

    Let's call the whole thing off.
    Sania and j_alexandra like this.
  15. eaglemike

    eaglemike New Member

    ummm, no. The example I gave (the person wanting to be certified) was someone that "professes" to be a "professional." This would align with your definition. In your first post, you made no mention of a need for certification to be considered a professional.
    The simplest definition - do they take money for services? Yes? Then they are professional...... :)
  16. Bailamosdance

    Bailamosdance Well-Known Member

    In our dancesport world, professional or amateur is simply a competitive track. It does not imply quality nor is it about income. This definition was created almost 10 years ago, btw.
    middy, tangotime, IndyLady and 2 others like this.
  17. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    See Bailamosdance's post--the problem with that in dance is quality is disconnected from the term. There are plenty of amateurs who are better dancers than many professionals. There's no standard of ability to be a professional dancer. It's really just what box you check on the entry form (there are even amateurs who earn money dancing and teaching, so that's not always a helpful cutoff.)
    IndyLady, Sania, IngaSv and 2 others like this.
  18. IngaSv

    IngaSv Member

    I mentioned the "requisite qualifications", which refers to certification or any other form of formal attestation.

  19. Loki

    Loki Well-Known Member

    I put in a new kitchen faucet for my neighbor. She gave me $20. I am, by the above definition, a professional plumber.
    middy, Purr, Joe and 2 others like this.
  20. eaglemike

    eaglemike New Member

    Loki, by some viewpoints, you certainly are! May your life always be leak free! :)

    I think we all have a slightly (to very) different view of what defines a "professional" in the dance community. I (just my opinion) don't completely accept someone that has attained certification, or a certain level of competition as "completely professional." To me, it additionally is something earned from one's customers, by one's ethic.
    I've also seen the term ""guru" thrown around at times. I've even seen a few websites where people describe themselves as "guru." To me, it's something that is bestowed by others, not oneself.
    I've personal experience with some in the dance community that I would gladly agree are "professional" - in every way! Others might have competed at very high levels, might have certifications, etc - to others, this is enough, even though some of their actions are frequently not professional. I have respect for their abilities, but to me, they are not truly professional.
    Bottom line, I would agree with the OP in this thread......

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