Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by dgarstang, Jan 28, 2012.
Then, if it's not a good value to you, why do you go?
Fair question. The answer is that I no longer go to group classes unless they are taught by my private instructor. I will start to go to some Bronze group classes, however, for certain things that are not my specialty (e.g. Tango) where I do want to get better adn do better in competitions, but because it is fun and a nice change of pace. My main focus is Country & Western and, other than my private teacher, I find I could teach the group classes better than the other instructors because I LIVE this music and learned it originally dancing in honky tonks and big dance clubs in Texas and Oklahoma (including where Garth Brooks got his start in Stillwater, OK), not from a textbook.
I WANT to get some benefit from more group classes in order to help justify the higher cost of privates with AM, so I remain open minded and hopeful. Maybe the Bronze classes will be a better fit for me.
My own take on a situation like yours (YMMV):
Franchise studios are a good value iff you want a broad ballroom dance education, and group classes and dance socials are things you want to do.
Your current private instructor may make the cost worthwhile to you, however, in general terms, if your dance interests are more focused, if you are primarily interested in competing, or you only like to take private lessons, I think you get more for your money at a place that allows you to choose your classes, lessons, and parties ala carte, rather than in a big package deal.
Thank you for that. I am starting to believe that now. I will, however, continue to give AM a chance, but may look elsewhere for some specific, focused things like you suggest.
Since posting this reply to toothlesstiger, boy have my etyes opened a LOT. Admittedly, my primary focus is Country & Western, but I am also doing other non-C&W dances as well simply to provide me with more opportunities to "Compete" in the AM events. I just competed in a match "competition" between several AM studios in my local area. WHAT A JOKE!!! There were actually dances in which all participants received 1st place ribbons. In my case, I received 5 out of the 8 dances I did, even though one was a two step with another instructor (not my regular) who totally floded like a bad poker hand when I tried to execute a weave (not in the AM syllabus) RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE JUDGE! Here's the real kicker...I STILL WAS AWARDED A BLUE RIBBON! The ONLY blue ribbon I thought I deserved was for my twos tep with my regular dance teacher, in which we knocked it out of the park, but the other three pairs ALSO WON BLUE RIBBONS! To me, this is really pathetic! While I am happy with the quality of instruction I have received from my AM gal, the sad reality is I am goping to have to go somewhere else to compete in "real" dance competitions. Sadly, my AM pro is prohibited from doing any non-AM comps, even if she has no other AM obligations.
It appears that Arthur Murray, while perhaps a good place to START dancing, is truly nothing more than a money-making venture that uses dance as its hook into your pocketbook. I wish I could talk my teacher into leaving, but she thinks the place is the cats meow. It's time for me to leave the bush leagues...and I am sad about it.
If you want to compete for real, then probably AM is not the place for you. As far as I can tell from all I've heard, AM is about providing an overall experience, and losing in a comp does not contribute to the experience they want to create. Some people really love that sheltered garden, and some want something different.
Just as an fyi, the plethora of blue ribbons were likely a byproduct of students being in different age and gender divisions. Even though those other couples were on the floor with you, they were presumably considered to be in separate events.
I'm personally not a big fan of uncontested events either, and give you kudos for wanted to seek out competitions were you'll have more competition, but they're not especially remarkable. As a young-ish lead, when I do pro-am, it's not especially remarkable for me to need to be rolled in with the ladies in my single dance events to avoid having them be uncontested. That's true even with my attending fair-sized comps.
Just a slight word of caution on that - AM isn't the only place looking to provide the overall experience. You will find that at a lot of the smaller comps, and pretty much any studio comp. There is a very large contingent of dancers who love that environment, because their idea of "competition" really has nothing to do with competition and everything to do with the opportunity to dress up, wear rhinestones, and show off on the floor a little.
You'll also find a lot of first places even at some larger comps - because not everyone is contested. It isn't unique to the studio system, it's a fact of competition. If you want real no-kidding competition, train at an independent studio and go to the large comps that attract the large regional or national crowds.
How about a progress report from Dgarstang, the originator of this thread. How is your journey coming along?
I have read the first few pages of this monster thread, which seems to have metamophosed into something completely different. To revert to the original subject - far too many teachers teach figures without touching on the subject of indicating to your partner what you intend to do next. I would advise Dgarstang to go to the local library and see if they have "The Meaning of Tango" by Christine Denniston. It is not worth actually buying it unless you intend to take up Argentine tango, but pages 28-53 go into great detail on the techniques of leading and following.
lots of times, original posters move on and a new poster, instead of starting a new thread (bless them) picks an existing one from which to ask their own question....since we more than exhausted doug's question and he hasn't been around in ages, I see no problem with addressing this poster's issue here
Thank you for your insight...this actually serves to confirm my thinking. Now, I would like to know how it is possible for one judge to view multiple couples over a 90-120 second period and be able to already have 1st, 2nd and 3rd place ribbons in hand BEFORE the dance ends? Is there any "real" judging going on here?
That I can't tell you. In my experience, both at studio comps waaay back in the day (by my standards at least) and at larger competitions, you'll typically have awards presentations interspersed with the dancing. These awards ceremonies are for the previous block of dancing (every couple of hours at most, but not all, comps), and there's plenty of time for the scores to be tallied.
That said, for a single judge, I have no problem at all imagining them taking far less than 90-120 seconds to make up their minds about how to place a set of couples on the floor. Tallying marks from multiple judges aside, I don't think there's any inherent reason one couldn't give out awards for a dance immediately upon finishing it . It just wouldn't be terribly efficient.
And yes, for all uncontested heats, there is real judging. Technically, there's real judging for the uncontested heats as well and you'll hear stories of cases where someone received a 2nd place in an uncontested heat. (ie, with no 1st place being awarded) I've never seen that actually happen myself, and I feel pretty comfortable suggesting that it's exceedingly rare.
This is all, of course, in my own experience, ymmv, and that jazz.
(An aside: wow that post of mine you replied to was poorly composed. I really did a terrible job of writing that.)
depends on the heat, but yes, judges can see things pretty rapidly....not that they always are able to , but often...
as to uncontested dancing..if you dance off-time you can get a second, even uncontested...I have seen it
A judge at a collegiate comp may have barely a second or two to glance at each couple when having to recall 48 couples from a first round of 90 couples.
I've seen it happen plenty of times. There were two or three of them in the last comp I was in.
Wow. I thought to place less than first in an uncontested heat, you had to be a complete clown. Interesting.
Reading these replies, it struck me that I may have missed this happening on occassion in the past. It's entirely possible, I obviously pay closest attention to my own results (which are, in this sense, only a single data point), and single dance award presentations tend to be rather chaotic. So I figured I'd do some spot checking. To try to look at a range of competition, I scrolled through the results for Emerald, HoA and the Savannah Dance Classic. This was NOT exhaustive, but after looking things over, I have to back off my previous statement ... slightly.
In HoA, I was able to find one gent who received two second place results in uncontested heats. I couldn't find anyone at SDC who received a second place result in an event, but I did find a handful who received individual second place marks from a single judge in an event. In most cases, it was one particular judge who gave out the second place marks. I didn't find anything noteworthy at Emerald, but it's no surprise that my spot-checking of that competition was the spottiest. That was a whole lot of results to try and look through.
So I'm still going to suggest that it's quite uncommon for people in uncontested heats to receive less than a first place mark, but it clearly is going to depend somewhat on the judging panel. That actually makes sense with cornutt's comment. The two studio comps I did "back in the day" were both comps that he does. I actually did paid pretty close attention to other people's results there given how pissy I was when I learned about the whole uncontested heat phenomenon. Despite my instructor's insistence that sometimes, no first place was awarded in these events, I didn't see it happen. But these competions didn't have rotating judging panels. It seems entirely possible that the ones I went to had more tolerant judges than the last one he went to.
Not necessarily.. I remember ( as it isnt frequent ) giving a 2nd place to a solo " demo".. it didnt reach an acceptable standard in my view, of the level in which it was entered.. and, one other judge on the panel, did similar .
LOL! Yeah, there were a couple people at FS who came back from their first comp with several first places. I was duly impressed until I happened to look at the heat lists and results on the comp site. They only took firsts in uncontested heats. IIRC, they placed no better than 4th in heats with ~6 couples and usually placed second in heats with 2 couples. Of course, they never mentioned that.
However, they *did* compete, which is something I have never done, so I give them kudos, no matter how they placed.
Separate names with a comma.