Ballroom Dance > Picking a Pro for pro/am

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by billman, Jul 6, 2013.

  1. billman

    billman Active Member

    I talked to my coach last night about doing some pro/am comps next year. He thought that would be a great idea. Now I must chose a partner. His wife is amazing on the dance floor, but is currently expecting their first child in November. She is in her mid 30s and has competed many times. She is also about 5' 9" tall. I am almost 6'1". So we would be a great fit for Smooth... but she is thinking about taking a year off once the baby is born. (A great idea in my opinion!) My other option is a younger instructor (20ish). She is a tiny little girl, just a little over 5' tall. She has no experience in competition but is a great teacher and a great dancer.
    I am over 50 years old and with the difference in height, I am afraid we would not look "right" dancing Smooth together. Any suggestions?
  2. bia

    bia Well-Known Member

    I only dance am-am, so this is hypothetical and deserving of a grain of salt, but I would personally be very hesitant to dance pro-am with a pro without competition experience. I see the benefit of pro-am in the quality and experience of the partner, and I think you would get less out of it without that. On the other hand, if you think that her dancing is still good enough that it would be helpful for your own to dance with her, and her rates take into account the fact that you're the means of her getting important training (i.e., comp experience), it could be worthwhile, at least temporarily. I wouldn't worry about the age difference, especially since this is pro-am; the height difference is less than optimal, but adjustment is possible. I'd take the height into account only to the degree that that adjustment takes away from the benefits of dancing with a more skilled partner. If you think her inexperience and her height take enough away from your potential improvement to make it not worth the time and money, better to wait for the older pro or find someone at a different studio. If you think you'll still be getting more improvement than you otherwise would, worth going for.
  3. dbk

    dbk Well-Known Member

    Are those your only two options? Because if they are, you really only have one option - the younger woman.

    That said, if you can find anyone more experienced, that might be better. A 12" height disparity is okay in Smooth - absolutely fine at lower levels - but not ideal. I would also worry about competing with a pro who has no competitive experience... why not just dance Am/Am?! It's usually easy for leaders to find a partner. I guess it's not a huge deal at a beginner level, but still. I would ask for a discounted rate, since you're helping to train her.
  4. Wannabee

    Wannabee Well-Known Member

    I'm jealous that you have options...sigh.

    But beyond that, I think Bia makes some great points. I wouldn't worry too much about the age difference. I've seen many pro-am couples with a large age difference on the floor. Didn't seem to matter much. The height may be more of a challenge if the adjustments require extra wear and tear on either of you. I think the main point here is the younger pro's lack of experience. If you are willing to help her grow her own instructor skills by getting the pro half of pro-am comp experience, I see no reason not to at least start here and try it out, especially given that the other pro may not be available for a year or so. If it is not what you expected for whatever reason, you can always switch to the older pro when she returns.
  5. billman

    billman Active Member

    I will continue to dance am/am as well. There is only 1 other lady instructor at the studio and she specializes in A Tango and Latin. (Not really my favorites... I am a Smooth kind of guy! lol) Her Smooth is "ok", but not what I would call great. As far as another pro from another studio... the nearest place would be Denver, over 200 miles away. There is a chance that the older pro lady could compete, but she already has 1 am she dances with at a lower level. He would have first choice with her.
  6. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    at a lower age level? a lower skill level?...regardless, that would imply no conflict....what are your reasons for wanting to compete?
  7. Mr 4 styles

    Mr 4 styles Well-Known Member

    do latin!!

    or dance with Harmony
  8. billman

    billman Active Member

    The other fellow is a lower skill level, higher age level. The conflict would be that she might only have time for only 1 Am. ( I can understand that! A new baby will keep her busy!! ) I have only danced am/am in the past and would like to give pro/am a try.

    That would be a long commute! lol
  9. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    I cannot fathom a pro only having time for one...that would blow my mind unless he was one of those "have to dance every heat imaginable" types of people general a comp becomes more worthwhile for a pro is they ARE dancing with more than one student ...not to mention that it is then, frequently but not always, cheaper for the students.
  10. dbk

    dbk Well-Known Member

    I really think you need to rule out the older pro for now. She might think she'll have time for it, but it will probably be hard to make a schedule that works - let alone keep it.

    You could, however, ask her for advice about your two other options. And you can also talk to her about switching over to her after she has more time (i.e. in a year or two). It's not like you're stuck with the first pro you pick.

    Fasc: the older pro he is talking about is having a baby... that's why her time commitment is questionable... :)
  11. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    I read it that he was referring to the pro further away who already had another student...and it was because of that...which made no sense to me
    dbk likes this.
  12. FancyFeet

    FancyFeet Well-Known Member

    OP: You also seem to have the option of making pro/am the goal of the year after next, with the pro you like... I get that this might not fit with your plan, but something to consider.

    Depending on the deal you work out, the younger instructor might also work. Not sure how things are judged in your neck of the woods, but in mine, pro-am couples are dinged for a mismatch in age/height. It's pro/am... less than perfect age/height matches are common.
  13. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    which kind of goes to my question regarding exactly what the goal is
  14. billman

    billman Active Member

    Ok, to clear things up a bit... The older pro lady at my studio has 1 other Am she competes with. (it is a very small town). There is no option of going to another studio (as stated 200 miles is a looooong commute! lol) I am now thinking that staying Am/Am is the best choice for now. As for my goal... I really was considering trying some pro/am to increase my skill level and to maybe someday to try scholarship. I feel that dancing these different events would help to "round out" my dancing as an Am.
  15. Mr 4 styles

    Mr 4 styles Well-Known Member

    worth every mile per gallon my friend
  16. anntennis

    anntennis Active Member

    Why concentrate on 2 female teachers in your studio only?

    If you serious about Pro/Am, why not to check Dance Sport organization competitions that you are considering to enter, find female Pro/Am instructors with good or acceptable results in the drivable distance from where you live, and contact them.

    That what I would do if I am serious about competing or even good quality showcases as well.

    Provided you live in the state that has dance options in the drivable distance acceptable to you.
  17. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    Some teachers will even fly early to a competition, and have lessons with you there. I had a student that worked on Bill Marshalls video crew. We had lessons at night when the ballroom was mostly empty. I actually have no idea where he really lived.
  18. Mr 4 styles

    Mr 4 styles Well-Known Member

    i would travel anywhere in the continental usa for the right pro

    but im my own boss so...
    debmc likes this.
  19. dbk

    dbk Well-Known Member

    I don't think competing pro/am is going to help you as much as dancing with your pro will help. If your main goal is increasing your skill, you can take lessons where you just dance with your pro (not your am partner). Sure, it's nice to have competition as motivation, but you can still benefit without it! And you can use am/am competitions as your motivation instead.
  20. Mr 4 styles

    Mr 4 styles Well-Known Member

    agree with dbk up to a point

    dancing pro am lets you operate at a faster speed on game day ( in smooth and standard especially) IMO

    after dancing pro am at millennium i found my am am smooth at gumbo to be much more comfortable the game seemed slower if you get my drift

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