Pro Am Students - Would you dance Am/Am or Pro/Am?

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by toothlesstiger, Jul 24, 2012.

  1. toothlesstiger

    toothlesstiger Well-Known Member

    I have a question for all the pro-am ladies in particular. If there were enough men dancing to go around, with an equal skill distribution as the ladies, would you still prefer to dance pro-am? What I think I am hearing here is that in general, you would still prefer pro-am.
  2. JudeMorrigan

    JudeMorrigan Well-Known Member

    I'm not one of the ladies, but I think a lot of that just depends on what you're used to. In my experience, individual studios tend to be pretty strongly slanted towards one or the other. You'd be surprised at just how much grief at get at my studio in Huntsville about about the pro-am I do, even from instructors. On the other hand, while my Nashville studio is big enough to it does cater to both, it's one of the top pro-am studios in the nation, so the general sense is that of *course* I dance pro-am. In short, I think there'll be a certain amount of selection-bias in the answers you get to your question.
  3. latingal

    latingal Moderator Staff Member

    toothlesstiger, if I had to choose?

    I guess I'd have to go with pro-am if I could afford it. Why? The opportunity to improve my dancing is perhaps greater and faster in pro-am. And given my age and my desire to compete and dance at a high level, I gotta' get it done fast.... *grin* If this was not a factor, it'd definitely take more thought to make the choice!

    However, I am one of the lucky ones, I don't have to choose. I have both pro-am and am-am partnerships. And each has pros and cons. With my am partner I feel I actually get more practice at partnership work, I also feel I dance much freer and bring more of myself to my dancing. I also enjoy exploring the technique and bringing our unique combination of creativity with my am partner. And, in my am partnership I know my partner is there dancing with me because of his desire to dance with me - not that it's his job.
    SwayWithMe likes this.
  4. JudeMorrigan

    JudeMorrigan Well-Known Member

    Oh, and to actually answer the question as a pro-am dancer, albeit one of the wrong gender, while dancing pro-am has been terribly good for me, I don't consider it a long-term solution. So much so that I'm seriously considering putting my house on the market next spring so I'd at least have the option to move to a city with a larger dance community, enhancing the likelihood of my finding a genuinely good match of an amateur partner.

    The issue is largely financial. I could do far more dancing and get in far more partnered practice time in with a dedicated amateur partner.
  5. canismajor41

    canismajor41 Active Member

    My thoughts exactly.
  6. Yana

    Yana Member

    I've done both and I'd stick with Pro/Am. Just like Latingal said, "The opportunity to improve my dancing is perhaps greater and faster in pro-am".
  7. 3wishes

    3wishes Well-Known Member

    If I had my choice, I would do both.
  8. toothlesstiger

    toothlesstiger Well-Known Member

    Thanks for your answers. I was under what was obviously a mistaken assumption that availability of am-am partners was the primary driving factor.

    However, i have to ask, how does competing pro-am make you improve faster as compared to taking the same number of lessons with a pro, but competing am-am? The latter is pretty much how DW and I do things.
  9. NonieS

    NonieS Well-Known Member

    I have been enjoying pro-am immensely for the moment, and have been benefitting tremendously, but it is just a stepping stone for my long term goals.

    If I had significantly more money and different goals, then I might not feel that way. I don't have any issues with the pro-am (except for the price... holy moly it really does have at it with your finances and shows no mercy). Pro-am is way more fun than I had expected, and I have found it easier in some ways than having an "actual" partner. But with my bank account being as sad as it already is and my goals being what they are, I see no sense in doing more pro-am comps than the ones I have already spent the year budgeting for...
  10. canismajor41

    canismajor41 Active Member

    There are four reasons I can think of:

    1. in am/am lessons, it is common to have most of the instruction spent on the lead.
    2. a good instructor can detect and correct much more (and much more quickly) by dancing with you than observing you dancing with someone else.
    3. dancing with someone more advanced than yourself (regardless of whether or not they are an instructor) helps you to better understand proper body mechanics, movement, and energy just through proximity alone.
    4. you don't develop bad habits that need to be corrected.
  11. NonieS

    NonieS Well-Known Member

    I have found that certain things are improving at a rate I could never accomplish if I had a partner at this time. Every lesson is focused on me, and all my practices are solo... so even more focus on my individual improvement as a dancer. Obviously, my teacher is going to be making way less mistakes than a partner of my skill level, so I have an opportunity to explore difficult choreography and steps that I would otherwise not get to do. EX: counter-balance spins... my teacher already knows his job, so it didn't take long for me to figure out how to do mine.

    Of course, there are things that are suffering. Perhaps this would be different if I had more money and took more lessons, but I can only speak from my experience. I only take a few lessons a week since that is all I can afford. The rest of the time is just me practicing alone. I don't really get to practice a lot of the things that require a partner (any counter balance actions, dips, and just partnering in general). I will get some correction on a counter balance spin, but then not get to practice it until my next lesson when we might work on something else... so it could be weeks before I get to apply what I learned to my dancing with my teacher. I am constantly discovering bad habits that I have picked up since all of my practice is spent alone... and then I have to un-learn them. It is frustrating, but on the whole, there is lots that is improving and making me better equipped to handle a more experienced partner when I get one.

    *I should note that I only started doing smooth in September, but do Open... so really, any dude I would dance with at my level will be more experienced in smooth... I just wanted to clarify so that I didn't sound like a ****hole saying "oh well I am totes gonna get a better partner than me"... that's not what I meant haha.*
  12. NonieS

    NonieS Well-Known Member

    :( And I still kinda sound like a ****. It is hard to say this in writing when I cannot use tone of voice. Basically I would like an am champ smooth guy... most champ smooth guys have been doing smooth longer than me, ergo are more experienced.

    That is what I wanted to edit my post to but that 2 minute rule definitely wasn't having it.
  13. canismajor41

    canismajor41 Active Member

    Practing alone is another I would add to my list. I would guess that pro/am students practice alone more than am/am students. For me, I am able to put much more into muscle memory when practicing alone (with the exception of some things, like partnering, counter-balancing, etc. as Nonies mentioned) than I am when practicing with a partner.
  14. JudeMorrigan

    JudeMorrigan Well-Known Member

    1. I would welcome the input of other people in am-am couples, but while I've seen that to be true in beginning partnerships, it doesn't seem to be a truly long-term trend to me. And you do get cases where the male am is flat-out more experienced than the female am, and the situation is reversed. (That's actually the situation I'm in now with the new gal I'm working with. That's no particular credit to me (I don't want to sound like a jerk either ;)). I've been doing this a whole lot longer than she has.)

    2. In fairness, there's no reason an instructor can't take ams into frame during their lessons. Sure, it's less overall time, but even when I'm in a lesson with a male instructor, I expect to do at least a little bit of dancing with him.

    3. Totally true, ime.

    4. Not really true, ime.

    5. (Solo practice) I find both to be helpful and try to maintain a balance, personally.
  15. canismajor41

    canismajor41 Active Member

    re: developing bad habits, because competing pro/am students normally have lessons at least once a week, any application taken from a lesson that was put to practice and brought back the following week is quickly corrected. When I danced am/am, each of us had less time with the instructor individually and lessons were less frequent (not saying this is true for all, just something I personally noticed) so there were longer periods between practicing a new skill incorrectly and being corrected.
  16. scullystwin42

    scullystwin42 Active Member

    I'd do both am/am and pro/am, if I could. If I had to choose, though...I think I'd do am/am... It goes back to what I said in the other thread - I'd feel like a "real" ballroom dancer. NOT that anyone who does pro/am is not a real ballroom dancer, of course, as evidenced by all the fab ladies and gents here. Obviously I am just not right in the head, HA :)

    And the cost is definitely a factor, DEFINITELY, but as you move up, I imagine the am/am costs move up as well...

    You definitely get more attention when it's just you and your pro - I used to supplement my am/am lessons with lessons just between me and a female pro.
  17. JudeMorrigan

    JudeMorrigan Well-Known Member

    Well, I think lesson frequency is going to vary person to person and couple to couple, and I don't know that it's generally going to be true that pro-ams take lessons more frequently than am-ams. If anything, with costs being split, it may be easier for many people to take a larger amount of lesson time in absolute terms. Of course, I agree that you ARE splitting your lesson time in those cases. Wanting more 1-on-1 lesson time is exactly what lead me down the path of competing in pro-am myself.
  18. tanya_the_dancer

    tanya_the_dancer Well-Known Member

    This idea is so much in the fantasy realm for me, that I can't even decide what I would prefer. An am guy advanced enough that he'd ask me if he and I can work on gold smooth and open standard together, with intention of competing (and no non-dance intentions)? I'd give it a try. But I am not interested in asking a significantly less experienced guy and waiting for him to improve.
  19. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    I'd only do Am if I were at a point I could dance with someone on a par with my pros. If I want to deal with a green bean, I'll show my horse, where I have twenty-odd years of experience and am finally at the start of a point where I can be trusted, a bit, with a noob and might not ruin them. I can sort of tolerate an animal's learning curve, but I don't have the patience for a human's. If I were dancing Open, it might be different, but I don't want to spend my time in bronze slogging along with TWO people's learning hangups to deal with. My own are plenty.
  20. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    i'd dance am am in addition to pro/am if I had the additional funds and he was open to working with my pro...currently additional funds are not available

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