Ballroom Dance > Question to other pro/am ladies

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by liz, Nov 15, 2009.

  1. liz

    liz New Member

    I was wondering what is the qualities that you look for in a pro? I know that there can't be a perfect situation, but what is a must in a pro? This is for those who compete...Also, what would be a deal breaker and would make you walk away?

    NURDRMS Well-Known Member

    What do I look for in a pro? Someone I enjoy being around, since I take several lessons/week. Someone who is willing to put as much effort into our partnership as I am (yes, I realize I'm using the term 'partnership' loosely, but it is what it is). Someone who knows their stuff. Someone whose goals for me match mine. Someone who is honest.
  3. latingal

    latingal Moderator Staff Member

    Wow, your question made me realize how much I actually do ask for in my pro-am teachers! For a pro that I am going to compete with, here's the list:

    - skilled and proven dancer on the comp floor
    - possesses in depth knowledge of the desired dance style
    - good communication and teaching skills
    - passion to continue learning about dancing and how to teach dancing effectively
    - delights in helping students fulfill their potential
    - good work ethic in his role both in teaching and dancing on the comp floor
    - integrity, patience, thoughtfulness, humor and a perceptive nature

    As for deal breakers?

    - a teacher who is in it for the paycheck only
    - unprofessional behavior
    - lack of skill in the chosen dance style (if being done for serious competitive purposes)
    - teacher who does not include positive feedback in training their students
  4. dancelvr

    dancelvr Well-Known Member

    I am probably not the best person to answer your question, as I didn't have much of a choice locally. There was a total of one qualified professional male pro in my community. For anyone else, it would mean a major commute for lessons. Ugh. However, as I watch other pros and their students at competitions (how they interact, dance together, speak to each other), I can see that I HIT THE JACKPOT with my local pro. His personality, demeanor, skill level, and teaching method suit me to a "T". Wouldn't trade him for gold.

    Important qualities in a pro for me.....respectful, sense of humor, direct, observant, patient (yet doesn't let me get away with anything), and someone who knows when to push and when to back off a bit.

    Deal-breakers - abusive, arrogant, dismissive....anything which directs negative energy toward me. I don't care how good he might be (or thinks he is)....he's not worth it. (IMHO)
  5. AMeader

    AMeader New Member

    Height! I'm 5'10", and need a pro tall enough to partner me effectively.

    Other than that, I agree with the other ladies so far. Has to be a personality match, driven, good coaching ability, strong work ethic, good sense of humor.
  6. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member


    good work ethic
    excellent mastery of what I seek to learn or a willingness to find a coach who does and be part of getting there

    deal breaker;
    personal attacks
  7. dlgodud

    dlgodud Active Member

    Very good advice ladies!!!!!
  8. Iolane

    Iolane New Member

    Of course they need to be competent in the style of dance I'm interested in, and have experience competing. I also prefer a pro on the shorter side as I'm only 5'1". But more than the quality of their teaching and dance (which I consider a sort of given) I have to have a good time with my pro.

    Right now, my pro and I get along so well, we're constantly laughing and we don't take ourselves too seriously (think laying on the studio floor having a giggling fit.) That's not to say that we both don't take dance seriously, we do, but I see other competitors dancing with their pros and they just don't look like they're having a good time (no one is smiling or laughing), it's all so serious, and I know that would not be a good fit for me.
  9. ChaChaMama

    ChaChaMama Well-Known Member

    LG, this is a GREAT list. In the abstract, I share your values.

    In the concrete, I actually did not look for a pro with whom to do pro-am. I wasn't AT ALL sure that I wanted to do pro-am. (I already do am with my spouse.) One time when watching a USA Dance comp, however, I remarked to myself that there were a 2-3 male dancers there whom I would be far more interested in dancing with than anyone who was currently a pro. The energy, the opportunity to work with an up-and-coming dancer who is still actively working on his own dancing and visibly improving--that was very exciting to me. I made a mental note.

    My #1 choice went pro in December 2007...and let me know via DF private messages! After going through the guilt thing (What is my current teacher going to think? Will she be hurt that I never expressed interest in doing pro-am w/her spouse?), I decided life is too short and that I owed it to myself to give it a try. Started lessons in late March 2008. Did first pro-am comp in late August 2008. I have now done a total of five pro-am comps and am so glad I decided to try it. :) So that's my story.
  10. TinyDancer109

    TinyDancer109 Well-Known Member

    Thanks for sharing everyone! This is a great thread...

    I wouldn't be able to tell you what i LOOK for in a pro, because my pro was just "handed" to me when i walked into a ballroom studio for the first time and said "I want to learn ballroom, and I might want to compete."

    And I really think the stars were aligned that day because they picked the perfect pro for me!

    The "Pros of my Pro" ;-):
    -Very compatible personality-wise (we are both kind of goofy)
    -Excellent in conveying abstract ideas to physical meaning.
    -Perfectly fine with allowing me to physically feel his muscles to know how mine should be working (lol) - i have heard of some teachers who will not do this, but at the risk of sounding sleazy, it really helps my learning process
    -He challenges me
    -He is CONSTANTLY in thought/considering what is best for my dance (or financial - which helps!) future.. nothing but my best interest in mind.
    -Most importantly, he is actually a real FRIEND - not just because i pay him! lol and I know everybody says that, but i have plenty of stories to prove this and all the other qualities he has. :D
    -We actually have a blast when we dance together! You can tell at a comp that we are having fun and that's what makes us stand out on the floor
  11. TinyDancer109

    TinyDancer109 Well-Known Member

    PS - Love the avatar, liz.
  12. Piggles

    Piggles Member

    I agree with Latingal and the other posters on this thread. However another thing to look at is what the pro's other students look like? Do you admire their technical abilities and styling? How have they evolved in the past year? How do they place in competition? Does the pro/am team dance like a real couple when they perform? I'll never forget watching a top pro compete a rumba with a student he never looked at once during the performance. It made me cringe to watch.

    Also, is the pro's teaching style compatible with your learning style? I've tried out some great teachers who just didn't reasonate with how l learn.
  13. dlgodud

    dlgodud Active Member

    Yes. The student must be a paycheck to him. I had a lesson with another pro(not my pro whom I will compete) on Saturday. It was a rumba lesson, and he asked me to make eye contact with him for the whole lesson. Well, he did not need to do it technically because I will not compete with him, but he was really trying to take 100% out of me. It was very awkward because I recently started to take lessons from him. But, he impressed me so much with his effort and I was very thankful that he pushed my to the right direction. :p
  14. Sylph

    Sylph New Member

    My pro is absolutely brilliant. Latingal's list was spot on and include the above and you have my ideal teacher. I would not trade him for the world! The best thing about him is that he makes each of his students feel special and talented and goes out of his way to accommodate all of us when we are competing (I would imagine the poor guy must have blisters on his feet more often than not!). Needless to say his students do well at comps.
  15. TinyDancer109

    TinyDancer109 Well-Known Member

    Just to play devil's advocate, i am not sure that is always great rubrik. Definitely a good trait to have, but not necessarily a rule. When I first started, my teacher was lowest in the male hierarchy and therefore taught only new students, so i was not that impressed by any of his students. Now his students are all more advanced. I am his best student and he has gone fairly far and successful with me in a short amount of time, with no credit to any other teachers quite frankly. Every teacher has to start somewhere and I was his starting point... in a sense, he has proved his abilities through me. Now, if i had chosen a teacher based on other how his other students looked, he would not have been my first choice. But he has brought me a long way.

    Yes, that is a sad thing to watch, isn't it? :( Where is the fun in dancing when you aren't engaged by each other?
  16. liz

    liz New Member

    Thanks:Dthat's my cat,Baby when she was a baby.
  17. liz

    liz New Member

    Ok, how about this... If you had to choice between several different pros how would you guys pick between them:

    1. young, tall, talented, fairly close by,knowledgeable but a know it all and fairly unflexable to new ideas. Not willing to go out of his way to help you. Seems more like just a job. tall,and alot of personality. kind of childish

    2. motivated, eager, willing to make pretty much anything work, not as talented, not as showy on the floor, not as strong a male partner, but thoughtful and willing to work hard.Willing to get as much coaching as I want... much less expessive.
    would get to practice alot more than with the others.mature

    3. very handsome, great personality, tall, not really focused.. not sure what motivates him. But, would have a great time with him... Not as trained, but has great promise...

    4. well respected, very talented, great energy, same personality as me,, but can't give me firm commitments for the future... Will have to always work around his schedule and be willing to drop what ever when ever... fairly close in distance.mature

    5. very knowledgeable, great teacher, not quite as tall as I would like, is ok at my style but it isn't his speciality, wouldn't get to work with him but once a month... would have other girls to share my place in my division. mature
  18. dancelvr

    dancelvr Well-Known Member

    I've seen that too busy worrying about his own performance and mugging for the audience, or just plain disinterested. You'd never know he had a lady at the other end of his arm. It really turned me off.
  19. dancelvr

    dancelvr Well-Known Member

    This one, for sure.
  20. etp777

    etp777 Active Member

    I agree with dancelvr. Well, if I was a woman looking for a male pro and had those choices :)

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