US Pro/Am Dance Championships


Well-Known Member
Interesting. My DW and I know the Odells and we have done a number of their comps. I had thought they had retired. (They were both severely injured a couple of years ago in a home-invasion robbery.)

So here's the short answer: It's not the peak of competition. They do put on a fun event; as others have surmised, there are usually side trips, dinners, and other activities included in the package price. They work very hard to try to get people from different studios or clubs to socialize.

It may not say so in the package, but they do take am-am entries. My DW and I have danced many am-am heats at their events, as well as pro-am. Usually our competition has been other am-am couples from our own studio, although there is one studio in Mississippi that has a very good am-am couple in our age category.

They will put in an event for just about any dance you want to do. The most competition is in American style; there isn't much competition in International. There are five adult age categories, and two juniors. They also have as part of the standard event schedule some C&W dances, as well as something they call "social ease" where you have to dance on a ridiculously small floor space. Students can win a bit of scholarship money in social ease. They have rather extravagent prizes for top student and so forth, and usually there's some kind of trophy or plaque for everybody.

I was a little surprised at the "students will not know how much money teachers make" line. At every one of their events I've ever been to, there was a very public awarding of the teacher prize money at the end of the event. (When we used to go to their events, we required that our teacher take whatever money she won and put it in her bra. We tried to get Tom Odell to count out her money in ones, but he never would do it. :D )

Lowdensboro, or however it's spelled, is near Montgomery. They have a huge house there. I've never been there, but supposedly they throw one heck of a Christmas bash.

I do not know what the deal is with their "this is not dancesport" bit. Apparently there is a backstory, but I haven't heard it.


Well-Known Member
One other thing I should add: The judges they use are not pushovers. It may not be Blackpool, but you aren't going to get first place just for stepping onto the floor even if you are uncontested. In every one of their comps I've ever been to, there's been at least one heat where some couple finished second to nobody.


New Member
I think the "will not know how much money they make" bit comes from the difference between the "wholesale" price for the competition and the "retail mark-up" that the teacher or studio adds. That $1475 price for the French competition is the wholesale price. A teacher or studio could turn around and sell that package to a student for $2500, for instance. If the wholesale prices are never released, then the students will never know that the studio is making a grand per person. Some students don't care/won't care, but others might start getting curious as to what this $1000 mark-up is getting them. Anyway, this sort of thing has been a very common practice in all of Pro/Am, but with the advent of the World Wide Web NDCA competitions at least are starting to move away with this model, as information on so-called "wholesale" prices is getting easier and easier to find.

Still, even in the NDCA, there are competition organizers who pretty much freak out if a student fills out a Pro/Am entry form and writes the check for the entry fees. I've encountered a few of them in the past six months. I don't quite get it -- the exact same data goes on the form whether I fill it out or my teacher does, and my checking account is at least as stable as my teacher's, so what's the big deal? Apparently, though, to some of the more "old school" organizers, the students should never see or touch anything related to entries. It's kind of annoying to me, especially since I've had two somewhat flaky teachers when it comes to entering me in the right levels and getting things in before, I might as well do it so that it gets done right and on time. Over time I'll be avoiding those competitions where I or my teacher get scolded for "letting" me do the entry forms and make the payment.


Staff member
Thanks for the information cornutt, and Laura is exactly right regarding the "will not know how much money they make" line -- its not the prize money we're talking about but the per student/entry mark up.
Thats the thing though carmello, since when is the WDC the official/appropriate sanctioning body for pro-am? Its not, for example, the official sanctioning body for IDSF world titles, so what is it that makes it the appropriate sanctioning body for pro-am... espeically given that it has paid no significant interest to pro-am in the past?
The WDC formerly the WD&DSC is the sanctioning body for any World event, Pro or Pro Am, that is held by a member countries governing group, which is the NDCA in the USA. The IDSF is the Governing organizations that administers all of the Amateur World and Grand Slam events. So when a World or grand slam event is held, it's the IDSF that allows USA Dance to run it or USA Dance then gives to the USDSC or the Embassy Ball to run in it's behalf. Since USA Dance is not capable to host an event of this stature on it's own. If any Comp or group hosts a World event without sanctioning of either of these groups, than it is just not a sanctioned World Event. There is no questioning this fact. The bottom line is, the only sanctioned World Champinship event is in Argentina Feb 2007. Ohio, sorry to say was not.


New Member
Funny about that thing that's supposed to happen in Argentina...they haven't made much of a deal about publicising how one enters, or even how one gets information about the event. You'd think they'd make a bigger deal about it in the hotbed of Pro/Am that is the USA. Unless, of course, they really want to pair high-level IDSF "amateurs" with WD&DSC professionals or something...imagine Mirko Gizzoli dancing with Sylvia Pitton, for instance.

Or maybe not.

What I find most amusing about this "World Pro/Am Championships" thing is that it is being put on by World Promotions, which runs a bunch of Pro/Am comps in the US outside of the auspices of the WD&DSC's national member organization, the NDCA.

It seems to me that if this were done logically, the NDCA would have something to do with this, if only picking the US representatives to this event. Anyway, I've downloaded the brocheure for this event and am reading it with interest.

Here's the web site for this World Pro/Am Championship competition. It looks more like one of those "let's take the students on a trip and charge them lots of money" kinds of things, and not like an actual dance competition. If it were a real dance competition, it would be easier to find the actual entry form and rules....

The bottom line for me is that that the whole thing seems kind of BS-y, like with this "US Pro/Am Dance Championship" held in FRANCE that started this whole thread.
Theoretically, Laura, you and I and a bunch of friends could put on a "World Master Pro-Am Championship Cup" or some such new-fangled name, and a corresponding "US Master Pro-Am etc. etc.), if we please.
And we can register these names with the US Patent Office (or whoever is the official registry place for business names and/or trademarks). And we're in business.
My point is, as has been said here over and over, it takes more than a paper title and a brochure to make an event. And not even the WDC can make a title worthwhile.
At some point, it gets extremely demeaning for pro-am (like we needed more of that) to have all these empty titles sprouting at each event.
Look at the fit the WDC is throwing just because the IDSF is creating its own new event with a championship title for professionals. But when it comes to pro-am, anyone and their cousin can manufacture a new title, it seems.
An event should be judged first and foremost by the quality and quantity of the entries, not by the self-importance of the organization that puts it on.


New Member
At some point, it gets extremely demeaning for pro-am (like we needed more of that) to have all these empty titles sprouting at each event.
Heck yeah. If The Powers That Be actually cared, they would set it up with qualifiers, etc, just like in the Pro and Amateur championships. But they don't care, witness that IPDSF press release that SDSalsaGuy just posted on another thread.

Look at the fit the WDC is throwing just because the IDSF is creating its own new event with a championship title for professionals. But when it comes to pro-am, anyone and their cousin can manufacture a new title, it seems.
Exactly. It's all just stupid to the point of being ridiculous. Like who do they think they are really fooling? The top students and professional dancers aren't that stupid.

As for the Pro/Am heavy hitters, I bet they'll just go to Miami (I mean Hollywood, I mean Orlando) and Ohio and call it good. I've danced against women from Australia, Canada, and Hong Kong in these locales, we don't need to go to Argentina after all....
Wow, finally seen a listed price for this comp which is reasonable. However I know of a studio that is upcharging just for the competition a price of $15,000. Then they charge 65 an entry in addition. However they claim the studio and the teacher make no money on these; with upcharges like this someone is making money!!!

Warren J. Dew

Well-Known Member
Thats the thing though carmello, since when is the WDC the official/appropriate sanctioning body for pro-am?
Well, the WDC traditionally sanctions professional titles, and the IDSF "amateur" titles. The IDSF has tried to stay as far away from pro-am as possible, so the WDC is the obvious governing body for it.

As for the event in this thread, US pro-am ballroom championship trademarks used to be held by the USBC, and they may still lay a claim to them - though it would be weaker since they now use "dance sport" instead of ballroom in their event name. Still, holding the event in France may insulate it somewhat from potential U.S. trademark claims.


New Member
Note that this thread is from 2006, so the event in France was a *long* time ago. I haven't seen other fliers for 2007 2008, or 2009 editions of this event.


Well-Known Member
I really hope that this isn't digging up and beating a dead horse, but we're "taking the kids on a field trip" soon, so I started looking for studios along the route. One had this listed on their calendar, and although I first googled the name just as they had it on the calendar, I couldn't find anything. I forgot now what I changed, but this site came up:

There's one red flag to me that jumps out immediately. This image:

Strongly resembles something you'd see on the page of an MLM/pyramid/ponzi scam. Seriously? Dudes cheesing with fistfuls of money? But anyway- I am willing to reserve judgment until I can truly see one way or another for myself.

Can anyone who's been to the Nashville one give me a rundown of it? Is it exclusively pro-am, or are there also am couples? I don't want to blur lines and break rules, but we have some students interested in competing who don't want to spend quite so much money. I don't know if you're "allowed" to flip-flop between being a "pro" at this event and an "amateur" at other potential events. It might seem a little hokey, but it might also be a comparatively inexpensive way to get some feet wet.

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