Ballroom Dance > Amateur teachers

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by billman, Jun 27, 2014.

  1. letsdance101

    letsdance101 Active Member


    I don't dance pro am anymore... But it doesn't seem fair that my friend couldn't compete PASD because she helps teach a little kids ballroom group class ( which by the way neither of us get any pay for)
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 5, 2014
  2. mindputtee

    mindputtee Well-Known Member

    When my amateur partner and I practice after having a lesson, I will remind him of things the coach said during the lesson. Does that mean I am teaching him and no longer qualify as a PASD?

    If people can take cash under the table for lessons they can just as easily teach for no pay "under the table". I think getting paid for teaching is what should make the difference between amateur and professional. If we're already pretty much running on an honor system, why not make it easier for people who want to be honest and follow the spirit of the law?
  3. snapdancer

    snapdancer Well-Known Member

    I became aware of a couple of situations created by a young man who was up until last year a ballroom dance instructor. Then this year he competed at an NDCA event as the student partner in pro-am events including a scholarship which he won. Then he competed at a USA Dance type event.

    I don't know how what he did at the NDCA event wasn't a clear violation of NDCA rules. Enforcement of these rules should be pro-actively done by event organizers, and not left up to complaints by other competitors injured by the violation.

    As far as the USA Dance event, he wasn't in technical violation of USA Dance rules. But if this is a allowed, why would I want to compete at any USA Dance event where I could be up against someone who isn't really an amateur as the definition is commonly understood?
  4. JudeMorrigan

    JudeMorrigan Well-Known Member

    The definition of "amateur" is variable. It's simply not a universally agreed upon fact that it's someone who doesn't teach. In the broader sports world, that's become less and less the rule over the last couple of decades. It's explicitly *not* the definition of an "amateur" for both NDCA and USA Dance. As for your question, because you'd want to go up against the largest, best fields that you possibly could? Where people who are independently wealthy don't have *quite* as large an advantage over those who aren't? It's why I'm glad for USA Dance's allowing amateurs to teach, despite having no interest in doing so myself.

    Which is not to condone people teaching and competing as pro-am student dancers. As has been exhaustively documented, I don't much care for the rule myself, but rules are rules.
    ChaChaMama and Sania like this.
  5. Bailamosdance

    Bailamosdance Well-Known Member

    If you feel he was in violation of the NDCA rule that am parts of a pro am business relationship cannot teach, please write to them, and let us know how they respond.
  6. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    As far as the NDCA event goes, there are so many pro-am entries the only way the organizers will know is if someone comes and complains. They don't track students so there's no check system when they put the entries in.

    And the confusion about what constitutes "amateur" (the accepted general definition of someone who does not do an activity for a living, versus the increasingly convoluted definitions in "amateur sports" to allow competitors to earn money) is why some Olympic sports have dropped the word completely (in skating, you are not "amateur", you are "eligible", ie eligible for Nationals, ISU events, the Olympics and it has less to do with money than with what tests you pass and what events you enter, ie whether or not they're sanctioned) or they've cracked down on the definition (in USEF, if you are an amateur, you may not earn money or other remuneration for riding people's horses or be employed in certain horse-related jobs, full stop, and you can get points stripped or suspensions. The Olympic riders are in the Open division--anyone can enter, but in hunters and jumpers the fence heights start around 4'6" so you better be confident and have a good horse.) The problem with doing the former in dance is it's not an Olympic sport and won't be for at least the next two Olympic cycles, as it's not going to be a demo sport. The problem with the latter is there are multiple governing bodies and competition systems with competitor overlap so no consistent definitions.
  7. snapdancer

    snapdancer Well-Known Member

    And that's the problem for me.

    Yes, I already understood that quite well and stated that in my comment.

    Maybe that's your goal, that doesn't make it everyone's goal. For example, why do we have senior-level categories? Why wouldn't everyone of any age want to compete against healthy youngsters?

    How many independently wealthy amateur competitors are there? Yes, I know there are some. But really, how many?

    And what does their wealth buy them? Some good coaching, to be sure. But most of all it buys them the time to practice and develop their skills. Which teaching also provides.

    Myself, with a day job, I don't have the time to do that.

    I believe that there are quite a few more of teachers who haven't declared as competitive pros than independently wealthy people to contend with.
  8. Bailamosdance

    Bailamosdance Well-Known Member

    Senior is not a quality division, but an age division.

    Same as 'pro' and 'am' - divisions, not an assurance of ability, quality, etc. Divisions are created (bronze, silver, gold) to allow for a more even playing field, so to speak - a gold dancer has an advantage over a bronze dancer, for instance, in their knowledge of dance.

    In the rest of the world, dancers are tracked and their progression 'up the ladder' is often on different criteria - frequency of competition, test results, and comp results are used, many times all 3. Currently, US dancers lag far behind in most divisions, fyi.

    As far as what wealth buys? A comfort level and the ability to leverage your wants vs your needs. A wealthy competitor can spend all day with great coaching, great food, great practice, easy travel. Teaching not only makes you a better dancer, but the income offsetting the costs of living your life allows you to not take a corporate job, worry about missing work to compete, etc. And, as you know, the progression from top amateur champion can sometimes be followed by starting again in the pro division, but often times, not.
  9. snapdancer

    snapdancer Well-Known Member

    I beg to differ. A gold-level S4 dancer is not, average, going to move equally well as an Adult age category gold-level dancer.

    Exactly my point.
  10. JudeMorrigan

    JudeMorrigan Well-Known Member

    Sorry for the lack of quotes, my phone is being curmudgeonly.

    - Sure, but you also referenced the "commonly understood" definition of amateur. I'm just saying, commonly understood by whom? For better or worse (better imo, less so in others), the definition is changing. I don't think one can rely on a common understanding as being meaningful.

    - "Wealthy" also has some pretty variable definitions. I think that to a lot of people, anyone who can afford pro-am qualifies. Certainly my pro-am invoices made my am partner before last blanch. It was only teaching that let her afford even the vastly less expensive am-am competitions even.

    Even by a more generous definition, I'm not sure I'd buy there being more pasd's who cheat the system than wealthy competitors. Sure, I've known some, but they're not *that* common. And pasd's who drop $20k+ a year on their dancing are pretty easy to find.

    Since am-ams who teach are *not* pros, they shouldn't count as undeclared pros.

    And I firmly believe that allowing amateurs to teach makes for a *more* even playing field.
  11. JudeMorrigan

    JudeMorrigan Well-Known Member

    A thought on the difference between "makes money off of their skills" and things like age categories: where it's allowable by the rules, the decision to teach or not is just that - a decision. Growing older is not.

    As for proficiency levels, given adequate age categories and a robust proficiency point system (which USA dance admittedly doesn't really have right now), it should be possible to bin competitors based on their *current* dance abilities. Now, someone who taught might advance into a higher bin more rapidly than me (or might not, based on some of the syllabus am instructors I've met), but I honestly don't understand why that should bother me. Particularly if they're replaced by another dancer in my basic category. Hakuna matata.
    Sania likes this.
  12. snapdancer

    snapdancer Well-Known Member

    When I say "commonly understood definition of amateur", "commonly understood" refers to the definition that most people randomly surveyed at a busy mall would give. Or the Webster definition:
    " one who engages in a pursuit, study, science, or sport as a pastime rather than as a profession "

    Not the redefinition of amateur given to to that word by dance organizations and only undererstood by people who've managed to dig it out a rulebook.

    You said "wealthy", I said "independently wealthy". Someone who has a lucrative day job and thus can afford to compete pro-am is not independently wealthy.
    Warren J. Dew likes this.
  13. JudeMorrigan

    JudeMorrigan Well-Known Member

    I know plenty of am instructors I would have no hesitation to describe as individuals who do so as a pastime rather than a profession, despite their meager pay.

    And I think it's good if people with less lucrative day jobs can compete on a more even footing with those who are better off. Or compete at all. YMMV.
  14. llamasarefuzzy

    llamasarefuzzy Well-Known Member

    I compete mostly usadance am competitions. I have taught for money. Dance is still very much a passtime, not a profession. It is possible to make some money off of something that one is not employed in full ( or even half) time
  15. JudeMorrigan

    JudeMorrigan Well-Known Member

    One thing I'd like to note: I differentiate between two different sorts of am instructors. The genuinely elite amateurs, particularly in the international styles, are often full-time career dancers. Dancing and teaching is what they do for a living and it's all they do. I have no objection to calling these sorts of dancers de facto professionals. They exist because its how every other country defines amateur athletes, and we'd like to be able to field competitive couples. I'll note that this goes beyond the Olympics - it would simply be nice to be able to be vaguely-sorta-kinda competitive in WDSF Opens. It is what it is.

    That said, these sorts of dancers are typically not going to compete as PASDs. There's really no reason for them to. If there's a pro-am related concern with them, it has to do with mixed proficiency events.

    The other sort of am instructor is the one I've spent most of my time talking about. They typically have either full-time day jobs that are not related to their dancing or are full-time students in fields not related to dancing. Furthermore, they generally only teach a handful of lessons a week. I know one fellow who is a full-time engineer and teaches three-four hours or so of lessons per week. I am not intending to suggest that this is the only way a person can look at such a situation, but I think a reasonable person can look at it and conclude that he's a professional engineer and a hobbyist dance instructor. Bringing home $75ish per week in dance fees isn't going to change the fundamental fact that engineering is how he makes his living and that dancing is something he does on the side because he loves it.
    llamasarefuzzy and RiseNFall like this.
  16. snapdancer

    snapdancer Well-Known Member

    I would also consider someone an amateur who has a day job and teaches a newbie group lesson at the community center. But once they start teaching private lessons as a significant part of their income, they've crossed the line.
    Hedwaite and Loki like this.
  17. Bailamosdance

    Bailamosdance Well-Known Member

    Telling us your definition of this is irrelevant, honestly. There are so many things that are not defined like they are in the 'real' world that in the arts mean something different... And even the names and what you might perceive as the dances themselves have very specific expressions and movements that only exist in the ballroom world, for instance - you have often heard someone on a street corner discussing a 'paso double' from DWTS that, to a dancer, was nothing at all what Paso Doble is in our world, where our benchmarks and must-have movements and counts have nothing to do with that popular culture sees.

    By th way, when you looked for a teacher, did you ask them their credentials, their competitive track, or their income sources? I didn't think so...
  18. snapdancer

    snapdancer Well-Known Member

  19. Spookisgirl

    Spookisgirl Active Member

    I am curious about why PASDs are not tracked with proficiency points similar to Am/Am competitors. One of the biggest issues in pro/am seems to be that there is no consistency even across comps sanctioned by the same organizations, and pro/am students can basically dance whatever level their pros allow them (or they want, depending on their pros). If PASDs had to register with an organization to compete at their comps (like Ams and pros do) I don't see it being difficult to start tracking them. Even the am/am system accounts for partner changes and streams. The PASD themself could be tracked regardless of pro they are dancing with. Why isn't this done? It seems that PASDs don't have to register or be tracked at all.
  20. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    The NDCA has, SEVERAL times, asked that PASDs be registered and then therefore can be tracked. None of the member organizations vote in favor of it and so the motion dies. There are a few reasons that the motions never passes.
    1 - It is assumed that PASDs don't want to pay a yearly registration fee to the NDCA. It is said "but they already pay sooooo much!"
    2 - Teachers, and the teaching and professional organizations that cast the vote for them, don't feel like the NDCA should have access to all of "their students" info.

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