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Dancequestion for dance instructors
Posted by Mary
12/19/2005  5:15:00 PM
Hi,

I'm a dance instructor in Italy and would like to know more about being a dance instructor in America.

I heard some things, which are very different from where I live. Is it right that teachers can compete together with their students? Do they have to do that, or is it up to them? Do you have little couples consisting of two students, and teachers have to fill the gaps for missing dance partners? What kind of people do compete in America?

I mean, here teachers only dance with their students to show them something, but not on comps or for whole lessons.

I hope some dance instructors can tell me about their work in America, I'd like to know everything! Also students' answers are welcome, tell me what you'd expect from a good teacher.

Regards,
Mary
Re: Dancequestion for dance instructors
Posted by Onlooker
12/20/2005  5:36:00 PM
Mary. Nobody is answering. I don't live in the USA. Untill very recently there were no Pro-Am but now only on a small scale. I believe in the USA there are competitions that are all Pro-am, somebody will put me right if it is not so. The teachers don't have to be in this, it is by choice. In a slightly different way it is like the Dancing with the Stars, except the partners can be of a very high standard and are not beginners. We last year at one of our bigger comps. had a group of ladies from Japan, fully dressed, dancing with some local professionals. They only had a very short time to become accustomed to each other. I was there and the dancing was extra good. Right, lets hear some input from over there.
Re: Dancequestion for dance instructors
Posted by live from oregon, usa
12/21/2005  11:22:00 AM
the pro-am comps are for students who do not have partners who wish to compete or for students who wish to compete with a professional to improve their own dance ability. Usually the student pays the his/her instructor's fees for attending the comp.
Re: Dancequestion for dance instructors
Posted by DancinChicagoGuy
3/9/2006  2:41:00 PM
Hello Mary,

Each comp here in the USA has a different format depending on what the organizers of the comp want to do. Some are all Pro-Am and some have both Pro-Am and all amateur couples, youth and senior catagories, etc. with a few demos by pro couples. Typically the Pro-Am catagories are for students who have not found a full time dance partner yet but who want to compete. So the student enters the comp with his or her dance instructor as partner. Doing the Pro-Am is all voluntary and up to the student and teacher to work things out and to prepare months or weeks before the comp dates.

Some studios encourage and or expect their instructors to enter into Pro-Am more so than others, again this varies widely by studio and owner.

I do not understand what you mean by: "little couples consisting of two students, and teachers have to fill the gaps."

For the most part anyone can compete or enter comps according to their skill and experience level. College students are attracted where the school they attend has a good dance arts program. For working adults generally the people with higher paying jobs, or those who are retired go out for comps. Since private lessons and the gowns and costumes cost a lot of money and time.

Some studios organize their own comps. other comps are invitationals, open to all who qualify.

Dance lessons are taught in 5 major catagories:

1 Private lessons at a studio, 45-60 minutes by 1 instructor and 1 student or one couple.

2 Group classes at a studio of 4-6 sessions over successive weeks with 1 instructor who sometimes has a demo partner and 20-40 students in a circle, for 30-60 minutes per dance.

3 Party lesson held before the dance party at a studio on Fri, Sat, or Sun night given by 1 instuctor who sometimes has a demo partner and a large group of dancers their for the party, anywhere form 50-150 in a circle depending on the size of the studio.

4 Workshop lessons given by a celebrity or in demand teacher, usually with a demo partner to a small group of students 10-50 for 1-2 hours per dance.
These are frequently on a Sat or Sun afternoon.

5 Dance camp, like a boot camp, which can be anywhere from 1 day long to 2 weeks long, usually 5 days long. A dance camp is usually an annual event held in a meeting hall at a hotel and dancers come from all over the country and even foreign countries to attend, and stay in a hotel or college dorm. The dance camp organizers will bring in several celebrity teachers and or winning pro competitors to teach the classes which will go in 1 hours slots from 9am-5pm each day and there can be 1 or 2 or 3 classes going on at the same time so the studets have to choose which class to attend each hour. The other teachers not giving a class at that time will give private lessons by appointment. Usually there is a party dance after the dinner break for the students to practice every evening. And usually there is a comp on the last evening of the dance camp. There will be shops that come in for the dance camp and have tables to sell their shoes, gowns, clothes, jewelry, etc.

A good teacher would master the bronze, silver, and gold syllabus for a particular dance or dances and would give private lessons on a regular weekly basis to their students. And typically the popular teachers at a studio will also give the intermediate group classes and the party lessons on the intermediate party nights.

Regards,
DancinChicagoGuy
Re: Dancequestion for dance instructors
Posted by Anonymous
3/9/2006  5:54:00 PM
"I heard some things, which are very different from where I live. Is it right that teachers can compete together with their students? Do they have to do that, or is it up to them? Do you have little couples consisting of two students, and teachers have to fill the gaps for missing dance partners? What kind of people do compete in America?"

There are a small handfull of amercians dancing somewhat as your Italian IDSF and professional couples do.

There are a larger number of semi-serious amateurs, who compete from beginner level ranging up to the same events as the IDSF couples.

But the largest aspect of american ballroom revolves around money. Rich students (and also those spending money they cannot afford) pay to dance with their teachers, for lessons, socials, and also possible for competitions which are the most expesnive of all. Many professionals do at least some work in this area of the business, because there is so much money to be made there. Some have dozens of low level students, others who are perhaps serious professional competitions may have only one moderately advanced student who pays for enough of their time to in practical terms be almost their sponsor.
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