I am not sure I am all for any more organizations or not in Ballroom socially OR competitively. I think organizations, like politics, starts out with good intent, for good reasons and good aim. Inevitably though these good things turn bad. Just the nature of the beast called humanity.
I see both sides to this situation. (just trust me on this score)
I am by nature someone who researches a great deal before committing to anything. I DID my research on ballroom, what I wanted to do and the types of studios out there. Unfortunately, there is very little in the way of finding out the WHOLE truth of any studio or pro for that matter until one comes into contact and has dealings with. Even those that had left previous pros and moved on were pretty tight lipped in what they said.
Just simply because the ballroom dance world is so small and so incestuous, it leaves little for people to really to speak openly and honestly without causing some backlash. The political climate is to great both socially and competitively.
You have the pros and cons of studios.
You have the pros and cons of pros.
You have the pros and cons of comps.
You have the pros and cons of students.
Etc and so on and so forth.
While a lot of information is shared, a lot of it is also like going on a geological dig for the lost city of Atlantis.
That oft times you also have to sift through what words are being told to you, the riddles, the guessing games, the looks, the everything. Like one giant I spy with my little eye game. Ugh ....
I believe people should research, however, there ARE many tactics that are used even to the most scrupulous and wise of students that draw them in and have them shaking their heads later wondering how the hell they got themselves into positions like this.
I have talked to pros that almost unanimously agree that pro/am fees should be told to the student by the teacher or studio and not allow the fees to be disclosed other wise. There are those pros out there that do not want to break down or disclose what they are making. I have been told point blank it is none of my business. I disagree with this. I have a right to know what my money is paying for. I also have the right to choose or not choose to do comp based on this knowledge. Or anything for that matter. Of course there is mark up on everything! Having a general idea though in the service industry is preferable. AND as most service industry related things are concerned the heftiest price is on actual labor. AND since ballroom is almost entirely on the labor scale of the service industry, it really is hard for a break down in most cases. But when it comes to competitions or showcases, bet your bum you can figure out the the ratio between what is what.
(side note here .... I have told a few pros that are friends of mine, when in discussions about giving themselves a raise, ie: raising their lesson fees, I asked them .... WHAT ARE YOU WORTH? or more importantly .... What is your time and knowledge that you have to impart to another person worth to you!? <---- very valid I might add)
I do not need to know the most minutest of breakdowns. But I do not feel I should pay for a pro that wants to let say have a $150 dinner on my bank account. Screw that! I am all for paying the fees associated to dance pro/am within reason. I am disgusted to see such an wide ranging of pricing across ballroom. That is just in say my own home studio not to mention the differences between local studios, regional and so forth. AND YES I understand prices can be dictated upon for a variety of factors, ie: if you pro is a champion or not, region, blah blah blah. Those things can fall with in the scope of reason. But some of these "packages". I better be getting some great service, and not all but there are many pros out there that all this is to them is cake. I do not need a pro to be at my whim, but some they way I see them treat their students .... EEEEEWWWWWW. And many of these students are unaware and are miserable and are brainwashed or scared.
Then there are the pros that are the nice ones who are treated as badly as some AM students have been. So it goes both ways. Sometimes I think it can be worse for pros because this is their lively hood and it is a business that fluctuates a great deal for as many reasons as there are people and money. For them to survive on being a pro alone is oft times very difficult. Many of the pros often have their partnerships to maintain as well as having students, they have to find time to practice and also get training themselves AND support their everyday lives. Their lives are often more consumed by dance than a students is because in this case they are both student AND teacher. They have to deal with all sorts of students, the needy ones, the obsessed ones, etc. Then on top of that they have to usually deal with the drama of their "harem" or "stable of stallions". Students want to be the favorite or students cause problems with other students, or several students at same level of dance and age category and pro must figure out how to make everyone happy.
So there are things on both sides.
There will NEVER be an organization to be fair to all or to look out for all. Whether it is an organization for the Pros, or for the AMs or for the AMs in pro/am or whatever. Just not going to happen. Why? We are dealing with human beings. Even if there are policies in place, and no tolerance things in place, or whatever, all rules for good are usually broken. Humanness reigns. LOL
Regarding certifications/licenses ..... REALLY?
In the state of MD you have to be licensed to be many things. Makeup artists, hairdresser, massage therapist, etc and so forth. I could care less if a dance teacher is certified so to speak. Doesn't really show me anything. Show me teachers that not only are proven themselves in the dance arena but show me what their students are doing across all levels. Shoot some of MD's public school teachers who must go on to get Master's degrees are some of the most horrid teachers of education anywhere! AND they are teaching our kids. go figure.
As with ANY profession .... you have good and bad.
As with any in the teaching profession you have those that are good teachers that can explain beautifully but that dance horribly, you have beautiful and technically correct dancers that can not teach a lick to a flea and then you have teachers that have the combination of teaching beautifully and dancing beautifully and last the teachers that are horrible teaching and horrible dancing. So what is a license or certification? I can get a certification, doesn't mean I can teach.
Licenses and certifications are not an answer.
Also one can not put a broad spectrum on who gets duped or who doesn't. I am of the personal believe whatever my choices, then I made my bed so I have to lie in it. But there are AWAYS exceptions or circumstances that you can not paint with any one broad brush.
PS ..... I love the ballroom world.
end rant ..... steps of soap box.