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Author Topic: Amateur status  (Read 1735 times)
elisedance
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« on: October 24, 2010, 04:43:18 PM »

This is a touchy subject.  The largest division in dancesport is the separation between Professional and Amateur competitors.  At its extremes the difference pretty obvious but there is an ever-growing grey area and one that varies markedly between different countries and areas.  On the whole it does not matter if an Amateur declares him/herself a pro.  Basically the pro division is an all-commers one and there may not be that much difference between the top levels of Amateur and the pros - clearly many AMs are far better dancers than a vast number of pros, even the actively competing ones. 

AMs used to be defined as dancers that had no connection to the commercial aspect of dance.  In England you could not work in the cloakroom of a studio without loosing your AM status.  Contrast that with the situaion (as I understand it) in the US where AMs can now teach for money although (also as I understand it) they can not have pro-am students (the pot of gold methinks).  We are intermediate in Canada - AMs can not teach except for national finalists in certain catagories.  I suppose the idea was to ensure the top AMs did not have a liability against those from down south. 

I have no idea what the distinction is in other countries and wondered what others think of this.
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cdnsalsanut
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« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2010, 06:08:03 PM »

We are taught by a top amateur couple from time to time, when we see them doing something we really like and ask them for help. The idea is to help them defray their dancing costs and also prepare them for their careers as professional dance teachers.

My experience watching the pros compete is that they really are so much better than the ams, except those ams at the very top. Most of the pros are very good dancers, those in competition anyway. Yes I've seen my share of so-called dance teachers (who can't dance and can't teach). It seems to be a growth industry: BECOME A DANCE TEACHER, no experience required!

How ridiculous. How can you teach people to dance when you haven't learned yourself. Laughable except that Arthur Murray has been very successful with it. Some of their teachers are mere steps ahead of their students...go figure. 
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mummsie
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« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2010, 08:12:18 PM »

I have a level 0 qualification which is the first one you can study for.  I am not allowed to teach unsupervised and am only allowed to teach begginer or social dancers.  I think there is a limit on the number of hours per week as well.  This doesn't really apply to me though because I only teach the social class under supervision and don't earn any money from it.  mm
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elisedance
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« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2010, 08:48:12 PM »

We are taught by a top amateur couple from time to time, when we see them doing something we really like and ask them for help. The idea is to help them defray their dancing costs and also prepare them for their careers as professional dance teachers.

My experience watching the pros compete is that they really are so much better than the ams, except those ams at the very top. Most of the pros are very good dancers, those in competition anyway. Yes I've seen my share of so-called dance teachers (who can't dance and can't teach). It seems to be a growth industry: BECOME A DANCE TEACHER, no experience required!

How ridiculous. How can you teach people to dance when you haven't learned yourself. Laughable except that Arthur Murray has been very successful with it. Some of their teachers are mere steps ahead of their students...go figure. 
I guess its not really their fault - I mean if someone buys a lemon from a used car lot for the same price as a new car do we blame the dealer?

The important thing is that the information is available so that people can make informed choices - even with that there are those that will want to go the chain studio route anyway as they are after the social aspects more than the dance ones.  The quality of teaching only becomes really important when you have a goal such as dancesport....
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elisedance
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« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2010, 10:27:45 PM »

In Ontario only the amateur elite are allowed to teach.  The rest have a rule that if they are do what a professional ut what makes an amateur an amateur? 

I think we all have an idea what an amateur is - its someone that participates in a group activity without financial benefit.  The trouble is defining the latter is not easy.  Obviously, if a person is paid a salary do do the group event they are not an amateur.  Most organizations also state that if they are also pros if paid to teach.  In Ontario its far stricter: they may loose their status if they teach at all, even without payment (I think this may violate fundamental freedoms of behaviour but thats another topic). 

But then there are gray areas.  For example, getting a travel stipend?  The sports organizations deal with this by only reimbursing for actual expenses (by receipt).  What about a prize that is used for lessons?  This can be dealt with by setting up a trust fund in the amateur organization from which payments can be drawn, again for legitimate expenses (such as lessons). 

Ond definition of an amateur by DancesportAlberta is:
1.02. An amateur is one who does not earn a livelihood from participation in DanceSport.

But what that means is not spelled out.  What about the person that works in a dancestudio but does not actually teach dancing?  Their income depends on the lessons paid for for training in dancesport.  Though it seems a bit unfair to dub the woman who serves in the coffee bar a dancesport professional and demand that she compete in the professional circuit!  On the other hand, what if that person is doing stretching or yoga excercises for dancer preparation?  Its not unlikely that these will even be designed for dancers - and may even help them to dance.  Are they then a dancepro?  Also, what about students that work in a dancestudio: they may get lessons in lieu of payment - that saves everyone money but is that fair for amateurs that have to pay every penny?

Its an interesting area.  One option of course is to just drop the whole thing as a charade - but that would really elminate a large aspect of dancesport, one that permits ordinary people to compete since they would stand little chance against full time pros.



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cornutt
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« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2010, 07:37:20 PM »

I'm not sure I even know or understand what the NDCA/USA Dance rules are anymore.  You can teach "some", but it's not really clear how much, or at what level, or anything.  Some amount is "too much", but no one is sure how much that is.  And then there's the whole Brigham Young thing...  I suspect that in the U.S., it's eventually going to come down to: if you compete in comps that offer cash prizes paid directly to the competitors, you're a pro.  If you don't, you aren't. 
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elisedance
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« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2010, 08:57:01 PM »

.. plus 'if you dance pro in pro-am you are a pro (and maybe only that)
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Rugby
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« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2010, 11:09:36 PM »

You are also not allowed to do demonstrations of "any" kind unless you get permission from OADA or you will get into trouble too.  If they find out then you may be called out onto the carpet to explain your actions and why you did a demonstration without permission.  Pros think the Amateurs should not be doing demonstrations but really what they are worried about is that Amateurs are taking business away from them since the people will have to hire professionals if the amateurs don't do it for free.  Of course this is silly but hey, greed is greed.
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cdnsalsanut
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« Reply #8 on: November 09, 2010, 12:16:01 AM »

Actually we do get permission from OADA so of course it's not a problem
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elisedance
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« Reply #9 on: November 09, 2010, 12:34:35 AM »

CDN - I really don't think anyone was talking about you specifically.  These rules are all bound to have rough edges.  For example, if you dance open routines at a social studio and people come to watch are you technically doing a showcase? 

Some of the rules can be really dumb - for example showing some beginners how to do a box step is technically violating the rules - but in the process you are actually bringing more people into teh dance world. 
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If you must leave the house, go build a home...

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cornutt
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« Reply #10 on: November 11, 2010, 08:52:04 PM »

You are also not allowed to do demonstrations of "any" kind unless you get permission from OADA or you will get into trouble too. 

Wow... if they had that rule in the U.S., there would hardly be any amateurs left!
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elisedance
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« Reply #11 on: November 11, 2010, 09:05:09 PM »

You are also not allowed to do demonstrations of "any" kind unless you get permission from OADA or you will get into trouble too. 

Wow... if they had that rule in the U.S., there would hardly be any amateurs left!
Well I think its silly - we are all demonstrating anytime we go to a social.  There would be a difference, of course, if we were paid to dance but even that could be handled by putting the payment into the amateur associations escrow account for lessons.
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Rugby
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« Reply #12 on: November 12, 2010, 04:10:43 PM »

Yes, I am making general statements as I asume that none of us think that we are so important that everything revolves around us and what we are doing.  I certainly don't know what those of us in Australia or the U.S. are doing let alone here and frankly who actually cares since it is their business anyways.  My post was merely to point out how to me, things have gotten to the point of going overboard up here and from what I have been told, it is because the Pros are worried about losing money and put the pressure on Amateur associations.  I think there is nothing wrong with doing demos or helping people out if you don't get paid and lets face it we all get asked to do it all the time.  It has nothing to do with your skill level (and this is why we tell people you can't let it go to your head) since to a club or social dancer a bronze level person can look fantastic, but if they are happy to see you strut your stuff then what is wrong with that. 
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You have to fight through a lot of crap before you find your way up out of the toilet. Sometimes I think I have a good hold on the rim then I slip back in.  Each time I don't sink quite as deep though. - Rugby
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