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Author Topic: Is Dancesport in decline?  (Read 7428 times)
ttd
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« Reply #15 on: December 06, 2010, 04:35:29 PM »

I wonder if the approach of studios could be changed and may be the Russian/European club system adopted?  From the one club that I was at, this seemed to ensure that lessons were cheaper over all, both group & private, and of a high quality as all in the groups had similar aims, & financial reasons became less of a limiting factor.  Clubs also provide practice time & space.  I also think that dancing is just more popular in some countries, and has a different position in society. eg in some countries, dancing is compulsory in school
I always wondered how that type of club system would work in adults (past college, that is) dance community. Especially considering the surplus of ladies wanting to dance.
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Rugby
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« Reply #16 on: December 07, 2010, 10:37:17 PM »

It is not a choice of what I can cut out of my budget so I can keep dancing. It is a choice of what to cut out of my budget just to survive.
Many amateurs have cut back on lessons and socials as well. Many have even had to give up dance (for the time being). Just a luxury that is not easily affordable.
Especially when many teachers have high prices for lessons and comp (normally), and some here have even risen their prices.
Totally understand your situation.  I have been living on part time work here and there.  I teach riding but the horses I use are right now either retired due to advanced age, sick or no longer being available.  I have been using my boom lift certification to get jobs decorating malls (and hopefully undecorating after Christmas) and to teach teenagers boom lift use and safety.  If it weren't for my partner there is just no way I could carry on dancing.  Like you said, I'm just surviving and very barely at that.  I don't like him having to foot the cost and it takes a toll on how I think of dancing.  If things don't turn around then this will be my last season competing.

It is difficult to have so much money going out for dancing and yet at this level we are not allowed to make any money back on it to help recover costs and pay for lessons.  They make it damn near impossible to do so even.  Even if you win the Canadian Championships you have to go through all these mentoring sessions and tests. Of course it has nothing to do with having the skill but just a way of keeping the competition at bay.  At some chain studios you can do the three month video course and hang up a shingle.  There are a couple of them here doing this.  They charge between $65 to $85 an hour for lessons.   I have had a friend in Toronto going for her teaching certificate.  She takes like three lessons in each dance, doesn't need to know any technique and at the end of going through all the dances she gets her certificate.  What's with that!!  I've forgotten more than any of these people will probably ever know but they are deemed worthy of teaching, but, even being in Championship I'm not.  If they changed the rules than maybe more of us could afford to stay in it and pay the high fees our teachers are asking.
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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
elisedance
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ee


« Reply #17 on: December 07, 2010, 10:44:24 PM »

I certainly hope the powers that be read what you just wrote R... something has to give.
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Rugby
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« Reply #18 on: December 07, 2010, 11:44:24 PM »

Whats also happened is that so many dancers have become teachers that there really are not enough clients to support them.  Note that these teachers have just as much passion for staying in dance as the students do - so many keep at it even if they can not build it as a career.  As I see it, that disperses the 'revenue' and again drives up the cost of an individual lesson. 
Seems to me that something has to give at the pro level to 'save' dancsport.  Perhaps the high prices will lead to the loss of all but the most dedicated dancers with respect to private lessons at least and many pros will simply have to find another occupation. 
We have seen one annual (and favorite) competition fold this month.  I have no idea what the forces were behind that - the attendance last year was not great either so it could have been in natural decline.  However, there may be a more seamy aspect where support for a competition is being set not by the dancers themselves but by their studios and the studios (who also host comps) are fighting each other for survival.  Whatever that might entail. 

Many came from Russia as the teacher pool was too big there.  The problem is that when they came here they all grouped in one city.  There is a big call for instructors eveywhere else in this huge province but none will leave Toronto.  A very few have ventured to Ottawa and a few have gone to Montreal but it is a slim amount.  Now the newcomers and the previous instructors are all trying to survive on one patch of land and this has caused them to become dog eat dog. 

In my opinion I do believe you are correct ee, the comps are becoming part of the battleground.  Of course the fewer comps due to this means fewer competitors too so really they are just doing themselves in.  I have no sympathy and possibly when everything crashes we can start over for the better.   
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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
catsmeow
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« Reply #19 on: December 07, 2010, 11:55:48 PM »

I agree with you on this one Rugby and EE.  I have watched a growing influence by the studios over the competitions. By having at least one judge on the panel a studio can almost guarantee a high placement  if not a first place for their clients. Couples must do their own entries and not let a studio owner or teacher influence their decision to compete.
I dont see any quick and easy solution but strong leadership will be needed on the amateur side to balance the control exerted by the pros. 2012 is just around the corner.
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Rugby
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« Reply #20 on: December 07, 2010, 11:57:16 PM »

I certainly hope the powers that be read what you just wrote R... something has to give.

It is just so frustrating to see couples with some real talent being taken advantage of by these charlatans as I call them.  They get taken and leave dancing and we see a good couple fall by the wayside.  We can help direct them as we have done with some of the couples we have introduced you too but either than that we have to watch it happen.  There are no instructors beyond not even a competitive bronze so of course nobody gets any better.  There are 300 people in the local club and they have not progressed, either than more steps, in years and years.  The worse part is that people in other cities are even worse again.  If the instructors don't want to leave Toronto for the other 99% of the cities around the province then at least the top level amateurs should be allowed to teach up to a certain level and as long as they are not making a living from it.

My friends are in Country dancing and the Country and Western organization joined the IDSF a few years back.  They are allowed to earn up to a certain % of their earnings teaching.  They are about a bronze competitive level (though they would certianly lose) and they are allowed to teach up to any level in Country and Ballroom too and not lose their status.  If they are allowed to do this under the IDSF rules than why is Ballroom different.
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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
elisedance
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ee


« Reply #21 on: December 07, 2010, 11:57:51 PM »

What hasn't happened yet is that the people who really should be heard from - that is the ones that are putting up the money to keep this all going (commonly known as clients in other businesses) have yet to be heard.  I think the main reason for this is that they (well we)  just want to dance and compete and given the choice of exerting a positive pressure or just pulling out the dancers appear to be taking the latter option.

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If you must leave the house, go build a home...

The limit of your love is also the limit of your art...
catsmeow
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« Reply #22 on: December 08, 2010, 12:01:31 AM »

These people are talking now EE..  They dont show up anymore!
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elisedance
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ee


« Reply #23 on: December 08, 2010, 12:14:12 AM »

Tis a bit late.. Sad
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If you must leave the house, go build a home...

The limit of your love is also the limit of your art...
Rugby
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« Reply #24 on: December 08, 2010, 12:21:05 AM »

Whew got so heated up over this topic I turned my avatar kitty black.

You are right ee, half won't say anything and half just don't show up as catsmeow mentioned. 
I just want to dance and be judged fairly, win or lose.  I don't want favours and I don't want prejudice as this is the only way we really know where we truly are.  Sure we all want to win but mainly I am just happy to be able to share the floor with some great people doing something together that we all love.  What a privledge to be with a group of people sharing a passion and experiencing this together at the same time.  I think this is why I like it when we are able to social dance and some fellow competitors are there.  We can share the floor and appreciate each other's dancing without caring who can or can't so what.  I applaud their efforts in their dancing, the struggles and trials and tribulations that we have gone through over the years together and it truly bothers me to see any of them down over their dancing.  I don't care if they came last, they are so much better than they know but we judge ourselves to how we rate against a small group of people and this can lead us to want to give up.  If competitions become, tainted shall we say, then a lot of good couples will be sacrificed on the alter of greed and ego. 
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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
elisedance
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ee


« Reply #25 on: December 08, 2010, 12:38:08 AM »

I wish we could get more local dancers on here to comment....
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If you must leave the house, go build a home...

The limit of your love is also the limit of your art...
ttd
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« Reply #26 on: December 08, 2010, 12:48:11 AM »

Whats also happened is that so many dancers have become teachers that there really are not enough clients to support them.  Note that these teachers have just as much passion for staying in dance as the students do - so many keep at it even if they can not build it as a career.  As I see it, that disperses the 'revenue' and again drives up the cost of an individual lesson. 
Seems to me that something has to give at the pro level to 'save' dancsport.  Perhaps the high prices will lead to the loss of all but the most dedicated dancers with respect to private lessons at least and many pros will simply have to find another occupation. 
We have seen one annual (and favorite) competition fold this month.  I have no idea what the forces were behind that - the attendance last year was not great either so it could have been in natural decline.  However, there may be a more seamy aspect where support for a competition is being set not by the dancers themselves but by their studios and the studios (who also host comps) are fighting each other for survival.  Whatever that might entail. 

Many came from Russia as the teacher pool was too big there.  The problem is that when they came here they all grouped in one city.  There is a big call for instructors eveywhere else in this huge province but none will leave Toronto.  A very few have ventured to Ottawa and a few have gone to Montreal but it is a slim amount.  Now the newcomers and the previous instructors are all trying to survive on one patch of land and this has caused them to become dog eat dog. 

In my opinion I do believe you are correct ee, the comps are becoming part of the battleground.  Of course the fewer comps due to this means fewer competitors too so really they are just doing themselves in.  I have no sympathy and possibly when everything crashes we can start over for the better.   
Isn't that somewhat typical that recent immigrants tend to settle in one area (think Brooklyn)? Also, how many competitions is it feasible to have in a large sparsely populated territory? I am thinking about Midwest here, there's not much going on, everything seems to be happening closer to the coasts. I spoke to an am couple I know and they said that they have to fly whenever they want to compete. If I weren't already into competing, I would be very much discouraged about the idea based on this conversation (and as it is, that's yet another negative aspect for me about forming an am-am partnership. At least there are a few pro-am comps within driving distance).
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elisedance
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ee


« Reply #27 on: December 08, 2010, 06:02:27 AM »

I do think we overstate - there are surely many more comps with just ams in than with just pro-ams (usually its either the former or both).  We have a lot of AM comps here - maybe the market is just saturated - but its the trend that is scaring, not of the comps but of the deline in the number of AM couples.
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If you must leave the house, go build a home...

The limit of your love is also the limit of your art...
pinkstuff
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« Reply #28 on: December 08, 2010, 08:34:05 AM »

I wonder if the approach of studios could be changed and may be the Russian/European club system adopted?  From the one club that I was at, this seemed to ensure that lessons were cheaper over all, both group & private, and of a high quality as all in the groups had similar aims, & financial reasons became less of a limiting factor.  Clubs also provide practice time & space.  I also think that dancing is just more popular in some countries, and has a different position in society. eg in some countries, dancing is compulsory in school
I always wondered how that type of club system would work in adults (past college, that is) dance community. Especially considering the surplus of ladies wanting to dance.

All competitors were adult (beyond university) amateur & with a partner, but if partnerless & interested in competing, teachers were helpful in looking out for a suitable partner.  The system seemed to work really well with quality training.  There were separate social classes, where as you mentioned there was a surplus of ladies.  Interestingly, chatting with others, some studios seem to have a surplus of men which hasn't been my experience so far & totally different topic :-).  We don't have the option of pro-am, which by the sounds of it is prohibitively expensive.
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ttd
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« Reply #29 on: December 08, 2010, 12:01:28 PM »

I do think we overstate - there are surely many more comps with just ams in than with just pro-ams (usually its either the former or both).  We have a lot of AM comps here - maybe the market is just saturated - but its the trend that is scaring, not of the comps but of the deline in the number of AM couples.
Are you talking about  Canada or Midwest? From where I live, I have 2 pro-am comps within 2 hours drive, and 6-7 within 7 hours drive. There are USA dance events in Chicago and Indianapolis, that makes it 2 events 6-7 hours away.

Also, I haven't seen a pro-am comp which did not have events designated for am-am couples on their schedule, but those events are often poorly attended (like 3-4 couples or even less). My friends, for example, don't bother with them (even for the one that's right in their backyard) because they're still more expensive to enter that USA dance comps, or at least just as expensive (if additional travel expenses are taken into account), but they get more competition at USA dance events.
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