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Author Topic: Going pro to afford to dance...  (Read 1457 times)
Open Bronze
Posts: 620

« on: October 26, 2011, 12:27:01 AM »

[ee edit: this is both interesting and novel so I made a new topic for it]

I have been thinking seriously about making the decision to go Pro, but am very reluctant/ confused/ uncertain about it. I guess I need some advice...(This question might not belong here so please redirect me if I need to post elsewhere.)

So I should start out by saying that I am currently dancing Pro/Am, Open American Style- But I am certain I will not be able to afford to continue Pro/Am much longer because of the high expense, I am also funding my University education on my own so it all has become just too much. The logical thing to do to cut costs would be to find an Amateur partner, I have been trying to find an AM partner for 2 years with no success- so this option seems less and less viable... My job waiting tables (the only job i've been able to get while still at University) simply does not cover the high costs of pro-am dancing.

 According to the NDCA, pro/AMS are not allowed to teach at all- under any circumstances: or they will be banned from competition. I understand why this rule exists, but it does seem to limit the options of anyone who is not independently wealthy. I have heard of people who teach anyway, and just keep everything under the table so to speak, but I have no intention of breaking the rules. To me that sounds like a dangerous game that I SO do NOT want to get caught up in...

So the only option I can see, in order to keep dancing at all, is to 'go pro' and to apply at a studio to teach lessons while I try to finish my last semesters at University.  But I am terribly reluctant to do this for several reasons:
a) I don't feel ready for it.
b) I have always thought that the undertrained/ under-qualified 'pros' were on some level being mildly dishonest and sometimes hinder a students dance education. Which I do not want to do at all!
c) Being a great teacher means being fully invested in your students progress, and that kind of puts one's own dance training on the shelf for a little while at least, if not indefinitely.
d) Once (If) I do 'go pro' there is still a huge chance that I might not find a partner for a while, if ever, or one might appear within not much time at all. Possibilities are endless.
e) It feels like an irresponsible decision, to teach when I still have so much to learn myself... But would it be so horrible of me to teach  Bronze/ Beginner lessons to help pay for University and to keep dancing?

But the truth is, the money has run out for me to keep dancing Pro/Am. And to STOP dancing completely.. is unthinkable. I love it. More than I could ever explain.  I wake up and fall asleep thinking about dancing, I live for my next lessons and am never happier than when i'm sweaty and exhausted from hours of practice rounds in the studio. (Which sounds kind of I have been dancing since I was 4 years old (in various styles) and to just 'let it go' and to face a desk job would be devastating to me...

...A friend of mine asked me for help the other day with a step she couldn't get, and i actually had a lot of fun trying to figure out the best way to explain it to her. It was like a giant word puzzle, and I loved it! And I just thought about how teaching could be such a rewarding and fulfilling experience for someone... Even if you are just teaching someone the basics, it means passing along something that we (as dancers) are all passionate about.

I am sorry this is a novel of a post, but thank you for reading it, i really have been thinking about it for months.... I would really really appreciate any advice you would be willing to give. Also it is highly likely that there's a really great solution I just haven't thought of/ missed entirely... so if I'm missing something blindingly obvious, please tell Smiley
Thanks Again, And Have a Great Day!
« Last Edit: October 26, 2011, 02:56:54 AM by elisedance » Logged

There is ALWAYS a reason to dance! Smiley
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Continental Champion
Posts: 20989

Adelaide South Australia

« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2011, 06:56:46 PM »

that is definitely a tricky one. Not sure what advice I would offer. as I have listed previously  dancing is not a cheap sport and it is something that needs to be looked at by governing bodies if they want the sport to grow.

In Australia ams can teach under the supervision of a pro. but they cant own their own studio, they would definitely have to be pro them. We currently help out in dance classes but don't get paid but are doing it to gain experience.

I suppose you have to think of where is it you are wanting to go with your dancing, will turning pro change that goal or enhance it. from what I read between the lines it may not be the path you are wanting to head.

Like you we have a budget and wont go over it. If they put up the cost of lessons we will have to cut back and do more practice. It will e great to hear from some pros for their opinion.

Dance is a delicate balance between perfection and beauty.  ~Author Unknown
Dance Forum

Posts: 2

« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2012, 12:09:24 AM »

Hi there! 
I came across a very similar position about 5 years ago. I'll share my story, and maybe it will help you. 
I also felt torn for a long time.  I was very successful in Pro Am and came to a point  where I was going to have to inevitably make a decision.
I was working at the studio where I was dancing managing the admin and desk things.  I loved the business and the people.
But, like you said I knew that just because I may go pro, I may not find a partner, and be able to continue dancing.  (btw that is still the case)
Good instructors grow with their students.  Don't cut yourself short by thinking that you can't  be a great teacher.  There are any types of students out there looking to take lessons!  No one evere feels 100percent ready.  But you learn what language and teaching style works as you try new things,  actually, although most of my students now are couples and socially dancing, I do have a few male students that dance pro Am which is very rewarding.
Here is the biggest thing.  Once you flip, and am the pro, it is not about you anymore.  It is about them.  Again, a great thing to see the other side and feel the perspective of your current pro.  Things make much more sence.  I wish students now could experience what it is like just for the confidence factor. 
And it takes time to make money, and have regular students.... And then there is no time for your own dancing..... There are not enough hours In A day.  I wish I had a simple answer. 
I found a partner, and it didn't work out.  I'm looking again, and In the meantime I continue dancing, but it is not always to the best of my ability since my students are not at that level.  I have a huge void in my life at the moment and although I'm on the dance floor everyday I don't feel like I'm having that love of dance feeling.  It changes.  Don't get me wrong I love what I do and the rewards and levels my students go through because of me.... But I'm getting older, and am still hopefull to get on the comp floor for myself again, but you never know. 
Feel free to pm me if you want!  Nice to meet you!
Some guy
Posts: 1529

« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2012, 02:14:31 AM »

Wonderful to hear your story.  Looks like a few of us are in transition here.  Elise, you should really start that partner search thingy.
Blackpool Finalist
Posts: 35146


« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2012, 06:16:54 AM »

9dncr - sounds like a bit of a bittersweet solution.  You really have to be sure you love the danceworld before making it a career, thats for sure.  I hope you find a partner - do you have plans to open your own studio?  I assume you are working in another now.

SG it may look like I can take on every cause and interest there is - but I have my limits, not least a very demanding career.  Besides, matchmaking is not my forte  - there are others here that would be much better at that I think.  I'm more of a social gadfly Smiley  But if someone would start one we could certainly work together with PDO....

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

The limit of your love is also the limit of your art...
Open Bronze
Posts: 642

« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2012, 11:55:13 PM »

Just curious - since you're a university student, do you have access to university dance team/club?
Posts: 3359

« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2013, 02:13:06 PM »

What an awesome thread!

I wonder what the OP decided.  (It's been a year and a half...)

My take is that,if you are dancing open, you are already far more advanced than many of the successful dance teachers who are out there, teaching dance within a few months of putting on their first pair of ballroom shoes.

I'd approach some of the local chain studios and see if they'll take you on. the pay is low, but many provide good training programs.    

I don't know where you live (I am not asking) but another alternative might be to find an ISTD examiner near you.  The one who lives closest to me offers a teacher training and certification program.   Or you might want to attend the ballroom teachers' college that focuses on the DVIDA syllabus.  ( I'll google for links when I can.)  Both of these last two options are probably a better fit for after you graduate and get a job. Both cost money.

In your shoes,so to speak, Becca, I'd probably go and take the cheap intro package at a local FADS and look around,to see what quality of instruction they offer.   If it's acceptable to you,apply for a job.   My $0.02.   Cool
« Last Edit: June 06, 2013, 02:28:24 PM by phoenix13 » Logged

Dona nobis pacem.
Posts: 3359

« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2013, 02:30:39 PM »

Here's a link to info about the ballroom teachers' college.  It's in Oakland, CA.

Dona nobis pacem.
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