What is Pro-Am in Ballroom Dancing ?

What is Pro-Am Dancing?

When we speak about ballroom dancing, we can speak about the social activity of dancing, dancing for pleasure and without any specific goal other than to enjoy and have fun. Also we can speak about the great dancers that we see in competitions and on TV usually performing figures that look magnificent and impossible for a regular amateur dancer. But we can also speak about the category of dancers that link the two above, Pro-Am Dancing.

As the name suggests, Pro-Am is a partnership formed of a professional dancer, and an amateur dancer. Very similar to the popular TV shows like BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing , or Dancing with the Stars, the purpose of this partnership is to give the amateur dancer an opportunity to experience the thrill of competitive dancing and have the expertise of the professional dancer and teacher. In this way the dancers have a great time on the dance floor and do their best as they are guided on and off the floor by a professional.

This type of dance competitions are relatively new to the dance industry, but rapidly growing in popularity in  UK, European,  US and Asian dance community. Competitions organisers are now introducing Pro Am sections for most of the events with a multitude of choice for the amateur dancers.

Sections and Entry Options

Pro Am Competitions are organised so that each individual dances in their prefered category. This is why most of the competitions are separated on Dance Styles, Age Groups, Level and Number of Dances.

Dance Styles

Most of the competitions offer Ballroom ( Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot, Viennese Waltz and Quickstep ) and Latin (Cha Cha Cha, Samba, Rumba, Paso Doble and Jive), as well as American Rhythm ( Cha Cha, Rumba, Swing, Bolero and Mambo) and Smooth ( Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot and Viennese Waltz ) and in addition to that, in some competitions you can participate in special styles such as Carriebean Mix Style ( Salsa, Bachata and Merengue) and Argentine Tango.

Number of Dances

By the number of dances that you dance at a time, the Pro Am competitions are: 

 – Single Dance Events: You can chose to dance a specific dance ( for example only Cha Cha or only Waltz and Quickstep)

 – Multi Dance Events: In this case you can chose to dance 2, 3, 4 or 5 dances at a time and be judged on them

 – Scholarship Events: In the scholarship event you must dance all the dances comprised in your chosen section ( for example for Ballroom you would need to dance all 5 dances, for American Smooth, all 4 dances in the section).

 – Championship Events: Same as in the Scholarship events, but the level of the Championship will always be higher and the competitors more experienced.

  – Team Match: In this type of event, the teams are comprised of a minimum of 2 or 3 couples ( depending on the organiser) that take turns dancing all the dances in the section.

Age Groups

The separation in the age groups is very much up to the competition organiser as is the style selection. Generally there are age groups for Under 16 or 25, 25 to 35 years, Over 35, Over 50s and Over 60 years. The more competitors, the bigger the separation of ages. We would advise to participate in competitions that have a better separation of the age groups, in this way you will test your dancing abilities against a fair competition. There are also Championship events that are not separated by age group, only by the dance style section.

Level

From a level perspective the competitions are separated by specific rules. It can be World Dance Council, ISTD, IDTA Rules, depending on the main organisation under which the competitions are organised. So, the levels can be:

 – Closed – Limited to the Syllabus Figures – which includes:

 Newcomer  | Pre Bronze  |  Bronze  |  Pre Silver  |  Silver  |  Pre Gold  |  Gold   |  Gold Star

 – Open  – Any figures allowed

Pro-Am is a great step in the evolution of Ballroom Dancing, a way for dancers of all ages to enjoy this sport, art even more and to challenge themselves in becoming the best possible dancers while having fun. If you are interested in starting your Pro-Am journey, contact Bogdan and Anna and they will help you dance your best.

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