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Pro vs Amateur

Updated: Dec 3, 2023

For those thinking about entering competitions there are traps to watch out for and there is allot of confusion surrounding this subject. Many questions include; am I an Amateur? am I a Pro? which is better, Amateur or Pro? Why are some teachers Amateur? This subject can be confusing for many because they assume this is based on a dancers level. The truth of the matter, is it's best explained as a "Status", Not a "Level" Just like marriage is a 'status' or a 'social standing'.




What is a Professional? If you get paid for dancing generally you are considered a 'pro', but anyone can 'choose' to go 'pro' regardless of income. Once you compete in a pro category generally you are then considered pro from that point onward. If you look at sports, this is very similar.


What is a Amateur?

If you are not being paid to teach or perform you are considered an Amateur. Normally you are being supported from a dance school which in turn helps your training. This is the best status to start with because its not as serious and you can focus on the joy of dancing much much more.

Misconceptions

The main misconception is Amateurs are lower level dancer than professional, this just isn't the case! Amateurs have more support and more time to focus on their own training and can often be better trained than many professionals. Amateurs can focus on the fun and enjoyment of the dance rather than Professionals who tend to stress much more, because its more about business.

Money for dance really is the main issue and the thinking behind each decision is different.


Why Stay Amateur?

To increase education in the dance scene, dance schools with a long running history are the best places for amateurs to get good support for their dancing, in turn this drives the level of dancing to a higher levels. So in other words, staying amateur and supporting dance schools is the best way to improve the dance styles you love and decreases cowboys in the dance industry.

We think its best to stay Amateur as long as possible and take advantage of this category. If you are considering competing overseas, you'll have a much better chance of success and enjoy your dancing to the greatest extent with the most amount of support and growth.

Going Pro

If you choose to go professional, or making money should be a calculated choice. Yes, this should be your own concious choice, and you shouldn't be pressured to enter a competition as a pro, based on your level, or to suit other peoples needs. Because unlike a marriage, going 'pro' is irreversible.

Watch out for the traps! These traps have caused unaware dancers in the past, and could automatically make you a permanent 'professional' when entering a competition, so do be aware. These include:

- Make money from dancing by performing or teaching etc - Being a Director or owner in a dance business - if you are being paid from a dance business for teaching or performing

- Decide to go out alone and start teaching people, yes even if its a non-profit. Going out alone, means you are not supported by a professional dance school and can often be an issue in smaller towns.


So why have a Pro & Am Split? A major focus difference when an amateur vs a professional views and pursues competition, i.e. fun vs business. This is a whole other article on its own. The pro & am status also helps protects the dance industry from cowboy teachers. Typical Cowboy teachers usually don't have enough knowledge in the dance, often teaching bad habits. They will confuse new dancers and can put new students off that dance style. There's also a higher risk of accidents, injury from bad technique & bad social etiquette taught. Simply put, this tends to lower the overall standard of the dance style in that area, and makes it less appealing to learn. However sometimes in smaller towns cowboys are needed, they also have a better chance of reaching out and gaining support from professionals and dance shools in other towns to help improve their training. When you have high level & highly successful dance schools the dance styles grow larger, like a snowball effect - dancers improve massively and more people are keen to learn to dance, it's a real win / win.


Quote from Masha

"Not many people have the desire to ever go professional as they have another career and have no interest in getting involved in teaching or any other form of earning money in dance. They just want to dance for the uplifting benefits it offers and they enjoy learning and perfecting choreographies. Nobody can be forced to change their status to professional." Masha Professional Dancer & World Salsa Champion


Quote from Billy Fajardo (The Summit - World Latin Competition) "Being professional is a status " & "Amateurs should be able to stay amateur until the day they die" it's a choice to go professional.


Article Written by Reuben "Professional Dancer"







Other dance & sports articles:

"To make the most rigorous distinction between a professional and an amateur in sports was, above all, an Anglo-Saxon axiom. At the turn of the twentieth century – and in sports like athletics, golf and tennis – such distinctions were made more from a societal point of view than anything else. Sports were the privilege of an upper class that could afford to practice them for pleasure only. Earning one’s living through dexterity, skills and physical virtues was considered inappropriate and “working class” not only in the United Kingdom of the Victorian era. Elsewhere too!"


"Both of amateur (AM) and professional golfer (PRO) certainly have major differences, which we can see it in the golf course. As you can see, these two kind of player’s status definitely has different quality and needs different treatment in the golf course. So, what’s the difference between professional player and amateur player?"



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