Political Frustrations

My lesson got cancelled tonight due to hall issues because of the long weekend.  I really feel for Boss because when it comes to halls, he really has the worse luck.

Secretly I was a little relieved.  I went hiking with a friend earlier today and didn’t get a chance to nap after so I am feeling a little pooped.

Since I didn’t have a lesson today, and won’t have one until Thursday, I decided I will try to write a couple posts I have been hoping to write for a little while now.

The first one is about my frustrations with the current political situation in the dance world, or at least in my local area.

I don’t know how it is everywhere else, but here the local dancesport association seems to be at war with the national dance council.  It’s the competitors that are losing out with this.

What is happening is that every national dance council sanctioned competition is suddenly finding a dancesport competition pop up the week before it.  So essentially, competitors are being asked to choose which competition they want to support, and the competitive community, such that it is, is being divided meaning that each competition only has half the competitors and half the support.

I had an interesting conversation on the weekend with Boss and 2 of the local competitive couples and was surprised to learn that the competitive couples had little idea about how the politics were affecting things.  Each couple has 2 different coaches (one works with Boss and Instructor #2, the other a dancesport amateur couple) that represents the 2 different associations.  We started by discussing the situation in the US, which is different from here in Canada, where amateur competitors can teach full time and make a living without losing their amateur status.  It appears that whether one is pro or amateur is only a competitive choice.

In Canada, amateurs can teach once they have reached a certain point at the championship level, but they are limited in how much they can charge.

This means that amateurs can undercut the professionals by charging less and not having to necessarily rely on it for their living.  There doesn’t seem to be any limit on how much they can teach, only how much they can charge. I can see where it is such a source of frustration for the local pros here who are struggling to survive.

Going back to competitions, the divide between the organizations and multiple competitions appearing so close together (1 weekend apart) is making things hard for everyone.  The dancesport competitions don’t have pro/am, although one of them has a ‘student/teacher’ division, which to me is just pro/am in disguise.  If you teach and make money from dancing, you are a professional and your student is an amateur.  Being a pro/am competitor, which is a very very small part of the dance community here, the little bit of competition I could have expected seems to be dwindling in numbers as coaches are taking sides.

You can feel the divide in the community around here and it is unfortunate.  We used to have ‘dual-sanctioned’ competitions, but that isn’t possible anymore.  Competitors are being asked to choose, or belong to both organizations.  I feel like everyone is losing out in the end.

I am just a lowly pro/am competitor, who doesn’t benefit really from either association and doesn’t even have to belong to one association or both to compete, but I still feel the pressure building.

The province where I live has a very strong amateur competitive community and little respect for pro/am competitors.  I used to belong to the local dancesport association, but left it after I attended an AGM and was told plainly that if they didn’t need pro/am competitors to fund their competitions, they wouldn’t have pro/am events.  As a pro/am competitor, I am NOT responsible for subsidizing amateur dancing.  Unfortunately, more and more that seems the way things are.

I was talking about the upcoming competition with one of the local amateur couples and they were complaining that in order to compete at the same competition they would have to pay $100 for membership in the National association, bringing their entire total for entries to $150.  I can sympathize, but at the same time, for me to dance 1/2 as many dances as they could, it cost me very close to 4 figures–almost 10 times more.

As the political frustrations grow, so too does it make it harder to swallow the costs.  As less amateur couples compete at each comp, I can easily see the prices for pro/am entries going up.

I am sorry for a bit of a long rant, but sometimes the best way to get frustrations out is to voice them and move on. I know not everyone will agree with my assessment of the situation, but it is my own assessment and my opinion and what I am seeing as a pro/am competitor, so I hope you can forgive me if you don’t agree.

I hope the situation isn’t as heated or as bad where you are, and that the ‘politicking’ isn’t causing pressure.

I just want to be able to afford to dance as much as possible wherever the opportunities may be without worrying about who is sanctioning what, who is supporting it and where it is.

Especially with my health over the last year, I guess I am feeling this a little more than I need to. Having to cut back on dance and especially competing for my health I am very aware of every opportunity I miss, and to see people fighting and dividing the dance community over extra competitions that are in direct competition with each other hits me very hard.

I just want to compete and dance.


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