What is Pro-Am?
Pro-Am competition is a category in DanceSport where amateur students partner with a professional dancer, similar to what you see on “Dancing With The Stars.” In these events only the amateur is being judged, leaving the professional free to concentrate on helping you look and dance your best! There are several age classifications and level divisions available, allowing professionals to dance with all their students, and to ensure you compete against other dancers of similar skill. Every dance style is available, so you can choose the dances you want to compete in.
Each competition has slightly different age division breakdowns, and it is often possible to compete in a different age category. Pro-am age categories usually are:
-Pre-Teen: 12 & younger
-Adult B: 35-50
-Senior I: 50-70
-Senior II: 70+
Types of Competition
Pro-Am competitors choose which style(s) of dance they compete in. They may compete in 1, or many styles of dance. There are four major categories the dances are grouped into: International Latin (Cha-Cha-Cha, Samba, Rumba, Pasodoble & Jive), International Standard (Waltz, Tango, Viennese Waltz, Foxtrot & Quickstep), American Rhythm (Cha-Cha-Cha, Rumba, East Coast Swing, Bolero & Mambo) and American Smooth (Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot, Viennese Waltz).
Most pro-am competitors try group flights for their first competition. This is where you, your instructor, and other couples compete together on the competition floor. You enter a specific age and skill division. Your instructor will help you choose the level right for you.
Competitions are usually divided by ‘syllabus,’ meaning competitors are restricted to specific steps appropriate for their experience evel. Your instructor will teach you competition choreography in advance, to prepare you for your competition. The levels are: Newcomer, Pre-Bronze, Bronze, Full Bronze, Open Bronze, Pre-Silver, Silver, Full Silver, Open Silver, Pre-Gold, Gold, Full Gold, Open Gold, Novice, Pre-Champ & Open Championship.
In solo competition, you and your instructor are the only couple on the floor. Judges usually give you individual feedback, and mark you on a scale of 1-100. Your scores are compared with many other couples who dance solos during the competition. The top-marked solos re-dance at night, and scholarships are usually awarded to the top solos of the entire competition. Solos are great or dancers who have a particular song they love dancing to, or if you would like the judges individual feedback which you cannot get in group flights. Solos are limited to 2 minutes and 45 seconds, but choreography is unrestricted allowing for maximum artistic expression and showmanship. Solo events are exciting and often highly competitive.