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Have you watched the wildly successful television show “Dancing with the Stars” and thought, “Hey, I can do that?” If you are a serious ballroom dance student, and you thrive on competition, you will definitely want to compete in one or more of the over 50 competitions nationwide for Professional-Amateur couples, referred to as Pro-Am Couples and Pro-Am Competitions—the most popular way to get involved in ballroom dance competitions and the quickest way to.

As an amateur taking private lessons and dancing in competitions with a professional partner, you learn to dance and compete with a seasoned professional whose experience and expertise contributes directly to your success.


Beyond being your partner, your professional instructor acts as your coach and mentor, your cheerleader, advocate, and support in lessons and competitions. Together, you participate in Pro-Am competitions where you are judged against other Pro-Am couples, just as on “Dancing with the Stars.”

Staged at large hotels near urban areas, competitions typically take place over three to four consecutive days, with each day featuring a different style of dance—American Rhythm, American Smooth, International Latin, and International Standard. The judging panel consists of retired ballroom dance professionals who are certified as judges in all styles of ballroom dancing.

Pro-Am competitions are categorized by gender, age, and level of experience to make the competition floor fair and equal for everyone. For example, a fifty-year-old female student who has been taking lessons for three months competes in the Newcomer division against other women in the same age range.


Competitions start with the Newcomer division and a beginner’s level Bronze division, followed by the higher level Silver and Gold divisions. The final Pro-Am competitive events are the open scholarship dances that combine both female and male dancers to vie for monetary awards.

What is Pro/Am
in Ballroom Dancing/Am

When it comes to Ballroom Dance and DanceSport, you hear the expression Pro-Am a lot. I’m going to help define it for you here.

Pro-Am competition is a category in DanceSport where Amateur Students (You) partner with a Professional Dancer,  very similar to what you see on “Dancing With The Stars.” TV Show.


In these events only the Amateur (You)  is being judged, leaving the professional freedom to concentrate on helping You to look and dance at your very Best!


There are several Age classifications and Skill level divisions available, allowing professionals to dance with all their students, and to ensure you compete against other dancers only of a similar skill.


Every dance style is available, so you can choose the dances you want to compete in.

Have you been thinking about competing?

That’s great! Before you tell your teacher to send in those entry forms, let’s go over what you should expect as a student competitor, financially speaking. At a minimum, you will need to budget for the following:


Entry fees -- There are a variety of events /competitions you can enter as a student, and every single one comes with a fee - mostly $50 per dance


Pro fee -- you have to pay your teacher for dancing with you at the competition - $150 per dance


Pro expenses -- You are also responsible for covering your teacher’s session ticket, food, travel, and lodging. Luckily, this cost is split among all of the teacher’s competing students. 

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