So Exactly What Is Pro-Am?

Anya & Maxim

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. I would like to give credit to Dance Zone USA for their explanation in helping to explain Pro-Am in easy terms and so well, I could not have done it any better.

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.

Age Categories:

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 broken down this way:

Pre-Teen: 12 and younger

Junior: 13 – 15

Youth: 16 – 18

Adult: 18 – 35

Adult B: 35 – 50

Senior I: 50 – 70

Senior II: 70+

Dance Styles:

Pro-Am competitors choose which style(s) of dance they compete in. They may compete in one, or many styles of dance. There are four major categories the dances are grouped into: International Latin (Cha-Cha-Cha, Samba, Rumba, Paso doble and Jive), International Standard (Waltz, Tango, Viennese Waltz, Foxtrot and Quickstep), American Rhythm (Cha-Cha-Cha, Rumba, East Coast Swing, Bolero & Mambo) and American Smooth (Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot, Viennese Waltz).

Singapore Open Dance Championship 2015

Group Flights:

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.

Skill Divisions:

Competitions are usually divided by ‘syllabus,’ meaning competitors are restricted to specific steps appropriate for their experience level. 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. If you perform steps that are not allowed for the level you compete in, then you can be disqualified.


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 also 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 for dancers who have a particular song they love dancing to, or if you would like the judges too give 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.

Now that you know what “Pro-Am” is, stay tuned for my next blog, Part 2, where I ask you some questions about Pro-Am, what it takes to compete and more about the competitions!

Thought Of The Week:

Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues but the parent of all other virtues



Shane Meuwissen is the Media Specialist for Fordney Foundation.  He is a former dance instructor who know works with his company Slow Motion Dance Videos capture the beauty of dancing. If you would like to learn more about Shane and his video work, visit his website