How to find a partner and build a partnership
“Finding your perfect dance partner is as important as finding your life partner”- any professional or really passionate dancer would say. In a context of social dances like WCS it means partner for routines, teaching, regular practice and performing. It can take time to find “the only one” that is right for you.
Important factors to consider:
- Feeling of comfort and being natural when dancing and being around this person. Understand what defines you as a dancer and person and think if you are able to be yourself while dancing or working with him/her. Sometimes you can feel chemistry from the first touch or dance but sometimes it takes time to adjust to each other.
- Body type. It is way more comfortable and easy if your body types match. It depends on your plans and goals- performing showcase differs from just teaching together, right?
- Discuss your plans and goals, how you see style of dancing and teaching of your couple, music choices for routines, how often you are able to take private lessons to improve.
- Make sure that the partner will have enough time, will be ready to invest money to reach goals, will be ready to overcome obstacles, that partner’s family supports his/her dance choices. And location, of course. If you want to build long-term partnership being in one city or at least in one country will help you a lot.
- Try to teach together group classes and privates: you will see if person has respect for you, if there is a trust, teamwork, support, humor, readiness to save each other’s back.
When you finally found the lucky one, next step is building a partnership. As I mentioned, perfect chemistry and mutual understanding without words might happen but I believe most of partnerships require work and patience.
I would give couple advices I find important:
- In a couple dancing 1+1=1. Leave your ego outside the door.
- Your partner should always feel that she/he is the best, the only one. Confidence builds trust. Support each other all the time, even when in conflict.
- Follower should understand that leading is difficult. The leader is thinking not only about his own technique but also about leading, about how to present his follower, how to build the structure of the dance. If the follower will keep it in mind she will be more patient and kind to her leader. Leader should understand why following is difficult- you trust your independence to your partner, you let your body follow leader’s choices, trying to stay humble. He is the action and she is the reaction.
- When in conflict, don’t judge but express your feelings and concerns in a polite way. Both people are responsible in a situation. Always ask your partner how you can help in order the move to work and to make him/her feel better.
- Before conflicting ask yourself if you want to be right or happy.
- Discuss detailed plan for practice and prepare before teaching lessons.
- Be open to a healthy critique. And before giving critique, compliment first.
- Be grateful, say ‘thank you’ each time you see your partner is trying to do what you’ve asked for.
- Appreciate and treat each practice as a gift, stay positive, smile, bring humor. Happiness is not a destination, but a journey.
- If you want your partner to do the move in different way, first try to do it by yourself, check if your request is doable.
- Be open-minded. Stiff mind will never let you improve and reach greatness.
- When in doubt or in conflict ask your coach or other high-level instructors for advice.
- Celebrate small wins together- if the hard move worked, if the lesson was good.
- If you want to dance with the better partner, be the better partner! Always improve your technique, attend classes, take privates, work on your stamina, appearance and stay kind, positive and motivated. Believe in yourself , in your partner and in couple. Be responsible for your part in the dance, for what you do and say.
- Have fun! Relax and go silly when feeling tired or stressed.
Lots of love,