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Author Topic: Blaming Your Dance Partner  (Read 11298 times)
catsmeow
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« on: April 16, 2009, 10:19:26 PM »

My wonderful partner and I have been dancing competitively for nearly ten years now. We have won our share of competitions and have graduated to pre champ level in latin and standard. It has come at a cost: my patience for learning new technique no longer exists and  if unable to repeat a newly learned concept in practice I walk away in frustration leaving my partner almost in tears. Worst of all however is that I start blaming her for my own shortcomings. I can admit this openly although in the heat of a dance argument my male ego knows no bounds. To advance further I  have to work together as a team .I am the lead not the leader.
Are there others that have had a similar experience and can share some insight? 
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QPO
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« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2009, 10:37:19 PM »

Gosh, I see can my own dance partners behavior is identical to yours and I can tell you we have not danced that long. I think it is frustration that causes this and you are obviously a perfectionist type. (you can correct me if I am wrong)

I was hoping that after a period of time things might get better but perhaps not..

I think you and others in your position must put things into perspective, and I am sure that is not easy...It is your love of dancing that gets you on the floor, if I saw you dance I would most probably stand in awe and think gosh will I ever dance like that.

Don't be so harsh on yourself and you will find that you will enjoy it more and the other will flow.

I thankyou for sharing your post with us. I know we can all learn from this self evaluation.

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Bordertangoman
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« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2009, 06:01:03 AM »

My wonderful partner and I have been dancing competitively for nearly ten years now. We have won our share of competitions and have graduated to pre champ level in latin and standard. It has come at a cost: my patience for learning new technique no longer exists and  if unable to repeat a newly learned concept in practice I walk away in frustration leaving my partner almost in tears. Worst of all however is that I start blaming her for my own shortcomings. I can admit this openly although in the heat of a dance argument my male ego knows no bounds. To advance further I  have to work together as a team .I am the lead not the leader.
Are there others that have had a similar experience and can share some insight? 

You should take up sailing; as a skipper the main role of the crew is to to be blamed for anything that goes wrong, unlike AT where gentlemanly conduct requires me to take responsibility for any fumbles on the dance floor.
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”We need a witness to our lives.  There's a billion people on the planet, what does any one life really mean? But in a marriage, you're promising to care about everything.  The good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things, all of it, all of the time, every day. "
Some guy
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Posts: 1465


« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2009, 12:56:31 PM »

Okay, so I'm sure I've ruffled a few feathers with that subject, but as a partnership I'm sure this happens fairly often.  I know I'm guilty of it and I'll be the first to admit it.

I would like to hear some ideas about how to avoid it and where to draw the line at avoiding it (I mean, nobody wants to be a doormat and "tolerate" a partner if indeed that partner is taking advantage of the fact that you don't hold them responsible for anything).  So I believe there exists the possibility that placing blame is the only way to proceed.

I know I've been blamed dozens of times for a myriad of issues.  I've done my fair share of initiating the blame-game too.  Of course there are numerous levels of blaming starting with the mild "discussion" to outright pointing of fingers.  Is there any way to focus on the positive and divert the blame away from your partner?  Some teachers have said to just concentrate on ourselves and not worry about what the other is doing.  But if the other person is throwing off your balance or causing you pain, how do you proceed without playing the blame game?!  Furthermore, how do you deal with it if you only see your coaches once every few months and you have lots of practice time between coaching sessions?! 
« Last Edit: April 23, 2009, 12:59:07 PM by Some guy » Logged
cornutt
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« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2009, 02:53:43 PM »

Good question.  In general, I don't have any brilliant ideas on this topic.  I have found that there are days when, for whatever reason, we have brain or body misfires that just make it impossible to do a certain thing.  When that happens, the best thing is usually to move on and try it again next practice, by which the problem may have solved itself. 

I have found a good technique for diagnosing missed leads.  It starts with me asking my partner, "What did you feel there?"  95% of the time she felt something other than what I intended, and in the vast majority of those, it's because of some bad habit I have picked up, or something else that I was not conscious of doing.  I make the appropriate adjustment, if I can figure it out, and we try again.  (Rule #1 for leads: A good follower will usually follow.)  Occasionally, there's a situation where the lead contradicts the way she thinks the step is supposed to be done.  Usually you need an instructor to sort those out.  Or at least I do; it may be that the follow was taught the step wrong, or that she is taking a shortcut because of some difficulty.  Sometimes, other learning material such as instructional videos can help.

I make it a point not to comment on follower's styling, unless it's hindering me in some way.  I figure that her styling is hers; she knows what works best for her, and I don't need to mess with it.  If I'm asked, I'll offer an opinion, but otherwise I keep my trap shut on that subject. 

Where situations sometimes get sticky is when a follow doesn't want to do a certain step or sequence because she dislikes it.  I don't generally have strong opinions on particular steps one way or the other, but the desire to want to change a step can really foul up a routine, or cause the lead's role to be greatly diminished.  It's one thing if the step is physically uncomfortable or painful to do -- any good lead should agree to adjustments in that case.  But if it's a case of "I just don't like that", and I do happen to like it, then I may stick to my guns more.  I'll offer to make adjustments if we can keep the basic idea intact.  But no, I'm not agreeing to take it out just because you are having a hard time learning it, or because your mom thinks it's slutty, or whatever. 
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Some guy
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« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2009, 03:58:53 PM »

Thanks Cornutt!  I wish I had your patience and approach.  You laid things out very matter-of-factly and got me thinking: I think one of the most dangerous things, something I'm trying hard to let go of, is my ego.  Whenever my partner complains or blames me for something, my ego starts to rant: "this is what my coach taught me, this is what I paid beaucoups of money for, this is what my coach told me I do well, so when you tell me that it doesn't feel right I don't think I'm the one who's 100% wrong".  Of course, I'm not such an "asset"-hole, or maybe I am, you need to ask my partner, but at the end of the day it's almost like our egos make it a bigger deal than it really is because the underlying issue is usually very minor. 

It's hard to leave out a step that doesn't feel good because most of the time the pattern/position is integral to the dance.  For example reverse turns in a Viennese Waltz (which is notorious for causing neck pains for the ladies),

What I find hard to reconcile is the fact that as a partnership, we're working towards the same goal, we both want to improve and we both want to feel good about our dancing.  It seems like, for all intensive purposes, we're both heading in the same direction.  If that's the case, why are there so many conflicts?  If we're both headed in the same direction, so to speak, could it be that the blame game is a misdirected reaction to outside forces not in our control?  I just find it hard to understand why two people working towards the same goal will clash so often (as dance partners do). 

Is there any way to ban "blame" from the dance equation?  I might be wishing for too much here.   Undecided

By the way, I loved this one:
I'll offer to make adjustments if we can keep the basic idea intact.  But no, I'm not agreeing to take it out just because you are having a hard time learning it, or because your mom thinks it's slutty, or whatever. 
« Last Edit: April 23, 2009, 04:00:52 PM by Some guy » Logged
waltzelf
Intermediate Bronze

Posts: 200


« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2009, 07:35:53 PM »

This one is easy.

Don't use the word "you"


Use the word "we". We should try this, we should try that. I feel uncomfortable here because I think we have a problem maintaining centre through this specific turn.


The moment you start accusing someone they will get defensive.



As the leader it's also always helpful to remind yourself that if your partner is doing something that makes you uncomfortable, chances are it's because your lead is incorrect and you're putting her in the wrong position. I never blame my lady for anything.
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elisedance
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« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2009, 10:14:20 PM »

we is better - but you can still say it in a way that makes it clear that 'we' is actually 'you' so you need to use some tact too. 

Quote
  I never blame my lady for anything.

thats the way to go - and hopefully she has the reciprocal attitude.

You can ge miles by saying 'I'm going to try this approach this time'.  Its amazing how much you can change in both partner's dancing with that statement....
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catsmeow
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« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2009, 10:19:39 PM »

I would like to hear from waltelf's partner to see if he really doesnt blame her for anything.
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Rugby
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« Reply #9 on: April 23, 2009, 10:29:35 PM »

Of course, we all do.  Its the frustration of dancing and it seems to get worse the higher you go.  So much time and money is at stake that we forget why we started in the first place.  I doubt anyone could say they have not gotten angry or blamed their partner at one time or another.
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Everyone tries to rush up through the syllabus levles and think once they are at the top they have arrived.  What they don't realize is that by doing this it is like skimming through a book, you may get the gist but you will never understand the story.
Rugby
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« Reply #10 on: April 24, 2009, 12:10:31 AM »

Sorry for any confusion everyone but rather than having the same topic on two boards I felt it better that we merge them into one. I wanted to keep the title of Blaming Your Dance Partner but now it has gone under catsmeow instead of Some Guy.  Elisedance may be able to correct this.
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Everyone tries to rush up through the syllabus levles and think once they are at the top they have arrived.  What they don't realize is that by doing this it is like skimming through a book, you may get the gist but you will never understand the story.
pruthe
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Posts: 274



« Reply #11 on: April 24, 2009, 08:05:23 AM »

Well, I used to practice with my wife and for some reason it would always degenerate into a blame game. It's pretty easy to do so if you are not watching out for it. I've been practicing with some other ladies at studio lately (got OK from wife) and I'm really making an effort to keep my thoughts in check. I agree with Waltzelf that many times the problems are with way steps are being led. Even if lady is having problems doing her part, if man is leading properly, most of time lady will follow. When we encounter problems with a step, I try and determine what I'm doing on my part. Many times I'm able to determine what's wrong and make adjustments. If can't determine, we save problem steps for discussion later with coach. This approach seems to work well for both me and practice partners and we're making some good progress. Sometimes if run into problem step, partner will ask me what I feel from them or if I have any suggestions for their part. In this case, I try to give objective response in positive tone. But have to be careful doing this and if doesn't work, just say we'll save this problem for coach.
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"It's not what you do, but how you do it."

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A.S.
QPO
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Adelaide South Australia


« Reply #12 on: April 24, 2009, 09:32:17 AM »

I find that blaming each other is not the way to go and I know we all do think that from time to time even if we don't' say it on the outside....If you are both at the same level and experience in your dancing, it is a journey you are growing together. You cant expect the man to be a good leader they have to learn that. So then the women has to know that the leads aren't going to be strong.

Keep blame to a minimum be kind to each other. You are there because you love dancing and want to get better (In General)
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Dance is a delicate balance between perfection and beauty.  ~Author Unknown
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Beachbum
Intermediate Bronze

Posts: 177



« Reply #13 on: April 24, 2009, 09:50:35 AM »

What?  Huh  You mean all the mistakes are NOT my follow's fault?  Huh, imagine that...  Wink
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Yes.  Quite.
cornutt
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« Reply #14 on: April 24, 2009, 10:40:36 AM »

What?  Huh  You mean all the mistakes are NOT my follow's fault?  Huh, imagine that...  Wink

Let's us leads keep that to ourselves.   Grin  Seriously, my DW and I have developed a short list of things that we're allowed to remind each other of while on the floor.  For me, she can remind me to keep my shoulders down, maintain posture through the hips, and keep my head in the right direction.  For her, I can remind her to stay in my hand, and when doing rhythm, keep her right arm up (oddly, she doesn't have that problem in smooth). 
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