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Author Topic: What makes a good dance partnership?  (Read 942 times)
elisedance
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« on: March 02, 2011, 02:22:32 AM »

A dance partner, when you don't have one it seems impossible to find and when you do you can cherrish them as much as any person in your life.  Indeed, it seems finding a committed dance partner is more difficult than a life partner (think about it Wink ). 

And its certainly not only about dancing.  We see fabulous dancing partnerships that bloom and blow like dessert flowers.  Their achievements may be stunning - but they do not make a lasting memory.  Couples that do not necessarily dance as well yet form lasting impressions by their persistence and gradual evolution - and dance is an expression of character so we gradually get to know them as danc-floor friends and look for them at each event or competition.  Indeed, when a partnership that we love breaks up it can be as moving or more so as for a life-partnership.  [Of course many dance partners are also life partners]

So what is good/useful/essential to make this work? 

Please try to put only one element in each post - it makes it easier to discuss.
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millitiz
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« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2011, 10:38:52 AM »

I think one of the big thing is how one deals with failure, with loosing in competition.

I remember some said that in the US, couples danced together, and once the result was dissatisfied, they broke. Whereas European couples would dance with each other for 10,15 years (The Example the person used was Mirko and Alessia).

Also, I remember reading an interview of Bryan and Carmen, and they said that before the tryout, Bryan faxed Carmen 4 pages of questionaire - mostly dealing with, what will you do if you loose?
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elisedance
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« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2011, 11:21:28 AM »

I think how you deal with failure is more a symptom of the partnership, not so much a feature of it.  Its really an aspect of committment and committment is an aspect of goals.  From my own experience I think a common goal is the most important factor.  Goals are sometimes underrated but most people do know how much they want to invest in something and if there is a mismatch there will inevitably be a breakdown as one becomes more demanding and the other resists.

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millitiz
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« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2011, 02:16:29 PM »

I think how you deal with failure is more a symptom of the partnership, not so much a feature of it.  Its really an aspect of committment and committment is an aspect of goals.  From my own experience I think a common goal is the most important factor.  Goals are sometimes underrated but most people do know how much they want to invest in something and if there is a mismatch there will inevitably be a breakdown as one becomes more demanding and the other resists.


I think I both agree and disagree with you. I view the goal as a prerequisition. If the couple doesn't have the same, or at least similar goal - then sooner or later the partnership would break up, as you said. However, IMHO, having the same goal does not mean that things are ok.

And I think I am going to give a counterexample here. I heard that the top US dancers change their partnership a lot (if they don't have a good result) compare to their European counterparts. Do they have the same goal? I bet so. People getting to that tier are all hard working and talented, and probably had the same goal of winning. Yet people break up. And yes, orignially I was thinking to say commitment and goal - but then I realized that here is a counterexample. So I decided to say something else.

I guess the question I have is, how do we define the term "good dance partnership?" Especially the "good" part. For instance, if two casual dancers dance together, and had fun, they laugh, enjoy their dancing, but didn't improve a lot (if any) - will we consider this to be a good partnership? On the other had, if say, there is this professional couple, that their income and life and pride all depend on the result of the competitions, and they work hard (and most likely having more "heated discussion"), they treated the partnership more or less like business - do we consider this to be a good or a bad partnership? How do we measure it?
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elisedance
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« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2011, 04:02:12 PM »

You're right - the same goal may be a prerequisite, but it certainly does not guarantee success.  One big problem is that often there is a mismatch in reality - one or other partner has delusions as to their abilities.  Such people (who think they are much more able than they really are) are very prone to changing partners, always looking for the one that will complement their abilities.  When things dont work out they naturally blame the partner for not being up to their own high standard.

And yes, 'good' has to be defined for each partnershp.  This came up on another topic (results of Pdoodlers I think) where good for a pro and for a social dancer are totally different beasts - but within a particular genre they are definable.  In my own (senior competition dancing) stability, reality, reliability, surely rank up there with competition success.  Who wants to hang out with a jerk just to get a blue ribbon once every 3 months?  If you are chasing a world record then, well yes, you might well put up with a sociopath for a while!
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Rugby
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« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2011, 10:10:07 PM »

You're right - the same goal may be a prerequisite, but it certainly does not guarantee success.  One big problem is that often there is a mismatch in reality - one or other partner has delusions as to their abilities.  Such people (who think they are much more able than they really are) are very prone to changing partners, always looking for the one that will complement their abilities.  When things dont work out they naturally blame the partner for not being up to their own high standard.

And yes, 'good' has to be defined for each partnershp.  This came up on another topic (results of Pdoodlers I think) where good for a pro and for a social dancer are totally different beasts - but within a particular genre they are definable.  In my own (senior competition dancing) stability, reality, reliability, surely rank up there with competition success.  Who wants to hang out with a jerk just to get a blue ribbon once every 3 months?  If you are chasing a world record then, well yes, you might well put up with a sociopath for a while!
These people are just seen as a jerks that have won big competitions but still jerks.  In the end these people think others will be awed by and respect them because they are a champion or some such thing.  In reality the adoration and respect these people are looking for ultimately eludes them since other people just see them as not a champion but a big blowhard and roll their eyes when they walk away.  These people think people are awwing over their wins, or pointing them out to other people to say how great they are but what is almost always thought or said is "oh, nobody listens to them", or "they are just a legend in their own mind", or "don't go by what they say, they think they know everything and are too good for everyone" is often the comments made.
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elisedance
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« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2011, 03:27:19 AM »

You're right - the same goal may be a prerequisite, but it certainly does not guarantee success.  One big problem is that often there is a mismatch in reality - one or other partner has delusions as to their abilities.  Such people (who think they are much more able than they really are) are very prone to changing partners, always looking for the one that will complement their abilities.  When things dont work out they naturally blame the partner for not being up to their own high standard.

And yes, 'good' has to be defined for each partnershp.  This came up on another topic (results of Pdoodlers I think) where good for a pro and for a social dancer are totally different beasts - but within a particular genre they are definable.  In my own (senior competition dancing) stability, reality, reliability, surely rank up there with competition success.  Who wants to hang out with a jerk just to get a blue ribbon once every 3 months?  If you are chasing a world record then, well yes, you might well put up with a sociopath for a while!
These people are just seen as a jerks that have won big competitions but still jerks.  In the end these people think others will be awed by and respect them because they are a champion or some such thing.  In reality the adoration and respect these people are looking for ultimately eludes them since other people just see them as not a champion but a big blowhard and roll their eyes when they walk away.  These people think people are awwing over their wins, or pointing them out to other people to say how great they are but what is almost always thought or said is "oh, nobody listens to them", or "they are just a legend in their own mind", or "don't go by what they say, they think they know everything and are too good for everyone" is often the comments made.

But I think you miss part of my point - its a general one.  In any form of achievement the closer you get to the cutting edge the less personality really matters.  It is not of primary important if Picasso, Einsten, Tiger Woods or Martha Graham for that matter were nice people or jerks, we put that aside for their amazing contributions.  The same is true in dancesport - if someone is truly a genius at it then personality takes second stage and (as I see it at least) you can apply that down the ladder - there is a ballance between tollerance of jerkness against achievement. 

Put it another way, suppose you were 25, had trained to perfection so that you were in the top 6 women in the world - and you had the chance to dance with a potential world champion - who was also a total jerk - would you do it?  I'm sure I would have - held my nose and danced.
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millitiz
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« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2011, 11:50:45 AM »

You're right - the same goal may be a prerequisite, but it certainly does not guarantee success.  One big problem is that often there is a mismatch in reality - one or other partner has delusions as to their abilities.  Such people (who think they are much more able than they really are) are very prone to changing partners, always looking for the one that will complement their abilities.  When things dont work out they naturally blame the partner for not being up to their own high standard.

And yes, 'good' has to be defined for each partnershp.  This came up on another topic (results of Pdoodlers I think) where good for a pro and for a social dancer are totally different beasts - but within a particular genre they are definable.  In my own (senior competition dancing) stability, reality, reliability, surely rank up there with competition success.  Who wants to hang out with a jerk just to get a blue ribbon once every 3 months?  If you are chasing a world record then, well yes, you might well put up with a sociopath for a while!

Now I see your point - and indeed, breaking up often, from your description became the Syndrome instead of the reason. Slightly off topic - but I think in order to fix it, someone need to smack their faces - to wake them up =D.

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elisedance
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« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2011, 01:19:23 PM »

... breaking up often, from your description became the Syndrome instead of the reason. Slightly off topic - but I think in order to fix it, someone need to smack their faces - to wake them up =D.

Right on.

Maybe we could provide a face-smacking-reality-service? Grin

I bet we would not be able to keep up with demand....
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GreenEyes26
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« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2011, 06:42:56 PM »

I think one of the big thing is how one deals with failure, with loosing in competition.

Also, I remember reading an interview of Bryan and Carmen, and they said that before the tryout, Bryan faxed Carmen 4 pages of questionaire - mostly dealing with, what will you do if you loose?


I think one of the big thing is how one deals with failure, with loosing in competition.

Also, I remember reading an interview of Bryan and Carmen, and they said that before the tryout, Bryan faxed Carmen 4 pages of questionaire - mostly dealing with, what will you do if you loose?


I agree with this, and that's interesting about Bryan and Carmen.

The interesting thing about partnerships is that people can be shaped. I remember when I first started dancing with a partner, my goal was just to "brush up on steps." That was not my partner's goal at all. However, I gradually started taking professional lessons and caring about technique. Now, almost two years later, dancing is my life. So I agree that goals are important, but something to keep in mind is that nothing is permanent Smiley. Things could go in the other direction, too, if someone loses interest.

One other characteristic I value is partner chemistry. For me, this is important. I haven't completely separated my feelings from my dancing yet, so in order for my dancing to look good, I have to be able to look at and interact with my partner. If he doesn't...I kind of lose myself and my focus. My dancing then becomes more internal, and that's no good. Chemistry can't be #1, though, because if the partner doesn't have similar goals, the couple probably won't last. Chemistry can also be developed if you give it time. I think it's that icing on the cake - similar goals will get you far, but chemistry/partner connection is the bonus that gets you to the top.
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elisedance
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« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2011, 08:10:08 PM »

Agreed: if you expect chemistry from the beginning you are probably looking for a life, not a dance partner!  And yes, it does develop.  You grow into each other with the discoveries of reciprocal actions.  I've often been amazed when I add a head or body action how my partner suddenly becomes more musical or mobile.  I think thats one of the core wonders of a dance partnership, that journey of discovery to what you can give each other.

Surely, thats one of the main reasons it becomes very hard to even think of changin.  Even if your competition goals are not being met, your investment and synergy in dancing goals more than makes up for it.
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millitiz
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« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2011, 01:23:55 AM »


I agree with this, and that's interesting about Bryan and Carmen.

The interesting thing about partnerships is that people can be shaped. I remember when I first started dancing with a partner, my goal was just to "brush up on steps." That was not my partner's goal at all. However, I gradually started taking professional lessons and caring about technique. Now, almost two years later, dancing is my life. So I agree that goals are important, but something to keep in mind is that nothing is permanent Smiley. Things could go in the other direction, too, if someone loses interest.

One other characteristic I value is partner chemistry. For me, this is important. I haven't completely separated my feelings from my dancing yet, so in order for my dancing to look good, I have to be able to look at and interact with my partner. If he doesn't...I kind of lose myself and my focus. My dancing then becomes more internal, and that's no good. Chemistry can't be #1, though, because if the partner doesn't have similar goals, the couple probably won't last. Chemistry can also be developed if you give it time. I think it's that icing on the cake - similar goals will get you far, but chemistry/partner connection is the bonus that gets you to the top.

I am quite interested in why your first partner actually decided to dance with you while your goals were different =).

The part of chemistry is quite interesting. And I think that is why many dancers would date each others.
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« Reply #12 on: March 06, 2011, 02:15:52 AM »

I think that they point given abut Bryan and Carmen is a god one. 

You must be on the same page (so to speak), there will be differences in how you are going to get there but compromise, and not in a negative way.Your partner may come up with ways that you had not thought about that will improve your dancing.

My husband and I have been very fortunate in a very short time to have had success.(before injury) and I think part of that is we had the same goals and development needs (we were both beginners).

But I do know that sometimes partnerships outgrow each other to then it is time to move on. If you are married this can be difficult but I know of many married couples that don't dance with each other...and are still married Shocked

so a good understanding of your goals and how you are going to achieve them is a very good start.

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elisedance
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ee


« Reply #13 on: March 06, 2011, 03:29:54 AM »

Tollerance.

Good for any partnership - and crucial for ballroom.  When your partner seems to have the most lunatic solution for what ails your dancing, you have to be tollerant.  Go with it - and then let your coach sort it out.  I suppose no one has quite enough - I can certainly be headstrong and I'm embarassed how many times DP's crazy ideas turned out to be right on.  I hope he thinks the same of me Smiley
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If you must leave the house, go build a home...

The limit of your love is also the limit of your art...
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