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Author Topic: Raison d'être of a partnership  (Read 534 times)
Some guy
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« on: July 18, 2014, 01:05:43 PM »

I get how in Pro-Am there might be the feeling that the pro's main driving force is not the enjoyment of dancing with his/her am partners, but realistically, how many partnerships are there where the partnership is about the... well.. partnership?

In my experience, most amateurs, even pros, are dancing with whoever they're dancing with because that's the best they could get their hands on.  If a better prospect presents themselves, the partner will be gone in a heartbeat.  That means that it's the results and placing that takes center stage, while dancing with someone you like to dance with is... these days, a rare bonus.  This doesn't refer to the partnerships where there is romantic involvement, obviously, but those are not what I'm referring to.

It's interesting what EE said in another thread about the reason she's not dancing pro-am.  Coincidentally, it's the reason I'm not dancing am-am.  I want a partner who wants to dance with me, not use me as a means to an end.  To me, it's about the dancing and the enjoyment of it.  Most people who ask me to dance are only doing so because they're thinking about the potential in terms of placing and performance.  It has NOTHING to do with who I am, what my philosophy is on dancing, what I define as "dancing", what makes me enjoy it, or why I do it.  So I'm under no delusion to think that the person dancing with me is dancing because they want to dance with me.  It took me a while to realize what dancing is all about to me, and once I did that, the partnerships of yore didn't cut it for me.  So I guess I my point is, pro-am is driven by factors other than the partnership itself, but that's not very different from a lot of am-am partnerships is it?
« Last Edit: July 18, 2014, 03:56:03 PM by Some guy » Logged
elisedance
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ee


« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2014, 04:52:07 AM »

Hey, wanna dance? 

There is an additional difference between AM-Am and Pro-Am - at least in most cases: money.  At least in AM-AM you get together as a team to challenge other couples and you ultimately both have to make sacrifices for the partnership to survive, let alone succeed.  Thus, you have the feeling that its us against them.  Of course this is only the competitive aspect of dance, with respect to the artistic, emotional and, yes affectionate, aspects its not that different from pro-am.

In pro-am you are (usually) not even teaming up to challenge other couples.  The whole way its set up is that the pro is an expert dancer and you are a relative beginner - that's why they call you a 'student'. It would not matter if you had just retired as the world AM chamption, once you started dancing with a self-styled pro you would automatically be a 'student' to their perfection.  Often the pros go even further and distance themselves from their AM partners to make it very clear who the expert is.  They talk about 'their student did very well' which I think is insulting since it demeans the ability of the AM to allow the pro to dance.  IMO an amateur should be referred to as a student while they are in syllabus but once they reach championship level they should be referred to as an AM partner, to recognize their achievement and individual skills. 

This is of course a generalization there are also wonderful pro-am partnerships where there is clearly a mutual respect but even there the partnership only survives as long as the pocketbook is fed.  This is a reality that one can not get away from, at least I can't.  Thus, while AM couples dance together out of a mutual need to compete and perform, pro-am ones do so for that reason to varying degrees but also with the elephant-in-the-room of cash.

SG: I think what you are referring to is way onto another plane, and its dancing not dancesport.  What you need is a woman that appreciates and needs your artistry and expression and who feels likewise from you.  We say that finding a dance partner is far harder than finding a life-partner.  What you seek is both in the same person.  Oh, I wish so so much that I could find you that person because your dancing would be truly devine.  Think of the occasional couple that really click emotionally and dancewise - Luca and Lorraine (in earlier times of course), William Pino & Alessandra Bucciarelli etc

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elisedance
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ee


« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2014, 04:54:59 AM »

I should add the caveat that quite a lot of AM partnerships involve cash too.  The common example is the ace male dancer from an economically disadvantaged area that is imported and supported for the aspiring, and rich, female dancer.  Its not often talked about but really is a pro-am relationship.
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The limit of your love is also the limit of your art...
Some guy
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« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2014, 12:42:25 AM »

Precisely EE, I think that Pro-Am and Am-Am partnerships are there to offer very different things, none that you and I are looking for.  It's one thing to team up and take on the world if you are really part of a team.  Am-Am partnerships are also very similar, if you listen to the dialogue off the floor.  I think I can count on one finger… or less… how many times I've heard a partner compliment another behind their back.  Usually the attitude is that one person takes on the leadership role and berates and blames the other for all losses.  Those that don't do it in front of their partner do it behind their backs.  So EE, I think you're comparing the Pro-Am experience with a very idealistic Am-Am experience.  I'm looking for that idealistic experience because I believe it is out there, and I won't settle for less.  Unless there's a romantic involvement, maybe it's not even possible to have that kind of partnership.  I can't tell you how many amateurs will look at other amateur couples and wish they were dancing with the other half of that competition.  That's not team work, and that's not partnering up to take someone on.  That's just sad.  Maybe I'm jaded, but I'm surrounded by that, and that's all I've seen.  The only reason I would partner up with someone is if I like spending time with that person, and if I believe that together we can be a formidable team and help each other grow.  That's dancesport to me, not just dancing.  True, it's rare, because not very often do you find couples who play the long game in dancesport (and just because they've been together forever doesn't mean their playing the long-game), but I think the success of those that do speak for themselves, just like the very couples you mentioned.   

In Pro-Am, the elephant in the room is money, agreed.  In Am-Am, the elephant in the room is pretty much everything else, muddles strongly by the lack of a structure as clear as Pro-Am.  In Pro-Am, the good pros do put their reputation on the line, and it becomes a matter of who's the better teacher.  Yes, I've known some pretty horrid pros who distance themselves as far away from their student as possible, and that's maybe the norm, I don't know, but it's disgusting, I agree.  Strangely, I see that SAME mentality in Am-Am partnerships.  Maybe what you need EE is a pro who sees you and takes pride in his work, in his student, in his partner.  I know they're out there, there's one in Houston but he's too short for you (loves dancing with his students and it shows) but they are out there.  In Am-Am, I won't settle for anyone less than someone that sees me as a true partner, one that stands up for me behind my back and never uses the words "I" or "you" when expressing frustration or disappointment, or even elation.  Yes, it's a tall order, taller than most people have for life-partners, but somewhere down the line EE, just like me, you saw or got a taste for that, and we aren't settling for anything less.
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elisedance
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ee


« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2014, 06:13:29 AM »

What can I say? Yes.  I guess that covers it!

The first time I came to dancesport I had three serious partners, one of which was my spouse.  And you are right being married does not make much difference!  the other two were great experience but ended with abrupt depatures to 'move up', with not much mutual commitment there either.  And I think that highlights the problem: the main motivation for people who do dancesport is winning.  If that's so then dancing is just a means to that end and you have to position yourself so that you are 'best'.  I think I am a very competitive person by nature and winning was important for me - but it still takes a second role to the experience of ballroom dance, one that I can't get anywhere else.  That experience is not just moving across the floor together in physical harmony but doing so in emotional harmony too.  That's the part that seems elusive.  Where are the dancers for whom its dance that's #1 and winning #2?  If you have that you are winners in every comp regardless of your placeent.  Actually, I believe that it affects judges - at least the ones that count - when they see a couple that dances with real and not affected affection.

As far as Pros go I have had two really nice ones that are excellent dancers.  They give but only within the pro-am structure - that's not wrong, its just how it is.  But I end up realizing that I'm being danced with out of duty not desire.  I want the lead that feels a thrill when I follow a step sequence and generate a resulting dance-expression.  I think you understand.  I want a lead that loves to dance with me.

I wish there was  an alternative to dancesport to get top dancing - somewhere where the motivation is just that.  It may sound strange but that's exactly how it is in chamber music.  Four of us get together to play a Mozart quartet - and we play our hearts out with the single motivation of making music, harmonious music, together.  After we have tea and go home sated, each of us thrilled not only to have played but to have experienced the collective output. 

There, I want chamber-ballroom, not dancesport at all.
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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...
Some guy
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Posts: 1464


« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2014, 04:02:42 PM »

it still takes a second role to the experience of ballroom dance, one that I can't get anywhere else.  That experience is not just moving across the floor together in physical harmony but doing so in emotional harmony too.  That's the part that seems elusive.  Where are the dancers for whom its dance that's #1 and winning #2?  If you have that you are winners in every comp regardless of your placeent.  

But I end up realizing that I'm being danced with out of duty not desire.  I want the lead that feels a thrill when I follow a step sequence and generate a resulting dance-expression.  I think you understand.  I want a lead that loves to dance with me.

Music to my ears EE. Music to my ears...
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elisedance
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ee


« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2014, 06:09:05 PM »

it still takes a second role to the experience of ballroom dance, one that I can't get anywhere else.  That experience is not just moving across the floor together in physical harmony but doing so in emotional harmony too.  That's the part that seems elusive.  Where are the dancers for whom its dance that's #1 and winning #2?  If you have that you are winners in every comp regardless of your placeent. 

But I end up realizing that I'm being danced with out of duty not desire.  I want the lead that feels a thrill when I follow a step sequence and generate a resulting dance-expression.  I think you understand.  I want a lead that loves to dance with me.

Music to my ears EE. Music to my ears...
I only wish I could be music to your feet... Undecided
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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...
Some guy
Intermediate Silver
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Posts: 1464


« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2014, 11:34:08 AM »

I'm sure you will be!  Someday we gotta meet!
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elisedance
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ee


« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2014, 10:24:00 PM »

Preferably while I can still stand... I seem to remember that there may be something of a height mis-match though.  Not that that really maters...
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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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