General Dance Discussion > (Dance) Partners: for better or worse

Discussion in 'General Dance Discussion' started by elisedance, Sep 6, 2007.

  1. Andreth

    Andreth Member

    That's right, TC, counting those hovers! ;) I'll check with DP on changing the commenting settings since he's the blog admin, but that sounds like a good idea anyways. Yeah, we argue plenty, but it hasn't escalated to a real "fight" yet...fingers crossed. One of our dance friends who practices with us commented the other day that he just noticed that we never fight like everyone else does; he thought that was pretty odd.

    Now I'm running off to check out the other two blogs. :)
  2. Andreth

    Andreth Member

    Ask and ye shall receive; DP just fixed it for you. :) He had set it that way to discourage spam bots, but we'll give it a try to see how it goes.
  3. Terpsichorean Clod

    Terpsichorean Clod Well-Known Member

    Dance blogs ;)
    Huzzah! Thanks! :grin:

    I think if spam is a concern, you can require posts to be moderated before becoming visible.
  4. s2k

    s2k Well-Known Member

    I can't believe in five years no one has added to this thread!
  5. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    feel free :)
    Lioness likes this.
  6. MaggieMoves

    MaggieMoves Well-Known Member

    Here are some recent frustrations of mine with a now ex partner.

    1. Late. Constantly. Regardless of how much later we pushed things back there were always things interfering.

    2. Only wanted to do coaching sessions within the studio that he went to. He was very close minded about trying other places. That segways into the next point...

    3. Only wanted to practice in his studio. Tried on numerous occasions to get him to use the studio at my gym which was never used.

    Good riddance.
  7. Rhythmdancer

    Rhythmdancer Well-Known Member

    I just lost a dance partner. It's kind of good because I was working harder and progressing more to the point that it would have looked like Pro-Am. The downside is obviously the search for a new one.
  8. Mr 4 styles

    Mr 4 styles Well-Known Member

    MaggieMoves likes this.
  9. nikkitta

    nikkitta Well-Known Member

    just my opinion, but I feel like we as followers tend to put up with more <stuff> for a longer period of time because it is so difficult to find a partner in the first place o_O
  10. MaggieMoves

    MaggieMoves Well-Known Member

    OreganO, Mr 4 styles, s2k and 2 others like this.
  11. Dancing Irishman

    Dancing Irishman Well-Known Member

    Idk. Everyone's got quirks, and I think we're all a little blind to our own that make us difficult to deal with. I know I put up with quite a bit from my partner, but also that changing what I don't like about someone would probably kill the parts of their personality I find amazing in the process, so I don't try to change my partner. And I'm not sure if I want to find out what she hates about me and wants to see change.

    Example: punctuality is just not her strong suit. It's totally liveable, and part and parcel of her spontaneous and slightly distractable personality that causes her to come up with cool variations while tinkering around in practice (and makes her almost always hilarious to talk to).
    ocean-daughter likes this.
  12. newbie

    newbie Well-Known Member

    We were beginners. She did not choose me, neither did I, the teacher paired us. I can still remember the reluctance in her eyes, and the frown. "Does it have to be him?"
    As for the thirst of learning we were on the same page though. Seven months later we joined the advanced class, which usually takes four years.
    I remember one day I was very late and she was rehearsing the sequence with another leader and when I entered the room she pushed the guy and ran to me.
    When the teachers were explaining something for too long she would stand by my side and rest her head on my shoulder. When I made a mistake she would stick out her tongue at me. When she made a mistake I would pat her nose with my finger.

    All I knew from her for all these years were her shoe size, first name, and heigth.
  13. OreganO

    OreganO Member

    This seems like the perfect place to get some partner advice! Background: I started ballroom in undergrad and always danced with a senior so got accustomed to year-length partnerships. At the time, I trained in the American styles and had a minuscule bit of training in standard.

    Now: I've been dancing with an Am standard lead for the past year, who is self-reportedly advanced silver/early gold. When we started out, I had a lot to learn, having really only ever danced Am-Am newcomer standard, but I dedicated time to catching up. He took this summer off from dancing to do research, while I started taking gold standard classes-we had been taking silver prior. This fall, we've been practicing together and it's been unpleasant. When something doesn't work, he lays the blame on me. I am more than willing to accept responsibility, however, I know that it can't all be me because I have not had these issues with other leads (bronze-gold) in classes this past year. My instructors are good about bluntly communicating when I'm doing something wrong and helping to find solutions. I trust that they would have pointed out any "fatal" flaws (that they haven't already) so I could work on them. Prior to this summer, I felt like this partnership had done a decent job of problem-solving, or perhaps I hadn't noticed since I was busy playing catch-up.

    This new pattern of behavior plus difficulty finding time to practice (his wife is in a different state doing a residency so he's rarely in the area), and a difference in approaches (I'd prefer to be simple with clean technique, he'd rather work the complex figures, so we do complex figures) is making me question whether I want to continue with this partnership. Being used to one year partnerships, I want to make sure I'm not just giving up because things got real, as they do when you spend a while together.

    I'd greatly appreciate some outside perspective!
  14. raindance

    raindance Well-Known Member

    Sounds to me like it's time to have a good talk about what you each want out of the partnership, and how to improve it for both of you.

    You can discuss criticism, and how to handle it when one partner thinks the other one "needs to fix something." There are different ways to approach this, from let's leave it alone for now and ask the teacher at the next lesson, to talking things through and trying things different ways to problems solve together. (Discuss this in general ... at the moment you are the one getting the criticism/blame, but in the future you may see things you wish he would fix. So pick a way to handle it that works both ways.)

    Ideally, you want to avoid situations where either person feels attacked, or where either person feels they need to go on the defensive. This is true regardless of who is ahead or behind the other technically. Aim for mutual respect, and for both acting as if you realize you are both on the same team.

    You might try both reading the book "Ballroom Dancing is Not for Sissies" as it goes through a lot of partnership and communication issues.

    From what you describe, a lot may depend on how open he is to your input, and how open he is to working on communication within the partnership. It also depends on what your other prospects are for partnerships, to some degree. If he's not available as much as you would like, and there is someone else who is a better fit for your schedule and goals, then it may be time to consider a switch. If you think you'd have trouble finding another partner, then working things through with this one likely becomes your best bet.

    If you can find the right partner (whether this one or another one), there are some real benefits to longer term partnerships. Making a longer partnership work takes a commitment to good communication and working together.

    As for simple vs complex figures, perhaps you can compromise and at least work on both? Maybe have one wall of each routine be simpler figures, or have simpler routines for warmup, or alternate what you work on from one practice to the next, or something like that?

    Good luck, let us know how it goes.
    stash, OreganO and Borazine like this.
  15. OreganO

    OreganO Member

    Thanks raindance! I'm definitely planning on checking in regarding goals and communication again. I suspect things have changed-both of us have made some major life changes since we last touched base on this (as evidenced by the change in communicative styles). I personally prefer to mend fences as there aren't many available, long-term lead options that are a good match for me at the moment.

    I love that you recommended "Ballroom Dancing is Not for Sissies." This has been on my to-read list!
    raindance likes this.
  16. s2k

    s2k Well-Known Member

    Something else to consider are those two things right there. He's obviously in or about to start WRITING MODE, to write up all that research he did, plus his marriage is suddenly a long-distant relationship.

    I'm willing to bet he's coming to practice with a layer of frustration and aggravation about those things, and that's why you haven't "seen" this side of him before - he didn't have these struggles last year. Sounds like there's little he has control over in the moment, except you. So that could be why everything is "all your fault." He's lashing out at you because you're the closest thing he's got that he can lash out at.

    Since you mention there's not that many options, then I agree, you should try and work this out, and if he is normally "worth it" in terms of everything else - you mentioned that you thought the partnership used to handle stress well - if he's got other things going for him, maybe you could reach out in a way that acknowledges his stress without allowing him to turn you into his punching bag.

    Good luck!
    stash and OreganO like this.
  17. Dancing Irishman

    Dancing Irishman Well-Known Member

    Another thought: can you suggest to your coach making "how to communicate during practice" a part of your next lesson, without your partner knowing? The indirect route for defusing a difficult situation is often much more successful than the direct route, especially dealing with people under a lot of stress. The worst thing you can do: say "hey, I think you're lashing out at me in practice because you're under a lot of stress. Can you stop?"

    For what it's worth, my partner and I have an operating rule of basically not commenting on what the other is doing in practice, unless asked (my partner knows I know all of her foot timings because I'm our team's nerd / walking computer, so she'll sometimes ask for those). You and your partner are not pros, you both have plenty of your own junk to sort out - and you can only tackle 1 or 2 topics at a time so sometimes one thing will slip while you sort out another thing (e.g. my arms do some weird things when I'm sorting out my body rhythms - trying to keep that from happening would keep me from getting the rhythms into my body).
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2016
    OreganO, raindance and Borazine like this.
  18. RiseNFall

    RiseNFall Well-Known Member

    Just curious, how can that work when there is leading and following going on?
  19. Dancing Irishman

    Dancing Irishman Well-Known Member

    Turning the question around, does leading and following require speaking?

    Note: very different am/am vs pro/am, potentially. Partner and I are am/am.
  20. RiseNFall

    RiseNFall Well-Known Member

    Well, it does when it isn't working! I dance with amateurs, too. If I'm not clear about a lead, or if something doesn't feel right and I don't know why, I always phrase my question/comment in a neutral way, so it might fall into your "only comment on what the other person is doing if asked" criteria.

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