General Dance Discussion > Rotating partners- is this a problem for some of you married men?

Discussion in 'General Dance Discussion' started by wiseman, Jul 16, 2010.

  1. DWise1

    DWise1 Well-Known Member

    As I've mentioned, I've seen it with certain specialized classes, such as Lindy aerials and Double Bug, as well as one ballroom instructor's workshop series (6 weeks each) for Viennese Waltz and Quickstep. In each of those cases, you had to have a partner just to get in; no signing up alone.

    Now, in the QS class, my partner came down with the flu partway through and was out for a few weeks, during which time I would learn and practice my part by myself, but then a foster couple would be assigned to me so that I could try it with a partner a few times.

    Oh, and one WCS teacher also required partners for one of her advanced classes.

    I would imagine that certain very advanced classes and classes for competition would also be likely be partner-required. Otherwise, "no partner required" does seem to be the norm, but then my view is biased by being involved with social dancers much more than with hard-core solid-metals (pun intended) ballies.

    @ Jenny: Performance classes! I completely forgot (or was trying to repress the memory)! In training for the performance we teamed up with a partner and stayed with that partner except for when the teacher or captain would order a specific rotation during a practice (eg, someone's partner wasn't there or the person is new and needs help learning the moves). Though again that is a special case, not a regular group class. The needs of the class dictate the presence and method of rotation.

    @DL: I also did a couple semesters of ballroom for PE (anything to get out of f***ing sports! -- back then (1969) PE was required every semester until you reached age 21, that requirement apparently intended to substitute for the prior requirement of two years ROTC for each male student; why else do you think that the ROTC armory was a favorite target of student protests?). I had already taken all the SCUBA classes they offered, to ballroom carried me through the rest of the way.

    In our case, the class rotated. But there wasn't any competition or performance training intended, only introduction to social dancing.
  2. wiseman

    wiseman New Member

    Yes, and for anybody else that doesn't like it. I have no problem paying the $75-80 an hour for a private lesson because I know I'm going to get my money's worth. But I don't want to learn dancing with just one person. So, I go to group lessons as well so I can get used to dancing with a variety of different partners. I want to develop my skills in leading and since each partner is different, they ONLY way to fully develop your lead (and follow) skills is to dance with different people. Because in my experience, what works with one person may not necessarily worth with another.
  3. DL

    DL Well-Known Member

    Actually I played a sport instead of taking the dance offering. I just remember that only couples could sign up for the class.
  4. Warren J. Dew

    Warren J. Dew Well-Known Member

    When I was an undergraduate at MIT, the phys ed ballroom classes - nothing to do with the club or the team - required equal registration. I think they initially accepted a certain small number that they were sure to get from from each sex; after that, they accepted additional people only as couples.

    I didn't actually take those classes, I just heard from someone else who got in because he had a partner.
  5. waltzgirl

    waltzgirl Active Member

    A long time ago, I took a ballroom class at the Y I belonged to (the teachers were owners of a small local studio). They didn't advertise partners required, but when I got there, it turned out they didn't rotate. If you were single, you got paired up with someone and he/she was your partner for the whole series. I ended up with a very nice young man with two left feet. I spent a month trying not to get stepped on and didn't learn much of anything else. Still, I thought I would give it another try and signed up for the next class, which was tango. There I got stuck with a guy who was so creepy that I just never went back after the first class, as I couldn't stand the thought of having to dance with him the whole time. Took me years to get back to ballroom after that experience.

    I've certainly been a big fan of rotation ever since! I just generally feel sorry for the couples who choose not to rotate in group classes, especially for beginners, since they inevitably seem to struggle more and be more frustrated. Over and over, I've seen a line of rotators working on whatever was being taught, and down at the end, there's exclusive Bob and Sue standing in half-hearted dance position, staring at the other couples trying to figure out what they should be doing. They are the ones who tend not to come back, while the couples who rotate seem more likely to stay.

    I have experienced large (50+) silver smooth and standard classes that did organized rotation with no problems. The class just made a circle around the line of dance, each guy identified the guy down LOD from him, and at every rotation, sent his partner to that guy, no matter where they ended up on the floor. In another class, the women noted who was ahead of them and went to that woman's partner when a rotation was announced. Not complicated, never any problems. They were both fairly stable groups, so people were familiar with most others, which probably made remembering who was next a bit easier, but really, how hard is it to remember, "I send her to the blond guy with the blue shirt" or "I follow the redhead in the flowered dress"?

    In all my time of dancing, in many group classes at various levels, I have never seen anyone deliberately skip someone in the rotation to avoid dancing with them (although I did once see a woman skip her turn as an "extra," forcing someone else to dance alone an extra time). In a well-organized class, I think skipping someone in rotation would stick out like a sore thumb and be embarrassing to the one who caused the disruption, since that would throw off the whole rotation and be obvious to everyone around them. I can't believe it happens often if an instructor has adequate control of his or her class.
  6. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    A fifty person strict rotation would likely imply that two people who came together would get on the order of two minutes of dancing together during class...
  7. waltzgirl

    waltzgirl Active Member

    Depends on how the instructors time the rotations. Generally, I've seen instructors use both having people stay with the same partner for two or three attempts at the pattern and switching every time through it (depending on how the class is doing and where we are in the lesson). It's not required to get everyone all the way around the circle. If I want to dance with a particular partner, I ask him to dance at a social. That's not what group classes are about, IMO.
  8. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    So conceptually speaking mr. and mrs. jones can share the first try when they haven't understood it yet, then their next attempt will be on the living room rug or four days later at the social.

    Sounds like a strong inducement to be one of the confused non-rotating couples.... which as you observed doesn't work very well.

    Essentially strict rotation works briefly for everyone in intro or presocial type classes, but on an ongoing basis only for the unpartnered. Because building an arrangement to practice what is taught in class with someone out of class is key to sucess, an approach unfriendly to couples tends to create a smooth running class - of unpracticed dancers.

    In contrast, a looser rotation done maturely tends to mean that the unpartnered at least get to dance with some classmates who have been practicing in partnerships outside of class.
  9. jennyisdancing

    jennyisdancing Active Member

    True also. But hey, that's their decision. I've seen a couple cases where there was an exclusive couple who were struggling from a technical standpoint, yet were smiling and looked like they were having fun, just because they were doing an activity together. For those folks, I guess it's working just fine.

    Then there are the couples who realize that group activities stir up their relationship issues and that's a whole other can of worms that cannot be addressed by a dance studio or class rotation policies.
  10. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    Highly constrained by your decision as organizer to force them to choose only between dancing minimally together or dancing exclusively together, with no middle/compromise option.
  11. jennyisdancing

    jennyisdancing Active Member

    I'm not an organizer of anything. Just another dancer on this forum giving my own opinions like everyone else.
  12. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    I'm sorry, I had misread the "That's what I do" part of your #205 in reference to Warren's comment on class organization and so thought you were sometimes a teacher, but see it was actually in response to voting with ones feet as a student.
  13. TangoRocks

    TangoRocks Member

    Actually, the International Style studios in my neck of the woods, as well as the specialized Argentine Tango studios strongly suggest that for their "series" or "group" classes. As a guy without a partner, you COULD apply as a single but the deal is they will pair you with someone (sight unseen) and you'd be required to stay with this person for however long the series is. This has been one reason I have been reluctant to try their offerings, because while I am not going to claim I am the best lead ever, I've danced with my share of followers-I'd-rather-not-be-stuck-with, and paying hard earned cash for a class you might end up not getting anything out of with your luck-of-the-draw partner is not something that appeals to me.
  14. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    That seems unfortunate in my mind.

    You might be able to consult with them ahead of time and perhaps they could introduce you to a potential class partner.
  15. Warren J. Dew

    Warren J. Dew Well-Known Member

    When the numbers get large, it may not be that easy when there are intervening periods of "boys on this side of the floor, girls on that side" demonstration and explanation. "Who was I just dancing with again?"

    Some instructors may not use such periods. I've found that in classes with both a male and a female instructor, they can speed things along quite a bit, though.
  16. wooh

    wooh Well-Known Member

    Exactly why I avoid the rotations. :D
  17. Terpsichorean Clod

    Terpsichorean Clod Well-Known Member

    If we were to remove women's power of refusal, it would only be fair that we also remove men's power of choice. That means asking each woman to dance, equally often. So no more glomming onto the prettiest or most-skilled women. Yes, that means dancing (likely at least a few times) with that woman who digs her nails into your arms as she hangs her entire weight from you, wrenches your arm during underarm turns, goes right when you signal left, mashes your toes, bashes your shins, and then complains about your dancing, "I just need a good leader."

    That would actually be an improvement to some of the socials I've been to. :razz:
  18. We went to an advanced tango class. There were 3 comp couples and about 7 singles people.

    Rotation in this class is optional. I think not bringing partner is also optional.

    The class is really difficult even for us let alone the single people who were only about silver level.

    The comp couples were doing ok even though we struggle until the last 15 mins of the class. We end up 'getting it'. None of us rotate only the singles did. The teacher did not yell 'rotate' or 'change partner'. It is expected that the comp couples wouldn't anyway.

    Unfortunately the singles couldn't even make head or tails of the block of choreo being taught.

    Had we being forced to rotate we will have 13 people who did not get the choreography.

    The choreo required the couples to maintain common centre to execute multiple pivoting actions and turning forces.

    We have trained on this for many months there is no way I can achieve a common centre with someone I just met who has no idea what a centre is and to execute an open level pivoting action.

    We can barely achieve this with someone that we train with for months if not year.

    No partner necessary does not always mean rotation is required neither it means partner guaranteed.

    It just mean you can attend by yourself.

    When I have no partner I often dance the whole class by myself and still I find it useful.

    I never feel like it is my right to share the lead of a partnership in fact I tend to keep to myself until there is another single person free for rotation.

    In the event that does not happen since a lot of people are intimidated by me anyway I spend the class learning by myself.

    I never find it a biggie really.
  19. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    I do confess...whenever I am at a group and the instructor gets the wild idea to teach anything involving a pivoting action, the first thought that goes through my mind is "oh sh---, I am going to get hurt" just...well it just shouldn't be done unless it is a truly advanced group IMO...and I don't mean people who know advanced steps but people who have advanced technique....I so HATE doing pivots with people who do not know how to do them well...
  20. jennyisdancing

    jennyisdancing Active Member

    I do think the discussion tends to be breaking between what is suitable for newbies and what works for very experienced dancers such as dancinggirl or Chris.

    To me, it's two different kinds of situations. Int/Adv dancers may have some good reasons for avoiding/limiting rotation - they might want to be selective about class partners based on technical ability, not personal like or dislike. Put it another way, I could see how you might not learn better with strict rotation, depending on who's in the class.

    But if we're talking about newbies who don't even know the other people in their group classes, nor do they know what they need to learn, then seems to me their only basis for avoiding/limiting rotation would be personal concerns such as jealousy or not wanting social interaction. In those cases, if the couple wants to sit out the rotation, so be it, but as pointed out by others, they might not learn as much.

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