Rotating partners- is this a problem for some of you married men?


Well-Known Member
I generally find rotation useful, but I understand why some romantic or competitive partners would choose not to, and that's fine. I also understand arguments in favor of looser rotation schemes that allow partners who rotate to nevertheless choose each other more often than strict rotation would allow. However, the most confusion and time wasting I've experienced in group classes has come from that sort of loose rotation, badly organized or executed. Whatever type of rotation a teacher wants in their class, having a definite plan for it and communicating that plan clearly to the students can have a huge impact on the smooth running of the class. It's one of the most important aspects of class management, IMHO -- or at least one that I've frequently observed causing problems when not handled well.
I really think any group setting should be trying to strike a balance between the individual and the group, pretty much regardless of level, but the form of the balance might be different in different cases.

For a really introductory class where there are no dance-informed social norms, a strict rotation can be a good start. But beware that it may make the class less appealing to relationships looking for a together activity, or less practical if their only option is to stay entirely out of rotation.

For a one-shot presentation by a visitor to high level couples, staying in partnerships with no mixing might make sense - though if trying an exercise outside of ordinary dancing, mixing things up is useful and often used.

But in between, on the week to week basis for just about any level willing to study in a group, there's a lot to be said for developing a community of learning. And connecting it with a useful, rather than oppressive, degree of free form rotation.

DGD described a situation in which a few couples barely managed the material, the singles did not, and this was allowed to continue without adjustment of class material or class membership.

A main part of trying to integrate a class across partnership (or nonpartnership) lines is to build some degree of commonality of experience, instead of just banishing or ignoring the weaker half. With some mixing, the teacher can start to get a sense of a median class capability that includes both those within partnerships and the fraction of those outside of them who do have some capability with a borrowed partner. If that median level is not within challenge reach of being able to apply what is being presented, then the teacher is probably not choosing wisely. Similarly, unpartnered individuals who aren't able to accomplish anything with one of their capable classmates should probably be encouraged to move to a more appropriate class.

Encouraging a useful but not oppressive degree of dancing across partnership lines isn't the solution by itself, but it can be a component of building more effective classes, growing a community of dancers more able to form partnerships, and better sustaining the partnerships that have formed.

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