Csilla, our guest blogger has published some great articles about embellishments and dance shoes. Now here’s an other great article from her about a very important topic – the relationship of dance partners. Her tips and hints will be equally useful for tangueros and dancers of other genres; for those who have a partner and those who are still looking for one. Let’s see what she has to say!
This is a topic I have always been interested in. Now, after many years of experience, I would like to share my hints and tips with you. First of all, I have to thank all those who have been part of my journey; those who have made me see, understand the important nuances of dance-partnership.
Mariposa, the dance-partner agent
There were times when I played the role of an agent. Some even called me Madame Mariposa. It is true that I quickly found new partners for the men who asked my help. (Csilla is the admin of the Dance Partner Facebook Group). Although I am happy to see that more and more women play the role of an agent in the dance community – and sooner or later everyone will find their partner
Partnership and harmony
I used to be fascinated by the binding among dance partners when watching competitions. It’s important that they match in terms of body sculpture, height, harmony, movements, culture and mentality. All these factors have an enormous effect on the performance of the couple. There are episodes that burned into my memory – I can clearly see them when I close my eyes. One such image is when I watched kids compete. The moment they entered the stage I could tell which couple would win! It was so obvious! Their knowledge, technique and harmony! The same with the winning couple in adult competitions. As soon as they leave the dressing room, winning is radiating from every single step they take. They haven’t even started dancing and my jaw had already dropped from awe.
A carefully chosen partner will give you unique, memorable moments during lessons, workshops, competitions and festivals.
But what does “carefully chosen” mean? With a carefully chosen, good partner I can co-operate to achieve the mutual goals. And this results in a good working relationship or better, a good, deep and honest friendship. (Of course there will always be people who seek flirt, but that’s a different topic.) I have had one such partner so far – it was a pleasure to work with him and we still cultivate a good, balanced relationship.
One of the most important things is having mutual goals. These will bring you closer to each other and allow you to really start developing. Such goals can be:
- reaching advanced levels
- improving musicality
- going to milonga
- going to workshops together
Whatever your goals may be, it is important that both partners decide what is important and agree on it! It makes co-operation a lot harder if one person wants a lot more or a lot less than the other. I have had a partner who said yes to everything but never had a real goal like I did. This always leads to conflict. In our case it became almost impossible to co-operate with him as he either cancelled the sessions/was miserable or simply didn’t care. Be willing to stand up for your goals! Shared aims will help your development both as an individual and a couple.
When you have found the right partner, you can set the rules. Take this seriously. A rule that I just learned through my own experience: “do not get offended” Very important! Working together there will be times when you see your partner from a different perspective than he/she sees himself/herself and vice versa. This is natural, but please take the time to talk about the grey areas. Honesty is when you tell the other what you felt the problem area was. Often people expect you to be honest but than cannot bear your opinion. Conflicts are a necessary and important step towards improvement. But it does take time to get through issues like that.
Practice, practice, practice…
Practice is essential for improvement – practice with your partner and others too! Only by dancing with others will you really find out where you stand and how much you compensate for each others’ mistakes with your partner.
We tend to compensate for each others’ mistakes without noticing!
We do this unconsciously, without any bad intentions. Daily life, relationships and family trained us to be allies and cover/compensate for the weaknesses of the other.
To sum up…
- Do not get offended!
- Set rules.
- Be honest to each other.
- Dare to admit if you / the other has done something wrong.
- Communication is vital!
- Set mutual goals!
Dance with your heart because the soul lives in the heart. Dare to dance with your heart, because only by doing so will you really experience the gift of dancing!
If you have any experience with dance partners please tell us about it. Others might find it useful. For other tips take a look at my blog. :)