Tips for a Successful Partnership in Ballroom and Latin Dancing
22. September 2014
I know it’s been awhile since my last post but I wanted to take a moment to talk about partnerships. Partnerships are the foundation of ballroom and Latin dancing in general and can make or break good dancing. What I have learned along the way working with my collegiate partner for two years has made me into a better dancer and together we became a better competitive couple. Here are some of my tips and other tips I have learned from professional dancers about competitive partnerships.
1) Find out what your partner’s goals are and talk about goals you would like to work towards together. Goals are the foundation of any partnership because it gives you something to work towards together and individually. Maybe you want to get more call backs in smooth dances or maybe you want to work up to a higher level. Whatever it is, make sure it is something you both can agree on.
2) Find somebody with the same depth of commitment as you. It does take two to Tango. A partnership is not a one man show; it takes equal dedication on both sides to achieve a goal. A partner who does not share your commitment will only drag you down no matter how much practice you put in on your own. Some questions you might want to figure out together are as follows: How many hours a week should we practice together? Should we seek out lessons from a professional instructor?
3) Be willing to compromise. We can’t always get what we want so don’t be stubborn about it. Be willing to try new things your partner wants to try and they should be willing to do the same for you. It actually opens up more opportunities and gives you the chance to improve your dancing as well as your partnership.
4) Admit when you make mistakes. A lot of times, our first instinct is to pass the blame onto someone else if something doesn’t work out the way we plan. Pointing your finger at your partner every time a mistake is made doesn’t solve the problem and can only create tension or stress in the partnership. If you are practicing your routine and you mess up, get to the root of the problem and think/talk about how you both can improve to make it better.
5) Compliment your partner and give constructive criticism. Tell your partner when you approve of something they do. One compliment can go a long way and is a kind way to tell them to keep doing what they are doing. If you don’t like how something feels when you perform it, tell your partner what you do like about what they are doing and give them a suggestion on how they can improve your choreography. Being blunt doesn’t always solve the problem, be willing to work with and communicate with your partner.
6) Learn to trust each other. Trust comes with time but is definitely one of the best qualities of a successful partnership.
A successful partnership takes a lot of work on both ends but has great results in the end. A lot of successful partnerships lead to great friendships with your partner. My partner became one of my dearest friends during our two years dancing together. Feel free to add any tips you have for successful partnerships.