I remember trying to find a permanent dance partner years ago to be such a stressful search. I was always sure that I was never good enough. It has taken years to gain the insight about what really allows for a good partnership. It isn’t what I used to think it was.
You can have two extremely talented dancers. The world can sit waiting in anticipation for a great partnership to emerge. How can it not when the pooling of talent should be synergistic? Often, the partnership implodes shortly after it emerges. Why? That’s a question that haunts dancers. How can two talented people not make a go of it especially if they were successful in previous partnerships?
What I have observed to be the greatest influencer of partnership success is vision. There has to be a shared vision. A shared dance career is too difficult if there is not a common and satisfying goal. I say it is difficult because there has to be management of mutual expectations. There has to be an agreed upon way to fulfill both partners’ goals. Unfortunately, partnerships are like marriage. There has to be give and take. There has to be stroking of egos. There has to be each partner gaining something each day on the floor.
The vision is often set out over a year or more. The growth into a partnership rather than just two dancers working together, happens over time. A year is really the minimum as there is time lost getting the partnership on track. There will be growing pains trying to adapt to each others’ style. It is rare that there is instant perfection. It is much like a business partnership. There is a business vision that has to happen, whether the dancing is professional or amateur. Both business partners have to have complimentary – not necessarily identical – goals. There have to be easily identified landmarks of achievement that are set out otherwise the success of the partnership is difficult to measure. Re-evaluation has to happen as well to make sure that the goals that were set match the current situation. Modification of the goals will happen – that is the reality of life.
If you are in a new partnership or seeking one, take some time to figure out what you need. What are your goals? What are you looking to gain from being in a partnership? What other life goals are you looking to fulfill along the way while you are achieving your dance goals? What do you need from the partnership for you to consider it a success? This is going to be different for every person. If you do not take the time to identify what you need, you can waste a lot of time growing a partnership that doesn’t give you what you want.