I have been one of the most fortunate girls in my city to be hooked up with an amazing dance partner. He is amazing on so many levels and I am so thankful everyday I have the fortune to work with him. I don’t know what I did so right in this lifetime to happen across him, but thankful is just the tip of the iceberg on this one.
Over the years, I have worked with many personality types. There are always going to be ones that I get along with better than others and vice versa. I can be a pain for some people to do deal with simply for personality, creative, and physical differences. There is nothing wrong with that and it will happen in any relationship or workplace. This is half the fun of the work in which I engage.
The characteristics that I have seen work best for me and generally are as follows:
1) similar work ethic – I am a beast when I train. I can push through almost anything even if I am tired. This is a strength and a weakness in myself as I can push things too far. Having the fortune to work with someone equally beastly is important to me. I have seen the same ring true for less beastly people. Having mismatched work ethics quickly leads to resentment and often the demise of partnerships.
2) similar goals – I am not okay with just being a prop in a show. I want to create and be part of pieces that expand the mind, bring the community together, and further me as a dancer. I don’t want to do what I already know if I am working for someone else. Even in my own pieces I want to break what I know into something more beautiful and challenging. Having someone with similar growth goals is important to feed the motivation in a partnership.
3) similar presence – being part of partnership where one person outshines the other can be a challenge. If they are equally talented, but one partner has more presence on the stage than the other, it can look like one partner is less talented and disappears into the background. I enjoy partners who actually are stronger than me in presence as it makes me find new ways to dig deeper in my expression internally. This doesn’t mean bigger facial articulation or movements, but the projection of myself. By the time we hit the stage, the presence should be closely matched with the weaker pulling up their socks to match the stronger.
4) similar investment – this includes finances, time, and life dedication to the art. If both have to invest money into training, it is easier to share the load if both can invest equally. Sometimes this also means having to invest in how to raise funds through combined effort as well. Time investment can be a huge disparity. If one has relational, work, and other interest commitments heavily beyond the other, trying to find time to come together to work on mutual goals can be difficult. Hobby versus professional investment to the art is another sticking point. For short term projects, this can be less of a concern, but in the long-term for a partnership to work, the commitment level has to be similar in quality.
Sitting down outside the dance floor is important before making a commitment to a partner. Dance partnerships end up as similar commitments as romantic relationships so you want to set them up right and make sure the chemistry is there to make it work. Coming into a meeting outlining points pertaining to the previous discussed can help determine if this partnership will work. Can there be negotiation, give and take, and leeway on all the above. Of course. The general dance morality of both partners have to be similar though and that meeting can help be a determinant.