In any field, if you move to a different community, it can take a while to discern who you can trust and who will jerk you around. There are many reasons people will take you for a ride. It could be their own ego getting in the way of inability to expose their weaknesses. It could be just a game – lure you, then cut the line. There is always politics within small communities. Communities can be like returning to highschool and trying to break into a clique. It can be harder than you would think, especially if you are far removed from highschool.
Seeking out a partner from a different community can present its own challenges. How do you find someone? How do you know if they are trustworthy? Anyone can tell you anything and it can sound enticing especially if you are chasing your dreams. How do you know if they will benefit or harm your career by association? It’s a risk putting yourself out there to work with someone in a community you don’t know. You’re own community may know someone’s name, but they may not be able to really give you the scoop. Sometimes people present a different side to different people as well. Even male-male, female-female, and male-female interactions can have their own patterns that vary differently.
In the partner dance world, there are definitely advantages to being a male. For men, there is opportunity for pro-am work which is professional dancers dancing with amateur dancers for competition purposes. This is a result of the imbalance that will likely always exist between the number of women and men who dance. It can be quite lucrative for the male professionals. They also have the opportunity to have the pick of the female dancers in the partner community.
So how does a female dancer make herself more attractive in such a situation? Esthetic beauty definitely helps. Women like a handsome face and body to look at as much as a male likes a beautiful face and body to look at. Whether we like to admit it, esthetics do count.
Having amazing facility in the body also helps. Have you invested in your training? Can you dance what you teach? Do you have beautiful legs, feet, and arms in terms of movement? Fluidity of movement can be captivating as can speed and sharpness. All this is part of being a desirable partner.
Attitude can be one of the most important deciding factors with everything else being equal. Humility, professionalism, and work ethic all come into play in the package of attitude. If you are amazing and you don’t let anyone forget it, you might get kicked to the curb. If you can’t keep your appearance, language, and interactions professional, that can get you tossed out. If you are talented, but not willing to invest the time to hone your skills and partnership, talent will only take you so far. There has to be the trio of attitude components to even be in the running. There will be many hours invested on the floor together, after hours planning, and travelling together. If you two dancers aren’t well matched, the two most talented dancers in the world won’t be able to make a go of it for long.
The concepts apply to both male and female dancers inside and outside of the partner dancing realm. If you want to make it in a community, it takes more than talent. It takes work. It takes an investment of time feeling things out. It takes putting yourself out and there and accepting that rejection is a leaping point to new opportunities. A partnership is a community all on its own that can reflect on the surrounding community. Take care of how you come across. Don’t burn bridges as you never know when you will need one of them to get to the other side to more work in and out of your community.