There is a beauty in partnered dancing that cannot be achieved as a soloist. There is a physicality achievable between two bodies that cannot be achieved by just launching yourself. The portrayal of relationship story is simpler when there are two dancers involved in the portrayal. Partnering has its benefits. It also has its drawbacks.
The drawback is the need for the partner. Once a choreography has been made requiring physical interaction of partners, that requirement has to be fulfilled to be able to present the work. This creates a vulnerability between partners. How? If one partner loses interest, becomes injured, travels, gets tied up in a day job, the choreography cannot be used as designed. Another dancer can be substituted of course, but the time to get the next dancer ready can be large and exhausting, let alone stressful.
So how do you protect your investment in a partnered relationship? It is tricky. Having a commitment to the partnership is certainly a starting point. Setting up the amount of time that will be dedicated to the partnership is next. Keeping each other on track for maintaining these commitments is important. From there, a lot is left up to fate.
Dancers are vulnerable creatures. There is a risk factor every time we step on the floor. A misstep could end up in a break. Training can result in stress fractures and over-use injuries. Another dancer could injure us, including your regular partner. That’s just by keeping your feet on the floor. Add in the factor of tricks, props, and dancers who may not be paying adequate attention to their surroundings, and it seems like a battlefield.
We know that our career could end in a split second. That is part of the joy of the dance career though. There is risk. There is allowing yourself to be vulnerable. There is trusting another with your safety. There is demise that could be around the corner. As such, our time in dance is precious. It can never be taken for granted because the nature of it is exactly the opposite of it.