Dance Partnerships: The Anatomy of The Blame Game (An Exaggerated Version)

“You should be stepping to the right!”
“You’re not following properly!”
“Why aren’t you turning?”
“I did! It’s your timing that’s wrong!”
“What do you mean? It’s 3 steps, not 2!”

This conversation is happening right now in countless studios across the world. To many seasoned dancers, this is a familiar scenario, one which everybody faces at some point in their dancing.

Before giving solutions on minimizing arguments between partners (which I will be posting in a later entry), firstly, we should know the anatomy of the blame game.

Steps to Blaming: A Comprehensive (Exaggerated) Pattern

1. It starts off cheerily.

In the beginning, everybody is happy. You’ve just finished learning a new move from the lesson and are eager to practice it. You hop, skip, and jump to your partner, gushing, “Let’s practice!” Your partner, just as happily, complies.

2. You dance what you remember from the lessons.

You start counting the steps. You do the movements you remember.

3. Something doesn’t feel comfortable.

You take the wrong turn. You’re both growing out of sync. One step turns to two steps. The steps are not working the way you want the dance to happen.

4. One of you starts to make comments.

“The step should be earlier!” A short demo happens.

5. The other person retorts.

“No, it’s supposed to be like this!” Another short demo of the other person’s version of events happens.

6. Soon, each person insists their own version of the dance is correct.

Words start to fly. Resentment starts to build up. Tears begin to flow. Anger arises.

7. The squabbling starts and everything begins to go downhill.

“You’re not listening! I’m telling you the action should be like this! Even *Mr. Smith says so! Why are you not listening to me?”
*Note: Mr. Smith can be anybody, from your teacher to a fellow classmate.

8. Rinse. Repeat.

The cycle goes on as both parties have unresolved issues between themselves.

While the steps above are an exaggeration of what typically happens when partners begin to argue, it’s not far from the truth for both new and experienced dancers. Many of the issues that contribute to the blame game all stem from each party insisting they are correct and the other being in the wrong.

There is a very simple reason that causes the blame game:

You can only see what your eyes can see.

Our eyes, mind, and body have a funny way of working. When you’re dancing with somebody else, even with the presence of mirrors, you can only see how other people are dancing. Despite seeing the reflection of yourself dancing, the movements that could be blatantly obvious to other people cannot be seen by yourself and can only be spotted by others or with a 3rd eye. Hence it becomes easy to see mistakes that others make.

Disagreements are unavoidable in any partnership; we will forget steps, miss our foot timing, forget what the teacher has taught…The essential part of any partnership is to deal with disagreements tactfully without souring the relationship.

Next part on taking steps to minimize the blame game in the following week.

Have you been in a dance partnership where you never seem to agree on anything? How did you manage to resolve them? Let us know in the comments!

Image source: Chiltepinster

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