Dance Partnerships: Steps To Minimizing Disagreements During Practice

Last week, we looked at the general anatomy of how the blame game escalates between partners. This week, we’ll be looking at minimizing the rate of disagreements. While conflicts will always prevail in any relationship, simply knowing how to do your part to keep the harmony will improve matters.

1. Practice the basics by yourself first.

By yourself really does mean by yourself. It means having to face alone time simply reviewing your basics. I will stress this over: all routines are built from basic steps. It is only by having a stronger sense of basic that you can hold your own without a partner. By doing so, you are taking your own responsibility for holding your own when it comes to basics.

2. Go through the routine on your own.

Again, do this by yourself first. If the routine is too long, break it down into more manageable chunks and work each section by yourself. A good rule of thumb is to break everything down into 1-2 bar chunks and repeat each section at least 5-10 times. Doing so will ensure that your muscle memory will remember your movements. Also, this will help define where you keep running into problems in a certain place within the choreography. This is to ensure that you’re standing properly on your own feet without reliance on your partner.

3. Repeat the practice method in step 2 with your partner.

By doing your own homework first, you’ve most likely worked out certain problem sections you may have come across when practicing solo. Mark your steps in manageable chunks by going through the routine slowly and in sections only. Marking is crucial, because this is a form of agreement to how your routine is danced. Only after the slow marking can you start to build up the speed.

4. Watch your mouth!

It is likely that you may disagree with steps or you see your partner looking not as snazzy as you’d like. This is the point when you must watch what comes out of your mouth. In last week’s entry, we’ve looked at how easy it is to blame the other person when things are not going right. Take responsibility for yourself first while judging the situation at the same time.

5. Suggest instead of direct.

It does not matter who is correct or incorrect, pick your words by using “suggest” instead of “should be/must be”. It’s less harsh on the ears and it points the fault at the problem itself instead of at your partner. When using vocabulary such as “should be” and “must be”, you’re imposing a form of authority (subconsciously), which is not the most desirable trait in a partnership. Suggesting means you’re willing to work the problem together instead of pushing all responsibility to one person or unknowingly start blaming the other person.

6. Look to authority for help.

In the worst case scenario, you may come across times when you both cannot fully agree on certain steps. This is the point when you should be saving questions for a trusted source (in most cases, it’ll be your teacher), because authority can pinpoint your problems with their trained eyes and experience to help you solve your problems in your dancing.

While this is merely a general guideline for practicing, most problems first stem from the way partners interact with each other at times when each person wants to improve their dancing. Wanting to improve in dancing is certainly a must, but keeping a good relationship with your partner is just as important. A good rule of thumb is to take responsibility for holding your own steps first and to use language that will decrease the blame game.

What other things do you think can improve a partnership? Let us know in the comments!

Image Source: Petr Kratochvil

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  1. Pingback: Dance Partnerships: Are You An Unintentional Backseat Driver? - Amantis Creations

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