Jive performed by Aniello Langella and Khrystyna Moshenska, Italy 2012. Photo: By Ailura (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Jive performed by Aniello Langella and Khrystyna Moshenska, Italy 2012. Photo: By Ailura

December is the peak season for partner split-ups and join-ups.  The desperate plea can be heard of females looking for a male, capable of stepping one foot in front of the other, hoping they might join them at the hip – literally.

So if you find yourself in that predicament of looking for a new partner (like me), what do we need to look for?

Here are six things to keep in mind when searching for your future dance partner.Dedication

This is utterly the most important pillar in any partnership. If the dedication levels are sky-high, so are your chances at success. It is a personal preference of what you like to classify dedication. My definition of dedication is a willingness to train minimum two to four times a week and have a genuine interest in self-improvement. Dedication also refers to ensuring your goals are in-line with each other.

What should you do?

Have a small conversation with that prospective partner and see where they are at on their dancing journey. Do you both want to compete? How far do you want to take this dance partnership? How much are you willing to train? Where do you wish to see this partnership in two, three or five years time? These are some of the key questions that will help you both pinpoint if you are in the same frame of mind.

Personality

A dance partnership just has no charisma on the dance floor if there is a personality clash between you two. You can decode this straight away in the first few seconds of meeting one another. If you are naturally shy or a slow-burner with friendships, be honest and tell them. That way they are aware it will take time for you to be yourself. They too, will not assume anything negative of you.

Conversely, getting along a little too well can be a distraction from the work at hand. There should be a fine balance between being encouraging, constructive and supportive. If your prospective partner has the ability to do these three things, it could be the beginning of a golden dance journey.

Location

We all say we are willing to travel, but how far will you go? I used to travel two and a half hours each way, three times a week to train with my former partner. As much as experience was worth the journey and I was happy doing that, my body took a toll – and so did my tyres. The ideal situation is meeting somewhere in the middle, so it is equal distance for both parties. But, we do not live in an ideal world and in most cases it just cannot work. When things become uneven in a partnership, the journey can get a little rocky. It is important for both of you to compromise. If one person has to travel far, provide them with an incentive to make their time worthwhile. Location, location, location goes the saying! It makes all the difference.

Coach

With the right coach, anything is possible! A coach has the responsibility to grow, nurture and flourish a dance partnership to be the best it possibly can be. It is wise to do a little research into your options of selecting the right coach by looking and at their past achievements. Is he/she a former champion? Who trained him/her? What style does he/she teach? There is no harm in having multiple teachers, provided they do not clash teaching ideologies. Each coach generally has their own style they know more about and can teach it accordingly. A teacher renown for his or her’s New Vogue instruction may be lacking the detailed knowledge in Latin for example. Reach out to those who specialise in their style and learn from the best if you wish to win.

Talent

Talent can be taught, but it is always nice to have in sitting in the back pocket, eh? Talent can come in multiple forms. Some dancers have talent from years of experience, starting from an early age. Others have raw talent, meaning they can pick it up quickly and naturally. If you have rhythm, then you are half way there.

Finances

Dancing is bloody expensive! Lessons, registration, costumes, shoes, jewellery, tails, medals, tickets and travel are just some of things that keeps a dancer’s purse light. Not having enough finances to support your passion can have devastating impacts on your partner. Once you have made the commitment to be in a partnership, it is expected you can support yourself to go ahead in full swing. I know it is a touchy subject to dive into straight away, but it is much better in the long run to find out at the start then when it comes to crunch time.

Good luck and happy partner searching!

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