General Dance Discussion > Can't Dance With Wife or Best Friend

Discussion in 'General Dance Discussion' started by TheDave, May 3, 2013.

  1. cornutt

    cornutt Well-Known Member

    I've been through phases a couple of times where I had to take lessons by myself for a while. One thing that's often a problem for couples who start together is that, in general, beginning follows make progress faster than beginning leads do. It's got to do with the lead having to learn more stuff before they can be a minimally functional dancer. We went through a phase early on where she was getting frustrated because I was not dancing well enough as a lead for it to be a challenge to her. That was one place -- I needed to be able to work directly with an instructor who could help me work through my rough spots without getting frustrated with me.

    The opposite can happen too. Recently she's been taking some individual coaching in addition to our coaching as a couple. A couple of years ago she had some foot issues for a while, and by her own admission she developed some "lazy" habits regarding movement and expression that have been holding our dancing as a couple back. So now she's doing extra work to fix those.
  2. toothlesstiger

    toothlesstiger Well-Known Member

    The challenge with a couple is that often they aren't shy about criticizing their partner, and telling them they are doing it wrong, whereas they will shut up and smile and try to enjoy it with other people.

    At the beginning, it's definitely much harder for the lead. He's got to learn figures, learn to lead the figures, keep the beat, and either remember choreography or choreograph on the fly. And the follow just needs to learn the figures and learn to follow.

    Further along on the journey the follow needs to learn to keep time with the leader, and really follow, rather than guess the figure. Not with DW, but with other followers that were supposed to be fairly advanced, they would very commonly commit their weight before I did, which meant I sometimes had to change my choice of figure mid-stride as I recognize what they guessed I was leading.

    Point being, at different times in their journey, the lead in a couple might need more coaching, or the follow, and it's good to have a neutral third party letting them know which it is.
    Gorme likes this.
  3. TheDave

    TheDave New Member

    That seems to be a consistent theme here. That's really sad and makes me want to re-evaluate what my dancing goals are. If it's not something sharable with those I care about... I should be asking why I'm doing it and if it's isolating me from those people.

    We're in New Orleans at the moment for Jazz Fest, staying with my sister. She and I were quite successful Balboa dancers last night, even though we've never danced together before at all, and she's never Bal-ed at all. I wonder if that means I hate my sister.

    At any rate, going to separate instructors is not really feasible... since we live in a small town and there really is only one swing instructor. Although I've been taking classes in the Big City about two hours away on my own, and that seems to have helped somewhat in dancing with the Wife. Nothing seems to help dancing with the friend. As successful as dancing with the sister was, dancing with the friend was twice as embarrassing as usual.
  4. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    well, look, I think making a decision this soon is probably premature, having said that, you also can't allow any hobby to create a wedge in your marriage....that is your number one priority...but my experience is that the dance scenario mellows out tobe what it will be and whatever that is, doesn't have to be separating, even if it isn't guess is that you had no expectations and a comfort level with your sister (nothing to lose, nothing to prove)
  5. millitiz

    millitiz Member

    And I think that it will, at least in the short run, be cheaper this way. Many couples learn it this way (instead of separately). So I am not sure why insisting on working with different pros.
    Bailamosdance likes this.
  6. millitiz

    millitiz Member

    Very interesting. When I practiced with my ex-partner, we focused pretty much on ourselves only. I understand that some of our problems would be interdependent, but we tried to leave those to our coaches. We thought that, we could either argue to no end, or we could use the same time focusing on drilling things we do know/learn, and leave those surfacing problems to the next session.
  7. Bailamosdance

    Bailamosdance Well-Known Member

    Has anyone else had the experience of going into a dance studio with their SO and then been split up to dance with different instructors, rather than one instructor teaching a couple? This is a sales tactic - now, you have 2 instructors making $. Also, Pro-am couple, being 'coached' by a second teacher? Also sales.
  8. TheDave

    TheDave New Member

    There's no danger of that. It's just that it's something I'd like to share... or think about spending time and resources on something that can be shared. I don't want to dance alone forever.
  9. cornutt

    cornutt Well-Known Member

    That's a great point. Pretty much any time that you are practicing with a partner, if you encounter some kind of problem, you need to just state the symptom instead of trying to be your partner's instructor, e.g., "When we do this left turn, it doesn't feel like we get to a CBMP position", instead of "You're closing too soon". Even if that's what you think it is, you don't know that for sure. From there, your partner and you may be able to reason it out, but a lot of the time problems that are interdependent, as Fasc says, can't be solved until you can have an instructor look at it. When that happens, you have to just put it on the shelf until your next lesson.

    TheDave, have you ever taken any lessons with your friend? One or two lessons with her might be enlightening for both of you.
    toothlesstiger likes this.
  10. cornutt

    cornutt Well-Known Member

    I have not seen that, but I've heard of it. And I agree that it's inappropriate to try to sell that to newbie couples.

    That's a tough one. If the whole coaching is focusing on the amateur and the pro partner is there strictly to partner, then yes, the amateur should pay for the pro's time as well as the coaching. However, I sometimes see, in the case of a high-level visiting coach, that the pro partner is also getting training during the session. In that case, the pro should split the coaching cost with the amateur, but I'm guessing that doesn't happen often.
  11. Soulmate61

    Soulmate61 Active Member

    If you incline your head to look at your partner it would break the vertical body line. With the head deviating off the centre of gravity it is very difficult to move, and your partner will know it. Social dancers often face each other and have a chit-chat during dancing. This is a no-no in competition level dancing -- each partner has his/her own space, two bodies slightly offset, like a rhombus not like a rectangle. Have you tried dancing with your wife at home with all lights switched off? Forgetting it is your most desired partner, treat her like all the others. Are you trying too hard? In quickstep each partner would make 500 footfalls within 100 seconds of dance, so the slightest lapse of concentration can rupture the dance. :D

    As for the best friend, if she is head and shoulders above the others and with many years experience, why do you need to lead her when you two are dancing routine figures? If you judge yourself by her performance then of course it would be daunting. But every recognisable progress is cause for a smile.
  12. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    I hear you...I look a marital activities as yours, mine and ours...he golfs, I dabble in it but he mostly goes without me....I dance, he will occasionally social dance...w have many activities, some shared more than others...i think the key is a comittment to sharing plenty, in whatever way is best
  13. bia

    bia Well-Known Member

    I think you may be taking the comments more direly than you need to. The posters can correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that everybody who has chimed in as having a similar problem is in fact still dancing regularly and successfully with their spouse. So you can judge whether any of the suggested tactics for solving the problem are appropriate for you, but you can at least take away the messages that 1) you're not alone in having this problem (i.e., there's nothing uniquely problematic about the interaction between dancing and your own marriage/friendship), and 2) it's solvable -- other people who have experienced it have found a way to overcome it.

    Good luck!
  14. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    when one is new-ish and in love with dance, everything they are experiencing with regard to it is disproportionate to reality...this much I know
  15. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    sometimes even when one is not newish
    SwayWithMe and Borazine like this.
  16. Gorme

    Gorme Active Member

    Not so much a studio, but there are two married couples where the husband dances pro/am with my pro and the wives dance pro/am with other pros against their husbands in the same event. And they take amateur lessons with both the husband and wife's pros.
  17. DerekWeb

    DerekWeb Well-Known Member

    I see this also.
  18. Soulmate61

    Soulmate61 Active Member

    About 5 years ago there was one married couple both entering the UK version of DWTS. The wife was a sports TV presenter and desperately competitive. The husband was a hunky rugby player hopeless at dance. The audience voted her out early and kept him in until the last 5.

    In 2 months there will begin a new variant of DWTS in UK, featureing only married celebrities partnering each other, coached by professional dancers, facing elimination each week like DWTS. Remains to be seen how this new idea works out.

    When both spouses dance seriously, do they indulge in comparison and rivaly? Competition is good incentive for improvement, but this ought not be allowed to escalate into bad feeling inside the family, as sometimes happens between siblings.
  19. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    That is because you are still a beginner. From the moment they like dancing with you, you may call yourself intermediate. (Sorry for being blunt)
    Bailamosdance likes this.
  20. freeageless

    freeageless Active Member

    Bailamosdance, I believe you stated in an earlier post that it took from 4 to 9 years to go from beginner to intermediate. He may not want to wait from 4 to 9 years for his wife and best friend to like dancing with him? Did I misunderstand your post?

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