Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by latin-ballroom, Nov 13, 2012.
Opendoor, are you possibly LordBallroom... or his brother?
Don´t get me wrong: but I fear finding a fixed dancing partner is subjected to the same criterias as for finding a life partner: "looking good" assumed, the question simply is: can we communicate, will we cooperate, do we share the same goals? A greater part will work subconsciously but first you have to come together.
ups, have to ask my father concerning a brother.. , but, please explain some details.....
I mentioned that in my original post. Opendoor suggested leaving out the dance try-out all together and deciding it over coffee.
I just can't imagine committing to a partnership without dancing with them first. That just makes no sense to me. Communication and cooperation is only one part of the equation.
Here's the thing, I don't think of a try-out as a one day thing. Yes, the first day can make it or break it, but I think of it as a try-out period. Obviously, I communicate this to the partner I'm trying out with. In my mind a try-out is done after about 3 weeks of figuring out some routines, seeing if you work well together, etc.
I also agree tryout could last longer than one time or a day, of course if on the first time you strongly feel is not gonna to work and you will not pursue, you will stop right there. However if you both feel you can make a good team and feel can progress over time and make it work and successful, will arrange 2nd try or even a trial period, or ask a coach to take a look. Just sort of like job interview, stronger candidates sometimes gets 2nd or 3rd interviews or even meeting with high authorities in the company at later interviews (in dance world meeting the potential partner's coach) or just get hired on spot, weaker ones won't get a 2nd chance.
Looking for a CHAMPIONSHIP level partner is fundamentally different from looking for a social partner (and even, to a certain extent, bronze to novice or beginning to intermediate or E to B)
At the Champ level, you are no longer looking for partner---you are looking for a TEAMMATE.
And that requires a completely different set of criteria than the usual.
You're looking for someone who:
can be or is better than you
can carry their weight emotionally (will they fall apart at National or International Comps?), financially (can they afford the plane tickets, lessons?), and intellectually?
is a complement to how you handle or cope with higher levels of stress that training and competing demand
can dance your school's style (Classical, English, Italian, Asian, ... take your pick)
can get along with you and your coach (and/or vice-versa)
Of course, there are many other obvious criteria--height, weight, look, aesthetics, frame, structure, etc. etc. etc.---that you should investigate before getting invested in your teammate.
The common mistake, however, is to decide on a partner using social-dance-partner criteria or to use an emotional basis for the partnership (clearly insufficient when you are looking for a teammate).
Tryouts at that level typically take more than a month (2-3 on average).
First you dance together to see if you are EVEN a match in the obvious (height, skill level, finances, goals, training schedules, choice of coaches...and so on).
If that works out, you should have an extended try-out to see if your dancing styles, personalities, training styles, and physical fitness, match (and if they don't, who will compromise and change).
After a month, you should be able to see if you get along, can absorb each other's choreography, and if you can both survive another 6 months dancing together without killing each other---literally and figuratively.
(My personal benchmark for how long it takes to decide whether you have a real partner, ie a teammate, or just someone to dance routines with is about 4-6 months.)
You should explore the gent's and lady's PREFERRED figures (not just the man's) since this is where your skills will converge--and will bring out each other's strong and weak points.
During the extended period, you should find what the strengths and weaknesses of this potential TEAMMATE are and see if the weaknesses are serious (can they be fixed?) and how to capitalize on their strengths.
Definitely NOT something you decide over a cup of coffee--well, NOT if you're serious about the level in which you are dancing.
Personally, I would not see a coach for a lesson for the try out, or involve a coach at all. What are you going to learn from that? You certainly won't learn all that much from the coach, because you're dancing with someone you've not used to. You won't learn whether you can practice well with the potential partner, or even if you get along well. All you'll learn is if the partner can be polite and respectful to a coach... which I hope most dancers are.
The 'cup of coffee' idea is good because it lets you discuss your dance goals. You want to make sure you're both on the same page in terms of practice time, competitions (how many? which? what level?), long-term goals (amateur? pro?), dance history (how fast have they progressed?), and that sort of thing. I would probably do that after dance practice, if the practice seems promising.
But before everything else, do an hour or so of practice. Obviously you want someone as close to your level as possible (or a little better)... but a small level difference can always be made up with time and effort. First and foremost, you're looking for someone you can practice well with. Your potential partner could be the next Mirko, but the partnership will go nowhere if either of you're both busy being upset, arguing, miscommunicating, or even just uncomfortable.
If you do want your coach's opinion, do it after a practice or two when you've had time to get used to dancing together... and so you're not wasting the coach's time with someone you could have ruled out by yourself.
At that level dancing skills, musicality, capacity, a.s.o. will not play no role any more.
And you have been dancing ballroom competitively for...how long? So you're qualified...why? to have such a strong opinion about it?
I absolutely agree with the whole post. However, I believe that OP question was only about "initial" tryout dance, first "dancing date" so to say, and not about whole "tryout period" which, of course, will takes much longer
thanks! this is very useful for me right now too, as i'm presently looking for a partner to compete with!
Apparently, Brian Watson sent Carmen a 4-page questionnaire before they started dancing together, in order to get a sense of if they could build a good relationship, because regardless of how well a couple dances together, if they cannot get along with one another, the partnership will npt be succesful. While I don't think I could even come up with 4 pages of questions to ask a potential partner, making sure that there is personal compatability in terms of goals and dedication is important when tryimg out a potential partner, even at the lower levels
Yep. And honestly, one thing I learned from skating, it's not even the most important part if you're dead serious about it. You can hate someone's guts off the ice, but if they're a good physical/timing match and at the right skill level, you learn to live with it. You're not marrying them, you're aiming for a competitive goal and that means it's in your best interest to show up, practice, and try whether or not you'd spend five minutes with them outside the competitive world. You obviously need to be looking at the same goals and level of commitment (if one wants to go to the Olympics and one is looking for a hobby sport for local events that's a problem) but you don't have to want to be friends with someone to work with them.
Dancing with someone would therefore IMO be more important than talking to them beyond an initial exchange (which could be done by e-mail, come to that) about the basics of goals and finances. No point in finding out if you get along with someone personally if it turns out you just physically can't work with them. For a social partner, that might be the more important (socializing) aspect, but it's like how I'll gamble on buying a $600 horse sight-unseen (I lucked out, he's good) but if I were buying a $60,000 show hunter (not an unreasonable mid-range price) I planned to haul to the winter circuit in Florida, I would not only do a test-ride, I'd have a trainer test-ride him and have a comprehensive vet exam, too, rather than going on my own gut and a ride by the current owner. I'll social-dance with a lot of people that aren't great physical fits but are nice guys, if I were seriously planning to lay out the time and money for a major competitive campaign, my #1 priority would be can we dance comfortably and do we make a good physical pair.
I'm sorry, but I have no idea what you're trying to say here.
I mean that these skills should be given and assumend in this case.
I've found that, at least in my experience and observation, this is not true. Negative feelings poison the partnership. I've had mild annoyance with good friends ruin a partnership. I've seen many a breakup ruin partnerships. I've seen dances blossom once they both get away from partners they hate (or resent, or have complicated histories with, etc.).
Some people can put all that aside, but don't just assume you're one of those people.
Then I refer you back to Peaches's question: How much time have you spent in the ballroom competitive world to be an authority on the subject?
I'm going to take this a step further and say, if you want to take competitive dancing seriously (regardless of level), you are looking for a teammate.
BTW, madmaximus, your post said it perfectly.
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