Ballroom Dance > Long Distance Competitive Partnerships

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by dlliba10, Oct 8, 2012.

  1. dlliba10

    dlliba10 Well-Known Member

    Anybody have any experience with long distance competitive partnerships and have any tips and tricks on making them work? E.g., if you take lessons on your own, what can you work on with a coach that might not necessarily make you outpace your partner?

    If pros like Mikolaj Czarnecki and Melaina Larson could do it and still look fabulous when they're together, it holds a bit of a glimmer of hope for me, but I will admit, it's a little frustrating being so far away from my partners, who also happen to be great friends of mine too.
  2. dbk

    dbk Well-Known Member

    How long distance is long distance? I know a partnership that has two hours between (about an hour's drive each) but they are able to practice about 2 times a week. They do take lessons independently. IMO, don't worry about outpacing your partner - it just makes it easier for them to catch up, since your issues aren't getting in the way. I think the bigger issue is to make sure your coaches teach information that meshes... e.g. you don't want one person pushing body contact immediately while the other wants separation until posture and frame improve.
  3. dlliba10

    dlliba10 Well-Known Member

    I'm in Boston while both my partners are in New York. I'm also from that area, so it's theoretically easy enough for me to come home, but between school (I'm starting a PhD program up here) and my money situation, it would be a bit difficult to make going home to practice a regular thing. Conversely, it would be difficult for them to come up here to practice for the same reasons.
  4. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    Mikolaj and Melina never did it. He's been stuck in Poland... for months. They only practiced a few times, and the partnership never got up and going before he went home and got stuck.

    And cross continental partnerships aren't what you should look at for inspiration, they have a different dynamic. You need to talk to the people that did NY/NJ to Boston... or NY to Philly/DC.
  5. dlliba10

    dlliba10 Well-Known Member

    True -- I just meant the few competitions that they managed to do before that. Fair point about the different dynamic though. I'll keep asking around my acquaintances, but has anyone here done Boston-NYC, NYC-DC, or any other partnership of comparable length?
  6. Lioness

    Lioness Well-Known Member

    There are a couple of dancers I know who do a long-distance partnership across Australia. They both travel to different places for work, so could be cities away at any time.

    They decide which comps they are going to do. I believe they take lessons separately, and then the week before comps, do a lot of practise and a whole block of lessons.

    They are doing really well, but both of them have the money and the time to make frequent flights, accommodation, and long practise hours work.
  7. llamasarefuzzy

    llamasarefuzzy Well-Known Member

    I'm actually just about to start my first year with a long distance partner. He lives about 3 hours away. Right now the plan is for us to trade travels (I think one of us will travel every other weekend) . During those weekends, we will do lots and lots of practice.
    We did two competitions last year while I was still with my previous partner (now in Germany- probs a little too long distance to work!) and did really well. We are incredibly well matched- except for geography!
    I am really excited and hopeful that it goes well!
    Larinda McRaven likes this.
  8. Jananananana

    Jananananana Active Member

    So, I've known people who "did that" and in general they didn't improve. They kind of made it "work" in that they danced at competitions...but that was about it. I think if you're in Boston, you should have no issue finding a new suitable dance partner. Same goes for your partners in NY- if they're in NYC, they should have no problem finding good partners there. It might suck to break a partnership, but if you're serious about improving, in my opinion, you need a dance partner close-by.
    danceronice likes this.
  9. jjs914

    jjs914 Active Member

    I have to say...I personally agree with what Jana says.

    I think it's one thing to do a long-distance partnership as pros (like your example or others who may do NY/Boston). Pros would be more apt to be committed to the travel. My guess is that if you find a pro example doing NY/Boston you're going to find them committed to traveling EVERY weekend to practice and take lessons together. My coach was previously in a Boston/DC area partnership and he literally taught all week, traveled to practice with his partner all weekend (or his partner came up here and they spent the weekend practicing).

    It doesn't sound like you and your partners can commit to travel, so why not look for someone you can actually dance with? Or, if you're set on continuing to dance with your partners long-distance, I think you might want to be sure you're managing your expectations. You can certainly compete together, but I think it's hard to make real progress without regular practice together.
    danceronice and Bailamosdance like this.
  10. frotes

    frotes Member

    I was wondering what people consider long-distance. I would say anything longer than 1 hour travel is long distance.

    Also how much regular practice would you guys say is required to progress well in a partnership?
  11. llamasarefuzzy

    llamasarefuzzy Well-Known Member

    I do think that some styles are better suited to long distance partnerships than others. Keep in mind that I am definitely not an expert. However, it seems to me that standard would be very difficult to do long distance, as would syllabus smooth. I only competed long distance latin before, which worked okay because given a set routine, a lot of work can be done individually. We are doing gold/open smooth, which should be similar to rhythm/latin in that much of the work is done not in close hold. This seems like these styles would be better suited to a long-distance partnership that.
  12. Bailamosdance

    Bailamosdance Well-Known Member

    I am in a long distance partnership, then since my partner lives more than an hour away. I feel that if travel time is the consideration vs quality of partner, then maybe you might want to think about what you are looking for in dance.

    Two hours? Not a problem, you each travel 1 hour to a place between you two. Point is that the quality of the partnership determines how much you want it to succeed. It just bugs me when folks talk about how long or inconvenient a partner, studio, or coach is, when they have to drive 30 minutes, when my day involves travel to a train, a 57 minute train ride, and then a 20 minute walk to the studio, even before I see my partner. And if we are planning a lesson with a coach, adding on an extra hour each way to accommodate train schedules (trains leave when they want to, not when you are ready).

    Yes, having a partner is a big commitment. The local chain is filled with folks who are happy to solve your travel and time problems by doing pro am width you, but although the path we chose is much longer and harder, ultimately it has been extremely rewarding.
  13. Warren J. Dew

    Warren J. Dew Well-Known Member

    I was in a Boston-NYC partnership that lasted a few months, and a Boston-Portsmouth partnership that lasted a few years. The latter had a travel time of a little over an hour, and I don't really consider that a long distance partnership, as it was short enough I didn't mind making the round trip for evening practices.

    We travelled on alternate weekends for the Boston-NYC partnership, and that didn't really work so well. If I were to do that over again, I'd try to agree on one city to go to - based on where our coach was, perhaps, or where we could find better practice facilities - and maybe the partner who travelled less would make up for it some other way, such as by paying a bigger share of training expenses or such.

    By the way, if driving is too expensive, the Chinatown buses are a pretty cost effective way to travel between Boston and NYC.
  14. Terpsichorean Clod

    Terpsichorean Clod Well-Known Member

    To me, long distance is anything over 15 minutes. I've gotten a little spoilt. ;)
    j_alexandra likes this.
  15. 3wishes

    3wishes Well-Known Member

    Well, in Los Angeles - long distance might be as little as 30 miles but it takes you 90 minutes to get there...sigh. I do personally know of a out-of-state long distance am/am partnership that lasted about 18 months. Partners would fly from one state to another state once a month, they would each practice in their home studios with practice partners - then meet up two days before a competition and practice like mad as they had to get use to each other again. You have to be committed to the travel and the practice..IMOP.
  16. Silmarwen

    Silmarwen Member

    My dance partner graduated this past spring, leaving me without a dance partner. When he couldn't find a partner at his grad school (they apparently have too many guys and not enough girls?) we chose to continue to dance with each other. We have a 5 hour distance between us. :(

    We chose to limit our competitive styles from 4 to 1 (we're just dancing smooth now). He drives up here every couple weeks so that we can continue to work with my teams coach and we spend the weekend in almost solid dance practice and lessons. Its really hard to practice on my own and to come to terms with the fact that we won't be able to improve at the same speed we used to, but its worth it to be able to continue dancing.
    Warren J. Dew likes this.
  17. tanya_the_dancer

    tanya_the_dancer Well-Known Member

    Interesting to see what's everyone's definition of long-distance is. I am 2 hours away from my pro, so by a lot of people's definition my pro-am partnership is a long-distance one. I don't mind that. However, I don't think I would be interested in entering an am-am partnership with the same distance. The point of finding an am partner, to me, is to be able to practice with another person on a regular basis (more than once a week), and that is just not doable when someone has to make a 2 hour drive on a business day.
  18. frotes

    frotes Member

    Good point.

    I can understand that for those people with good partners, you would be more willing to make it work and travel farther/longer. But what about if you didn't have an established partner? Or how about when you guys went looking for your first partner? What kind of travel/distance would you be willing to go to try out a new partnership? I am currently looking for an am partner but I have no prior experience doing am and I am not even 100% sure what styles I would aim for to compete in (I just know I want to compete more), let alone what kind of expectations I should have for an am partnership when it comes to distance/practice.
  19. Bailamosdance

    Bailamosdance Well-Known Member

    To attract a good partner, you must first become a good partner.
    Joe and freeageless like this.
  20. tanya_the_dancer

    tanya_the_dancer Well-Known Member

    Someone just suggested to me that I should try out with this guy who lives approximately 2 hours away. He occasionally comes to our dance parties and he has some experience. We could dance silver together (but not gold - which is what I do with my pro). But I really don't see it as a viable opportunity. It's just too far and it is likely to interfere with my pro-am efforts (it will put me in position that I will have to choose who I dance with on weekends - my pro or a hypothetical am partner).

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