General Dance Discussion > (Dance) Partners: for better or worse

Discussion in 'General Dance Discussion' started by elisedance, Sep 6, 2007.

  1. Dancing Irishman

    Dancing Irishman Well-Known Member

    Oh yes! If we're doing general troubleshooting we'll absolutely speak up if something feels off. Apologies for assuming you were pro/am only.

    But when we know we're working on making our promenade runs have the proper spacing and actions for 20 minutes (real-life example) we spend 5 minutes reviewing all the info from our lesson, then zip the lips for the next 15 while we repeat ad nauseum. Bulk of our practice time is in this mode, especially since most of our choreo stays unchanged for a year at minimum.
    RiseNFall likes this.
  2. s2k

    s2k Well-Known Member

    "...or I could be leading that wrong."

    I've never been so happy to hear seven words as I was today, hearing these. :p
  3. cornutt

    cornutt Well-Known Member

    Hey, I've led things wrong plenty of times...

    What OreganO's partner may be feeling is what my partner and I have experienced... when you have limited time to dance, there is a temptation to want to cram in as much in every lesson as possible. It just doesn't work, in the long run. We reached the point where we agreed on what we will try to accomplish in the limited time we have now, and the rest will just have to wait.
  4. newbie

    newbie Well-Known Member

    Invited my AT partner to an end-of-the-season dinner of sorts in a restaurant with tango, to celebrate our first year of partnership. Well half-a-year. Until January we were just one partner among others, randomly dancing together when the teacher would yell "trade partners!". Or in this case "cambio de pareja!".
    After which I had sent her a two-page mail whose general idea was "I did not know you, but you're the best follower in this class by far. Not starting a partnership would be wasting our skills".

    After the greetings and exchange of small presents and insignificant chat about the place and surroundings and classes and teachers, she came up with the question "So, do you feel that you learned more in this second half of the season?"
    "- No. Shall we dance? The tanda of waltzes has started already", I answered.

    But she did not stand up. Her head moved back and she looked to the side. She remained silent and motionless for ten minutes, went to the ladies' room, came back, remained silent for another five minutes and finally said:
    "Well feel free to ask a refund to the teacher."

    Here I was puzzled. The teachers having presented zero unkown material in the last six months, my amount of learning was necessarily nil. If the classes had turned otherwise and some new stuff had come, then she would have been the most suitable follower. As it had not been the case, dancing with her had "only" been more pleasant than with any other follower of the class. No need for overlead, no need for strength, and so on.

    It all ended well, but with all the silences and explanations, in this four-hour milonga we only found the time to dance the last two tandas.
  5. Loki

    Loki Well-Known Member

    Where would we be without pointless, time-wasting drama?
    RiseNFall likes this.
  6. raindance

    raindance Well-Known Member

    She was basically asking you if your time with her was worthwhile, from the sounds of it. You gave her a short negative answer and then asked her to dance, which ends/dismisses the question. If you had talked things through with her (sharing for instance your feelings about what the teacher had covered in class, and other things your typed above, etc), you may have had a better response from her. But perhaps you did not want a better response from her.
  7. Gssh

    Gssh Well-Known Member

    So you had 6 month of being able to review class materials with a dedicated partner who is the best follower in class, and there was no added value? i would be somewhat surprised about this statement, too. Why do you need a partner when having one does not make a difference? You were already learning everything without a partner (and i assume without dedicated practice time) before, and revisiting things with her, and being able to potentially delve deeper did not add anything, so what is it that she brings to the table?
    FancyFeet and Requiem like this.
  8. Loki

    Loki Well-Known Member

  9. Phooey

    Phooey New Member

    What she was asking, in woman-speak, was "Did my being your partner add any value to your dancing/life?"

    Your response, was "No." You were responding to a different question.

    If a woman asks "Does this make my butt look big?" The REAL question directed at you does not actually involve clothing...
    raindance and Requiem like this.
  10. MaggieMoves

    MaggieMoves Well-Known Member

    Honestly you're lucky you got those. I probably would have found someone else.
    FancyFeet likes this.
  11. newbie

    newbie Well-Known Member

    My plan for the next Sunday milonga is to go with my partner and ask a third party, a follower of similar skill and who has been dancing with me for years, whether I have improved or not during the last months. That will settle the matter.
  12. Joe

    Joe Well-Known Member

    Don't bother. This is a situation where the person asking the question does not want an honest answer.
  13. Phooey

    Phooey New Member

    No, it won't. You still aren't answering her question, you are answering YOUR question. You are approaching her topic as if she were a man, interested in facts, objective views and certainty.

    She is not actually interested in hearing whether or not you've improved. What she wants to hear is that she has contributed to your partnership/life in a meaningful way.

    She has asked you if her butt is big. You answered that the quality of clothing was poor. She didn't want to hear that and you didn't quite grasp why. Now you are FIXED to keep talking about the poor quality of the clothing-----your awful plan is now about asking someone else to confirm that the clothing material is poor.

    Do you want a happy relationship, or do you want to be right?
    Loki likes this.
  14. FancyFeet

    FancyFeet Well-Known Member

    @newbie you insulted her... it's clear from your post that you didn't mean to, but you may want to start with an apology for inadvertently causing offense and explain your thinking.

    From the way you relayed the conversation, you basically told her that 6 months with her as a dedicated partner was no better than 6 months without a partner and didn't enhance your learning at all. If that's true and what you meant to convey, well, don't be surprised if you are back to no partner.

    Because you explained, I know you were just speaking about the teacher and the patterns, but that's not what she was asking (or trying to ask). Seriously, apologize for the misunderstanding, and clarify. It will help, especially if you say something nice (and true) about working with her.. And do it when/before you invite her to another milonga... because if I were her, I wouldn't be going without a conversation/note/message to that effect.
  15. DerekWeb

    DerekWeb Well-Known Member

    Agree. You need to lean woman speak.

    "What she was asking, in woman-speak, was "Did my being your partner add any value to your dancing/life?"
    MaggieMoves and IndyLady like this.
  16. IndyLady

    IndyLady Well-Known Member

    LOL that men are completely rational creatures. Let's keep the sexism in check, shall we. Men can be just as insecure and in need of validation of their value as a dance partner as women are. I know this based on the amount of reassurance I have to provide when I ask new students to dance at parties.

    Anyways, FancyFeet pretty much summed it up the best. In addition, assuming that your (newbie's) quoted response was verbatim, it demonstrated a complete and utter lack of interest in the topic and swiftly and dismissively moved the conversation on to what you were interested in. Also probably not a good move except in cases where a topic is particularly uncomfortable or the question was inappropriate.
    flying_backwards likes this.
  17. oldtangoguy

    oldtangoguy Active Member

    I have danced almost daily with my partner for nearly 12 years on the floor in our home. We don't do much new stuff, but EVERY time we dance, I learn new things. Things about the connection, how to improve upon stuff I thought I knew well, my posture, the precision of my steps, etc. Since she is my regular (and life) partner, how she reacts, both physically and emotionally, to things I lead are also part of what I am learning.

    I suggest you broaden your vision of what it means to learn dance.

    And I do agree that she wasn't asking the question you answered. It's back to the emotional penalty box with you.
    Requiem and raindance like this.
  18. Gssh

    Gssh Well-Known Member

    First: I disagree with the assumption that this is necessarily a "men speak a different language than women" issue. She asked exactly the same question that i would have asked when reviewing any partnership at a milestone. In my experience, both with dance partnerships, or any kind of partnerships taking the time to debrief once in a while is essential to keep the relationship healthy. And the question she was asking - did the partnership help improve newbies tango - is exactly the right question to ask. "these are what i assume the goals of this project we are engaged in together are - are we making progress to toward them?". There is no looking for emotional support or an opportunity to vent there. And learning that the partnership has no value is a tough thing to hear. And I personally think that then not discussing why the partnership is not working, and how to improve it is somewhat of a problem. She could probably have taken the initiative to ask newbie about what should be changing in the partnership to make it productive, and if he sees some ways to improve this, but on the other hand newbie might have cut the discussion short before this could have happened. And i am somewhat surprised that newbie is willing to be in a dancepartnership where his partner is not offering him anything (but then i have very limited patience with both dance teachers and dance partners who are not improving my tango - if i don't see some improvements, or at least a direction in which i can work after a month or so then i start to discuss it with them, and if we don't get anywhere i am leaving and looking for somebody else.)

    I see two possible scenarios:
    1) the partners goals in the partnership are mismatched - she wants to work on improving her dance, and is using her goals (deeper understanding of the class material) as a measuring stick of a successful partnership. In that case i would suggest that newbie tells her what his goals in the partnership are, and what he would consider a sign that this partnership is succeeding, or failing at achieving these goals.
    2) the partners goals are matched, she wants to improve her tango, and he wants to improve his tango. Then the partnership is failing - he has not improved at all in the partnership, and they need to have a long discussion about having a different approach to get there - or end the partnership and find a new partner that will offer a more fruitful relationship.
    (i don't know the situation - another thing that might be possible is that newbie is much more experienced, and is working with her to get her up to his level and then they will be in a partnership where he can improve, and is no longer stagnant? (but in my experience the transitioning from mentor-mentee relationship and the implied power differential to a equal partner relationship is really, really, tricky. My rate of this blowing up and turning into at least temporary drama is at best 50/50 and i had a lot of partnerships - it is something to be handled with care. What has worked for me is taking a break and both of us doing our own thing when we are getting close, and then having a fresh start with the new type of relationship, but even then falling back into old patterns happens for a while)
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2017
  19. oldtangoguy

    oldtangoguy Active Member

    That isn't precisely what she asked, but it is your very rational interpretation.

    Oh? I agree that this isn't a man speak vs woman speak question, and yes, men need affirmation as much, or sometimes more, than women when they are new to a dance. However, I would think that an end of season milonga/dinner, where one nominally goes to enjoy one's self, is not the proper setting for any sort of debrief. I do think that she was looking for a more emotionally supportive answer, and know that I would be, especially if I had any measure of insecurity about my dance, or the class, or the partnership, or whatever.

    They could schedule a neutral time and place for such a debrief, and make it clear that the intent of that meeting is to figure out how to continue to improve. Don't just throw a turd in the punchbowl.
  20. Gssh

    Gssh Well-Known Member

    *sigh* I am probably spending too much time at working lunches and dinners - for me "end of season dinner" is exactly the occasion where everybody is more or sometimes less informally checking in with the quarterly progress of all projects.

    So yes, i might have a slanted perspective, but i personally would absolutely discuss progress of a project over a nice dinner, and actually with my current partner when we rent a practice space we usually work for 2 hours, and then go for pizza+beer and debrief there.
    IndyLady likes this.

Share This Page