Tips to Establishing a Connection With Your Dance Partner

Tips to Establishing a Connection With Your Dance Partner

Ariel Hsieh

June 29th 2021

Your dance partner is one of the most important people in your dance life. You will be spending a lot of time together training, preparing for competitions, and becoming the best dancers you both can be. The perfect dance partner is like a best friend, you completely understand each other, feel completely comfortable with each other, and enjoy every moment together. However, finding the perfect dance partner can be a challenge, and most of the time, the perfect dance partnership is made and not born.

Just like all other relationships in your life, communication and understanding is key to the perfect partnership. When practicing together, communicate everything you think of. Does something feel off or uncomfortable? Make sure to bring it up to your dance partner so you both can work on making it better, and for you, always be open to feedback from your partner. If your partner is doing something that you feel is wrong, do not directly criticize your partner! Criticism is best left for your teacher. Instead, you can nudge them towards the solution using, “ I think we did this way in this section, can we try it that way and see what feels better?” or “This section felt uncomfortable. Can we try doing it this way instead?” Do not assume that what goes wrong is your partner’s fault. Instead, communicate what you feel is right or wrong, and work together to find the correct solution together. You need to work together as a team, and to be a good team, communication is essential.

Communication extends beyond the dance floor as well. Sometimes people have their off days, or other things on their mind. Begin your practice session with a wellness check. How has your day/week been? How are you both feeling today mentally? Are there any injuries that we should be aware of or parts of the body that you don’t want to be touched? What are the goals you would like to reach during this practice session? What are things you might not want to work on today for any reason? What is the best way to adjust practice to both of your current state of being? Setting goals and expectations for the practice session together before beginning practice can help you stay on the same page with your partner during practice so you both feel the goals you wish to meet are addressed and met during your practice session.

Just like having a wellness check before, end your practice session with a check in. Discuss with each other anything that you wanted to mention but perhaps didn’t find the opportunity to do so during practice. Recap the material you covered and list the points to remember and focus on in future practice. Were the goals set before practice achieved? What felt good about practice, and was there any part that felt uncomfortable? How can we make our future practice sessions even better? What are some points that we want to focus on with our dance instructor? Having a final check in keeps you on the same page as your partner. People can have differing opinions on the same thing, so communicating what you felt was good or bad keeps you both aware of what works and what doesn’t work for practice so you can continue to optimize your practice sessions so that you both are content.

Finally, take the time to get to know your partner outside of the dance space. You’re going to be spending a lot of time together, so the best thing you can do is to become good friends both on and off the dance floor. Understanding your dance partner outside of the dance space can also translate to better communication and understanding within the dance space as well. A good dance partnership is one where there is good communication, understanding, fulfillment in dance, and a good friendship off the floor. And with some effort, we can all get our perfect dance partnership!