A friend of mine once asked me, "what's it like to have your girlfriend as a dance partner?"
"Imagine you and your wife play basketball every day, but your wife is a WNBA player, and she can dunk on you."
Why You Should Read This
You don't need to have a romantic relationship for this article to be helpful. In fact, you don't event need to be a dance student... yet. The purpose of this is to highlight the assortment of benefits a student can receive when they have a regular partner. While the fastest route to dance progress is working one on one with an instructor, we believe that learning to dance with someone opens up an entirely different set of skills.
The Perks of a Dance Partnership
Equal Playing Field
Yes, ballroom and latin dancing places the guys and the girls in the same league together. The only thing that separates them are costumes and roles, but from a skill and athleticism standpoint - it's one of the rare sports where you and your significant other can compete together, equally, as a unit.
Face to face interaction is not what it used to be. With all of the new devices that can pull away our attention, it's harder than ever for couples to truly connect.
Ballroom dancing is the deluxe version of face to face interaction.
While this may present some challenges, they are all challenges that improve your ability to communicate, resolve conflict, and work as a team together. Waiting for similar situations to take place organically in a relationship would not only take years, but, given the digital distractions available, they may never occur at all.
As dancers learn more and more about their roles as Leader and Follower, there comes a point when a realization sets in: "I never realized how challenging your part was."
Unfortunately, there are many failed non-dancing relationships that broke down because this ingredient was missing. Learning to dance gives a dance couple an Empathy Coach on a regular basis - they are commonly referred to as "Dance Instructor".
In dancing, a Leader's skill improves in direct relation to their understanding of what their partner might be feeling from their efforts. For Followers, it's no different.
We all know how important empathy is in our day to day lives, but not many people engage in activities where it can be regularly facilitated. Ballroom dancing just happens to be one of the best delivery methods for empathy because it is intrinsic to the development of the partnership.
When it comes to social events like weddings, a night on the town, or an Arthur Murray Practice Party, having a partner can really come in handy. You've got a solid yes to just about any dance request, and that doesn't necessarily limit you from dancing with friends, family, or other social dancers.
Navigating through challenging moments, learning, and overcoming them takes all of the benefits of your Dance Journey, and turns it into a shared experience.
This is not to say that every moment in your partnership is going to be perfect, but that's precisely the point. Challenges add substance to your eventual achievements, and having someone working in tandem with you to scale the adversity is a payoff that not many couples have.
While others are resorting to flowers, or cards... you will be the rare couple that can utilize a dance like the Rumba to cut immediately through the problems.
There are times as a solo dancer where you've got to be patient with the process of learning. In a partnership, you've got to extend that patience to someone else.
Focusing on your own process, even while your partner is struggling with theirs, can be challenging - to say the least. Fighting off the urge to get frustrated, and to replace that with accountability, can take a partnership to another level.
Kathryn Murray once said, "dancing is a conversation set to music".
If that's the case, then a dance partnership is a relationship built through those conversations. Over time, those conversations create depth. They take us out of our comfort zone, and through shared success they create enough trust to allow us to become vulnerable without being ashamed of it.
This relationship reveals the truth and motivations of the person on the other side of our dance frame.
Unfortunately, there are many relationships that lack this type of conversation, but not yours. Your dance partnership has the athleticism of a sport, and the connection of communication on a different level than most couples will ever experience.
Which far exceeds one on one basketball.
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