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Partner up…or the dance of finding someone to dance with (Part 2 of 2)

July 13, 2009

Now that you’ve made it known you are searching for a dance partner, hopefully you will start hearing from interested parties.  Be sure to actively be contacting others you find as well.  It is a two-way street.  Generally men have an easier time as there is often far more women who like to dance and are searching for a partner at any given time, but don’t let the numbers discourage you.  It’s simply a matter of time.

Once you’ve connected with someone, it is often best to have an exchange via email or phone to talk more about your backgrounds, goals and any scheduling/distance issues that may be problematic. You may want to send a link to online videos of your dancing if you have that available.  If you feel that you both get along and want to take the next step, set up a time for a tryout.  It’s usually best to set a time where others will be around and a place that is public.  Often times you are meeting a stranger for the first time, so it wise to take precautions on the side of safety.

As you would with meeting any one for the first time, come prepared and arrive on time.  Bring your dance shoes, comfortable clothes, and be well groomed.   Be respectful and don’t make assumptions.

After you’ve had a chance to introduce yourself and warm up, discuss how you’d like to conduct the tryout.  You can go through basics, make up a short routine or do lead and follow.  If you have access to music, it can be a nice touch to dance to it, but successful tryouts do not require music.  As you dance with the person, pay attention to how they move and how you feel dancing with them.  Are you comfortable?  Are there significant skill or age differences?  How do you look together as a couple size-wise?  Do you find it easy to converse?

Since you are likely to be spending a significant amount of time together, it is important to gauge your reactions and compatibility on several levels.  Pay attention to any red flags in your mind and be sure to ask questions as you go along.

It is often helpful to sit down afterwards and talk with the person.   It can be at a dance studio, but often times a neutral setting like a coffee shop is a good place to converse.  There you can talk more about your experience, background and ask any remaining questions you might have.  You may want to ask things like why the person started dancing, what they like best about it, and what they consider strengths and weaknesses.

For someone who is local, that will likely be enough to get a good sense about whether or not you would like to pursue a partnership.  Also, the desire to do so must be mutual.  Do not harass or force someone to dance with you against their will.

If your potential partner lives far away and there are significant commuting issues or the necessity of a move, there will likely be more extensive conversations.  It is important to be clear about the realities of what that might involve.  It may be worth drawing up a written agreement explaining expectations and commitments to protect both parties in the event that the partnership does not work out.

With some preparation and a little luck, you’ll be on your way to a rewarding friendship and partnership in dance.

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