A Few of the (Many) Reasons I Love My Partner*
She’s a musician. And not just because she is. But because, as a dancer, the most important thing to her is what’s happening in the music at that moment.
She has great taste. If I had to pinpoint probably the most important part of a dancer, it’s their taste. As a creative parent, I love all my children. This is great if you’re a real parent, terrible if you’re a creative parent. You have to know what works, and know what doesn’t, and drown the parts that don’t work, which hopefully you will never do with real children. My partner isn’t afraid to try out new things and take risks and look silly, but she also, in my opinion, has naturally good taste about what she likes to do and the way she does it.
She loves all the dances I do. With my partner, we can spend a practice working on Lindy Hop, Balboa, Aerials, Collegiate Shag, and Solo Jazz ideas, all things I’m passionate about. It’s great to know, you know?
She works very hard to be the best teacher she can be. She’s always thinking about ways to convey ideas better, to handle a class better, and to plan the perfect material for a group of students. While in class, she does a great job of managing the flow, keeping track of time, and getting me to shut up when I’m about to say something counter-productive.
She dances on a razors edge. She works really hard to be an honest follow and let me know when I’m not leading something right, but also strives to give me ego boosts and help work out moves when it’s less important that I lead everything 100% correct.
She does the same thing with communication. She works really hard to be honest and communicate openly all the time. Though it can be rough when the things she says aren’t the things I want to hear, I can’t stress how important it’s been and how much of a stronger dancer and person it’s made me.
It’s very important for her to separate our normal relationship and our dance relationship. No matter what is happening with our normal relationship with each other; when we practice, rehearse, discuss teaching, or plan classes, she is my professional dance partner, and strives very hard to “forget” anything outside of that. When we both do it perfectly, it’s a great feeling, and actually kills any extra drama in both areas.
She’s a rock when under fire. In competitions or jams or combat situations, whereas I can vary greatly depending on my mood or confidence level, she is almost always solid and mentally in control, and can help get me where I need to be mentally (if I’m listening to her, that is). She counts out loud for me when the beat is being played at decibal levels males can’t hear (guys know what I’m talking about).
She has incredible rhythm. For someone who desires to be incredible at rhythm, but is not, it’s awesome to dance with a swing metronome.
In rehearsals, she can be super-professional and still make bad/dirty jokes. Thus, always doing her part to keep a rough rehearsal schedule both productive and entertaining.
Obviously, different dancers have different strengths, and I’m not suggesting that every follower needs to be like my partner. But I am saying that I’m an extremely lucky dancer.