…is like all the bad parts of dating with none of the good parts.
Truly, in many ways, the bitch about partner dancing is the necessity of having a partner. I think that the amateurs have it the toughest; at least as a pro you are around a whole bunch of ridiculous idiots who might conceivably be looking for partners on any given Sunday. As a pro-am dancer, you can keep rolling through pros till you find one you like, or until you have to give your house back to the bank because you spent all your money on lessons.
No matter what your status, what discipline you compete in, or what style you dance, there’s no denying that finding a partner is an epic pain in the ass.
So. There are a couple ways to go about it:
- Be born into a family of ballroom dancers/Russians/whatever and get set up with one from the age of 4.
- Be stunningly beautiful or otherwise physically extraordinary.
- Be a dude. (There are always extra ladies and even shit male dancers are spoiled for choice in the partner department.)
- Be a big-deal champion.
Are you any of those things? NO? That is very careless of you.
If you are not, then you have to rely on a couple other venues. As a pro, the easiest and best possible thing is to partner with someone who teaches in your proximity (either in your actual studio or at one of your regular haunts). It’s simple to set up practices and you are guaranteed to see each other every day. Great.
Did you manage that?
Everybody you work with is either already partnered or not interested in dancing with you or actively despises you or is an unbearable ass or is just honestly terrible at dancing or does not dance the style you want?
You can throw some ads up on the internets – http://www.dancepartner.com and http://www.ballroomdancers.com are the most common, and although you might think that sounds like a great idea, I am here to tell you from extensive personal experience that you are not going to be turning up a high percentage of winners.
Why? Because the best place to find a serious competitive partner is on the competition floor, but you, because you are NOT TRYING HARD ENOUGH, have not managed to GET on the competition floor recently because…why? Because you do not have a partner. Careless.
So. You have one other option.
Find yourself a Yente and hope she sends up something useful. You put the word out EVERYWHERE – but most especially through coaches and judges – and you hope that people like you well enough to send someone decent your way.
Even if you do manage to find a prospect who is viable, there’s all the regular negotiation bullshit that one would have to do in dating.
Can you get along, do you have similar goals, can you work productively? Added to which are the essential questions you aren’t supposed to ask (out loud, to someone’s face) in dating: do you look good together, are your body types compatible, will you look ridiculous standing to next to one another? Is this someone you can actually invest in, or will he flake the minute someone/something better/more shiny/a squirrel comes along?
Needle, meet haystack. Haystack, needle.
Needle: “Haystack, you are too tall / too short / too old / too full of hay / don’t have enough hay / have terrible leg action / trained with the wrong coaches / don’t sufficiently appreciate my amazingness.”
Haystack: “I just feel like you’re really pointy? And I am just really looking for something less pointy right now…”
It sucks. I have begun my legit appeasls to Yente; it should be completely meshuggeneh. But it will be 100% worth if I can find even one mensch. And by that, I mean: someone tall enough, not acutely horrible, who will dance with me.
(It’s a low bar.)