Partnering Issues

July 01, 2006

Thanks so much to those of you who have given me feedback about the issue of partnering. I still want to hear from you, so let your voices be heard!

After everyone has had a chance to present his or her point of view, I expect to devote one more column to members' feedback. In addition, I plan to share my findings at a TCD Board meeting. It's possible that the Board will then revise the group's guidelines/ position or take some other action regarding partnering.

Here are some of the thoughts that TCD dancers have expressed:
• I have an informal group of partners that I usually dance with. We look for each other, and the evening generally goes smoothly for me. (several dancers)
• I have stopped going to contra dances because no one asks me to dance, and the people don't seem friendly or open to me. (a fairly inexperienced dancer, and also two long-time intermittent dancers)
• In my travels as a dance gypsy I have heard that the Triangle dancers are snooty and cliquey.
• There's only a problem when the gender balance is off. I don't think that it's appropriate for people of the same sex to dance together, and it makes this problem worse. The "extras" should sit out, and rotate in. People should be aware of this, and take turns sitting out.
• I don't believe that dancing with the same gender contributes to problems with partnering in our group, and I personally enjoy it.
• Perhaps it would be good to revive the old-fashioned convention of looking to the sidelines for your next partner. This is still done in some communities.
• I'm in my mid-fifties and only have a certain number of dances left in me. I want to spend them with partners that I enjoy.
• I've been through various stages regarding partnering, and I think that such stages are common.
• Making "rules" will not work. TCD dancers will react against that. Gentle suggestion and giving food for thought might have some effect.
• I find that whether I find partners easily has a lot to do with how good I feel about myself that evening.
• I like dancing with the same newcomer at the beginning and end of the evening. During the first dance, I give a few tips. During the last one, I give compliments on how much he or she has learned.
• I really enjoy being a strong dancer in a way that helps kids, older folks, and newcomers. At every dance, I try to do three things: dance with someone I don't know, dance with a beginner, and dance with a partner that I love to dance with.

Stay tuned for more of your feedback. See you on the dance floor.
Judith Muse

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