With Dance Partners – Trust is the Key

This month I started a new dance project with a new partner.  We are preparing for the Butterfly House competition in September and with only about 10 weeks before the event; I wanted to take a moment to talk about how I prepare to work with someone new.

Trust”….
a.) assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something
b.) One in which confidence is placed
Is there any other word in the English language that is so small, yet contains such significance?  Is there any other word that speaks volumes on our basic relationship needs?  Yet this one little word can quickly change our social interactions in ways like no other.
As a professional dancer, I must maintain trust on many levels:  dance knowledge, (technique, and choreography) physical fitness (lifts and general stamina) and the most important; reliability, consistency and mutual respect as a dance partner.  A lack of trust can be devastating to a dance partner relationship.  Once that relationship weakens, it often will never be the same.  I found that it is important to make ever effort to maintain a “Trust Factor” with dance partners.  My general principals include:
Be Honest
Being honest and transparent across the board makes it easier for partners and students to trust and believe that I have their best interests at heart.
Follow through, be consistent
My Dad taught me to be a “Man of your word”, which means to follow through on your commitments.  Do whatever it takes to fulfill your promises and be consistent.
Be a perpetual student
It is important be knowledgeable about your job, but I have found that one individual can not know everything.  I like to explore new techniques and patterns to keep things exciting for me and my dance partners and students.  It is important to realize that dancers at all levels must maintain ongoing education.
Listen and Understand
Building trust often comes down to being able to communicate successfully.  I make a point to listen and understand my dance partner’s point of view and then provide thoughtful feedback to their questions or concerns.  It is important to me that they understand that this is team effort – it takes two to Tango.
What do you do to build and maintain trusting relationships?

Ryan

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