One of the most challenging times for a ballroom dancer can be finding yourself in a situation without a dance partner. Not only are we not able to compete, but we are also not able to practice as we used to. This can be extremely frustrating and it can affect our confidence. But it doesn’t have to be like this, and I am here to help you get through this time in the best way possible. So I decided to ask all of my fantastic followers and get all of your experiences and add them together as a list of things to help you cope with not having a dance partner and adding a few of my own.
So I asked you some time ago on instagram "what are the biggest challenges when you don't have a dance partner and what you have done to cope?". I had some great responses and a lot of you expressed that it’s really difficult because you can’t compete and do shows and also because you feel that it’s difficult to stay motivated to practice alone. Some of you did mention that not having a dance partner has been positive and has made you improve more than ever, with one dancer saying “It has really made me discover what kind of dancer I want to be. I have worked on confidence and what type of partnership I want to attract”.
So what can we do to make this a positive experience?
Use obstacles as opportunities. Use it as an opportunity for growth where you can focus on your own improvement as a dancer.
How? Focus on setting goals. For example set a goal for each week or each month for something you want to achieve. Maybe the goal is getting a dance partner and then set little goals that will help you achieve that goal. Having goals that are measurable and that you are working towards will also help you stay motivated to practice. If you want to find out more about goal setting you can see my video on goal setting here.
Who am I? Use this opportunity to really go into depth in discovering what kind of dancer you want to be. This can also help you in discovering what kind of product you want to present to the world and will give you clarity on which partner would be ideal for you to achieve that.
How? A good way to do that is to explore yourself as a dancer. You can do that by practicing alone and watching videos and be inspired by other dancers. Study other dancers and see what you like and what you don’t like. Another great way to create your own unique style is by taking classes in different dance styles and use that to develop your own dancing.
Work on confidence. Confidence is one of the main predictors of success. Being confident will also help you attract a better dance partner. It doesn’t matter what level you are, everyone has something special to contribute to the dance world and we all have a voice that should be heard.
Try to focus on your own unique strengths. See my video on how to build confidence here.
Stay in the environment. Dancing is a big part of our lives and going to practice and competitions consumes a lot of time and energy. Most likely many of your friends are within the dance community. Just because you don’t have partner doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be going to the studio. One dancer expressed that the most important thing is “To keep busy and active so you don’t get depressed and to fill the time so that you are not suddenly left with an emptiness.“
How? Still go to practices every week, keep having your lessons as before and focus on your own improvement. Go to competitions so that people remember that you are looking for a partner. Stay part of the environment and keep in contact with your dance friends.
Be available. Make sure that you are making yourself available so that teachers and other dancers know that you are looking.
How? Tell your teachers that you are looking for a dance partner. Make sure you post adverts online. Go to comps and talk to other teachers and dancers and say that you are available for try outs. Write to teachers and say that you are looking or get your teachers to talk to other teachers on your behalf.
I hope that you find this useful and I would love to hear in the comments what you do to stay motivated when you are without a dance partner.