Philosophy of Partnership and Success

By Ketevan Zazanashvili Recently I watched the documentary ‘Ballroom Dancer’ starring with Mr. Kriklyvyy and Ms. Melnikova. This film inspired me to write a few words about my opinion on the partnership in ballroom dancing nowadays. First thought that came to my mind was ‘team work’. We as ballroom dancers should not forget that as a couple we are a team.

By Ketevan Zazanashvili

Recently I have watched a documentary movie ‘Ballroom Dancer’ starring with Mr. Kriklyvyy and Mrs. Melnikova. This film inspired me to write a few words about my opinion on the partnership in ballroom dancing nowadays.

First thought that came to my mind was ‘team work’. We as ballroom dancers should not forget that as a couple we are a team. We have to become ‘one’ yet staying individuals. Including your trainer (s) you have to create the positive spirit of teamwork. Otherwise, the failure is unavoidable.

Here I would like to talk shortly about the most crucial points for me in partnership taking this film as an example.

First of all, I would start with the communication in couple and behavior to your female/male partner.

We have to understand that closer people are, the less ‘borders’ there are. Moreover, if a couple has a romantic relationship, then, let’s say, the borders of communicational ‘ethics’ are blurred or do not exist, meaning that it is easier to tell your partner whatever you think. And it is easier to hurt the other person as well.

I strongly insist that even when we are very close to the other person, it does not mean that everything is allowed and anything can be told to each other. There must be some kind of ethical borders which partners either have naturally, or they have to talk it over before starting a partnership, or at least in the beginning of one. From my own experience I observed that people usually can not see themselves from the outside, so when the border is crossed it is almost impossible to change the behavior, especially when this behavior is a habit. Better if the person knows from the beginning where he/she has to stop and control oneself.

Another point for me is sincerity.

Talk to your partner in a polite form if you do not like something in the partnership or you do not feel positive enough about something. However, be careful, this should not transform into complains or blames of the other person. Remember, when blames start – partnership ends. It is very simple psychological paradigm. When one puts something he/she does not like in the form of accuse or blame the other person has natural instinct of defense and this form of communication usually grows into disagreement and quarrel. Even if one of the partners is right about the thing they are complaining about, it is really mean and disrespectful to tell this to the other person in a negative manner.

Moreover, if one of the partners is constantly concentrating on the ‘mistakes’ of other partner, that means that he/she is not really concentrated on his/her work. Consequently these blame are taking narrow subjective manner and actually the one who is blaming can be the person who ‘does it wrong’.

Additionally, apart from negative feelings to the partner, such behavior destroys ”victim’s” self-esteem and confidence. Eventually, depending on how strong the person is, he/she either chooses to ‘break down’ and ‘obey’ or safe himself/herself by running away – breaking up.

The best way out, in my opinion, is to have a constant ‘third eye’ of a coach or a trainer. However, if a couple is not able to have this constant control from the outside, they somehow have to come to the consensus about the form of training and again to talk it over beforehand. Another help will be to record your dancing on video – it is one of the ways of being more objective.

This is very interesting point. I observe such attitude in couples all over the world. Actually I would say that nowadays this (I won’t be afraid to call it like that) ‘sadistic-masochistic’ syndrome is extremely common (society, race or education is not a factor here). I would say its level is alarming. Sometimes it can take horrifying forms, such as physical abuse (usually by male partners; in this case the help of specialist is needed).

I would suggest following approach, which can also save partnership. Again coming back to our mind activity I want to note that it is very important how you approach to dealing with problems or hardships in your life (not only dancing). If you are used to pessimistic negative attitude – this may be fatal. The answer to resolve the problem may be in positive thinking. Meaning that we have to concentrate on what we actually WANT, and not on what we DON’T want. When during the training we are concentrated on a mistake (or the partner is constantly making us think about the mistake), by accelerating negative thinking we actually are attracting this mistake.

Never stop on the mistake while dancing!! The more you will feel the ‘approach’ of that mistake, the less you will be able to change it. Better way of thinking would be how to correct the mistake, what are the ways to change it.

And it is vital for both partners to have the same positive approach, since, if one of the partners have negative attitude, the partnership, I think, won’t last long.

Another crucial factor is self-criticism, idealism and perfectionism.

What I mean here is that, although we have to be critical to ourselves, these critics should be objective. If self-criticism crosses the border of objectivity, it transforms into self-destructive force.

Again it is the matter of positive outlook on the issue. When one sees oneself as the bearer of negativity, and even great achievements are seen as failure – it can be a matter of inferiority complex. Person starts to eat oneself from within; hence, the failure is again unavoidable.

Idealism on the other hand can be a helper, as well as destructive force. If we will not strive for ideal, we will not be able to fully open our potential and achieve success. However, on the other hand, idealism can destroy our potential. Since ideal is a totally subjective substance, nothing can be universally perfect. So if a dancer is too idealistic and has perfectionist and unrealistic requirements to oneself and to the partner, he/she is usually unable to perform and fulfill them. This naturally causes frustration, depressive feelings and negative attitude towards oneself and a partner that also leads to failure.

Creating the correct positive atmosphere on the training is another vital point.

Here I have to agree with Mrs. Melnikova that if one of the partners feels negative, aggressive, loaded with ‘outside’ problems, feels exhausted or tired etc., then the training will not be effective. If a dancer has ability to work with energy and feel it, then he/she would immediately understand the attitude of his/her partner before or during the training. To ‘set’ oneself positively for the training is a real philosophy. One should be able to switch energies very fast and this is really high professionalism, which is the outcome of constant self perception and working with one’s own character and inner self.

Another key to success: Well-planned training and choosing ‘correct’ trainers; preferably, to have few main coaches – maximum three.

Since all the people are different and all of them have different abilities of receiving and digesting information, one should be very careful in choosing a trainer. Choose the one that you really feel, the one who you understand and with whom you share the same approach. I would not recommend many trainers to work with, because too much different information, even on the same subject, is very confusing.

As for training itself, I don’t know how about others, but I personally am the kind of person that likes to analyze everything to the detail, so for me well planned training is crucial up to planning the ‘topic’ of training (for instance: footwork in Rumba routine). I am not good enough at working on something, which I do not understand clearly.

Consistency is the key to success.

One more thought

I want to share another thought (inspired by the movie) about the trainer’s approach.

I am really upset when I see the situation where one of the partners and his/her trainer are talking about the other partner (and his/her mistakes etc.) in the third person, while the person who is ‘talked about’ is present in the room. For me, personally, it is a huge disrespect towards anyone in such situation.

I believe that really good coach above all should be a good psychologist; hence such approach for me is unacceptable. I welcome the form when both partners are telling the trainer what they feel is wrong first of all with their own dancing (what they feel they are doing wrong) and then to say what they feel their partner is wrong in (in very polite, gentle form). Then, of course, it is trainer’s work to find the ‘real’ reason of the problem and resolve it.

The last, but not the least, is the attitude towards your dance.

First of all, you should not be afraid of failure, since, when you are concentrating on the negative outcome, it will put you in stress and pressure.

The only thing we should fear is the fear itself!

Face the fear and learn to cope with it. 

Secondly, enjoy dancing and dance just because you love dancing and not just for winning the title. If you approach to your dance as to the everyday boring work you have to do in order to promote – you will fail.

One should remember that ballroom dance, even if called dance sport, is still a part of art, and the purpose of art is to send message of love, kindness, beauty and warmth to the audience. So if your soul won’t fly when you dance, you won’t be able to succeed, since the success without a soul is just an illusion.

Therefore, to sum up, I would name again points, which are very important for me in partnership:

  • Communication and ethics of behavior in a couple
  • Teamwork
  • Sincerity
  • Positive atmosphere on training
  • Objective self-critics
  • Positive thinking and approach to dealing with dilemmas
  • Diminishing fear factor
  • Correctly chosen and limited number of trainers
  • Well planned training and consistency

For me these are the key factors leading to success.

Every step we are making in life depends on our everyday choices. They are the crucial elements in shaping of our future. Hence, we have to be very careful about all the choices we make, especially the selection of the words that can make other person happy or, on the contrary, sad and miserable.

Therefore, I think we should not blame in our fallacies anyone else but ourselves.


And remember, don’t dance because you want or must please somebody; dance firstly for your own pleasure.

Make your soul soar, dance with your heart and be happy, share the happiness with your partner and the audience. Only then will you be able to touch heart of others.

Dance just because you love to dance … even when dancing on Blackpool…

…ESPECIALLY when dancing Blackpool…

Ketevan Zazanashvili

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