Remember when you were looking for a partner? You probably had a wishlist of what you were searching for in the perfect dance partner:

Dance style, height, location, personality, dance ability, commitment…just to name a few!

Then you finally found that right person, who checked off enough boxes on your wishlist. And the honeymoon phase started. Patience, willingness, compromise–all of that, because you were on your best behavior, of course!

happier dance partnership kris suakjian briana haft

But as the partnership settles in and things get more comfortable, expectations grow. The true work of dance partnership sets in when things start to get stressful and pressure builds.

“Dancing is not just about finding a good partner, it is also about being a good one.” click to tweet

Stressful practices and strife in partnerships is so unproductive to successful dancing. Partners need to keep in mind that they are on the same team and NOT competing against each other.

Both dancers have to be willing to make changes towards a better use of their energies then fighting. By following a few simple steps, keeping the peace between partners will not only lead to more productive practices and competitions, but also more positive personal relations.

Expert Advice


Joao Capela Joao Capela[

Want to have a happier partnership and get more done? We got some fantastic advice on the matter from Joao Capela, an expert in performance and mental coaching for dancers. Joao works one-on-one with couples on helping them achieve their competitive goals by taking control of how to have a happy partnership.


(Side note, if you find practicing is becoming unproductive because of your partnership, consider adding a mental/performance trainer, like Joao, to your training team. Learning techniques to improve your partnership relations is well worth the investment!)


The 6 Steps to a Happier Dance Partnership



1. Respect your partner’s ability.

Joao’s Pro Tip:

“Everyone is different and has different abilities. Each partner must learn what are their own and their partner’s abilities and respect them. If you know your partner, you also know what he or she is good about and not so good about. It is your job to highlight those abilities and hide the rest.

Help your partner. It is very easy to find faults in the other when something bad happens. It is very easy to complain on the partner and not in ourselves. Try to see your partner as your most important factor in your dance. Without your partner you are nothing, so respect he/she and listen all the time.”

2. Realize that you don’t know everything.

Joao’s Pro Tip:


“I usually say that your partner is your best teacher. And is a great, great teacher because he or she knows you better then any other teacher and also because he/she is ALWAYS there. So be humble and take very serious on his/her advice and tips for you.”


3. Be willing to try something in a new way.

 Joao’s Pro Tip:


“If your partner wants to try something new, please accept. You are in a artistic world, and your creativity must be explored as must as possible. Don’t limit your mind only to your routine and stuff that teachers says.

You must explore together new movements, new dances, new styles. This is very important to develop your artistic mental side and keep yourselves motivated. And when you try new things, you are creating more links between the couple and knowing yourself better.

At the same time when you try something in a new way, maybe you find a better way to do the things. As I said before, everyone is different, so it is important to find what is the “way” that fits each one in the couple better.”


4. Compliment your partner and be encouraging.

Joao’s Pro Tip:


“Don’t expect your teachers to compliment you, neither your dance colleagues. They all have their agendas and problems. So focus all your time in your partner. He or she is always there and is the only one that is truly interested in your success.

Never stop complimenting your partner and motivating him/her. If your partner is happy you will also be. If he or she is motivated so will you be. Spend your time and energy encouraging your partner, accepting his or her faults, forgiving and genuinely believing in him/her.”


5. Set goals together with your partner.

Joao’s Pro Tip:


“Setting goals for the next season is a great way to better know your partner and his or her dreams. Sometimes we are dancing with someone but we never stop to think of what we really want.

Sit together and set goals for the next year and you will dance and practice much more in connection because now you both have the same goals.”


6. Create your own style, not your teacher’s style.

Joao’s Pro Tip:


“In the world of dance, it is very normal to have lessons with different teachers. It is now easier to travel so more and more couples can afford to be taught by more than one teacher. This is a great thing, but what happens also is that you may receive different pieces of information, even the opposite…

To have an happier partnership it is important to develop and decided what is your own style (not your teachers style… maybe it is entirely different) and stay true to that style.

This way, after a lesson it is your job to filter what you want to import to your dance and routine and leave what is not in line with your style. Do this with your partner. Listen to him/her and give more importance to his or her opinions instead of your teacher’s.”

Practice Happy Partnering!


When you think about your own partnership, how can these tips help you to have a happier partnership? Try them out and let us know what you think in the comments below.

Thanks very much to Joao for bringing his expert experience to this post!

joao capela dancesport

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