I'm sure some of us, at least once in our dance career, have encountered a dance partner who simply likes to nit-pick and teach their partner. Unless you're competing in the teacher-student category where your dance partner really is your teacher, then I suggest to limit your nit-picking and focus on what you can contribute to the partnership instead.
Here are 3 Reasons Why You Shouldn't Teach Your Partner:
1. It means you already got your own steps perfect
If you have found a lot of time to focus on your dance partner, that means less time to focus on your own dancing - which suggests you've already nailed down your part and that you have perfected your own technique.
2. It is a one-way conversation
Instead of a healthy discussion, or trying to figure out problems in your dancing together, you are implying and directing all the blame on the other person. A partnership is successful when both are working to achieve the same goal. If you are not hearing out the other person, it is a one way conversation and there is no partnership. Remember, two heads are better than one. Also, this may result in your partner outgrowing you since all the focus of improvement is on him/her. You wouldn't want to stop improving yourself too.
3. It is demoralizing for your partner
Most dancers practice in a dance studio together with other competing couples. Let’s face it, it is embarrassing to be criticized in public. This may also lead to your partner being defensive and criticizing you right back. And this is not healthy anymore and leads to stress and a bad dance experience.
If you really must feel the need to correct something, make it a discussion with your partner. Use words like “I suggest..” , “What do you think of this…” , “How do you feel about doing this…”. So you’re not just imposing, it suggests an openness to your partner’s contribution and shows that you are open for discussion. Remember, there is no right or wrong answer. There is only what works for both you and your partner.
Focus on your own dancing as well. You might find out there are things you could do better to make the dancing work. Instead of trying to find solutions outside or from your partner, be aware of your own dancing and think of ways you can contribute.
So far, I have been lucky enough in my dance career that I haven't had a dance partner like this yet. But I have worked with and seen other dance couples who do this. And more often than not, I find out that half of the problem in the dancing is actually that person's fault.
This is when it is most useful to have a main coach / teacher to guide you. It is always a good idea to have a third eye to watch your dancing. Find a dance teacher with years of experience that you also have a connection with and let them guide both you and your partner.
Hopefully, with the right attitude towards a partnership and a great teacher to guide you, you can achieve teamwork and become faster at reaching that goal.