Love at Work: Should You Date Your Dance Partner?
I found a great boyfriend in my ballet company. I love how he understands my life as a professional dancer. The problem is we've started fighting whenever one of us gives the other a correction during partnering. Is dating him a bad idea?
—Lovesick, Toronto, Ontario
Working together has been common for couples for centuries (think mom-and-pop shops). But too much time together also provides more time for conflict. According to psychologist Dr. Kathy Marshack, an expert on work-linked couples, the skills that create a successful relationship, like being accommodating, can be destructive on the job. When fixing a partnering glitch, sometimes one of you may need to take charge to get the best results. Confiicts are bound to arise, but try to dispense with them quickly and focus on the task at hand.
Good communication is key to working through your partnering problems in a more helpful, constructive way. This requires listening, asking questions and making sure you each understand what the other is trying to convey. Remember that no couple is impervious to confiict; it's a normal part of the push and pull of chemistry. Rather than getting upset about disagreements in the studio, find ways that you can both benefit from your unique situation. With the right approach, you can build a stronger partnership in and outside of the studio.
Send your questions to Dr. Linda Hamilton at firstname.lastname@example.org.