A painting can be finished,
but a dance can never be
finished at rehearsal. Dance is
a creation that needs the audience
to be there, and only then can
there be the whole creation.
—Kei Takei
Six
DANCE
LESSONS
BOWING OUT
Calling It
Curtains
t was a perfect close to a perfect evening at the
end of a long season. The two had danced their
hearts out this final performance, and the audi-
ence rewarded them with thunderous applause that
seemed as if it would never end. Time after time they
returned for another curtain call. The stage was begin-
ning to look more red than tan as roses thrown from
the audience piled up on the wood floor.
How had this magic happened? It seemed only
yesterday the pair had scrambled to be seated next to
each other at tryouts. They spoke of their histories
and their hopes. But mostly they talked of their bor-
derline hysteria over the trial of tryout. Now, they
made their way to their respective dressing rooms
I
172 STEP SIX
G
Absent support and growth,
partnerships languish and
cease. Partnerships generally
do not end in conflict; they
vanilla to death. They end far
more often because of neglect
than strife, so the most impor-
tant lesson is to keep partner-
ships healthy along the way.
But even healthy partner-
ships must sometimes be dis-
solved. William Shakespeare’s
oft-quoted line “parting is
such sweet sorrow” reminds us
that ending a successful part-
nership can be as emotionally
challenging as losing a mate
through death or divorce.
Bowing out on a partner-
ship that failed can be equally
difficult, because the partners
may feel relief or antipathy
coloring their sense of failure.
Because partnerships are rich,
engaging, and intimate, end-
ing even the briefest one is
not without emotion.
In these final two lessons
we will explore some ways to
manage partnership adjourn-
ment effectively. Lesson 13
will cover ideas for ending
partnerships that failed; the
final lesson will outline ways
to keep the “good” in “good-
in a hurried blend of triumph, sweat,
and relief.
“You gave my heart new beats,” he
said to her poetically as they paused in
the dimly lit hallway. “You helped me
find the magic again,” she replied with
a similar tone of melancholy. They
embraced in a moment far more
poignant than their calculated embraces
on stage. Her “Be well” was uttered
at the exact same moment as his “Take
care.” The end of their partnership had
been choreographed as carefully as it
had begun.
reat partnerships
don’t just stop; they
end as purposefully
and deliberately as
they began. Their
closure is planned
and orchestrated to ensure
there are no loose ends, no
unfinished business, no unre-
solved problems. The bowing
out phase is carefully crafted
to ensure the partnership is
nurtured until it is no more.
The word “nurture” implies
a key concept in dancing and
in partnership: relationships
must be fed and cared for.
BOWING OUT 173
bye” when closing out a suc-
cessful partnership.
Exiting a partnership and
ending one have the same out-
come: we get out. But even
though the two processes are
different, they can both be
managed to benefit future
partnering if you approach the
finale with a focus on finding
the lessons to be learned.
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