A little friendly competition

One of the questions I received boils down to this: Are dancers who travel or work together truly friends, or does competition prevent that?

That depends on a great number of issues. Scotty and I are definitely truly friends, regardless of the money we do or don’t make around each other. We help each other in many ways, other than splitting the cost of travel. We collaborate in various ways, talk to each other about problems or concerns, and look out for each other in general. Two other guys who travel together are Will and Johnny, two beautiful Latino dancers from Miami. They really are friends.

Is it always like that? No. Probably not. I’m sure that there are people who travel together out of convenience or to lower indiviudal costs. I know of two dancers from Charlotte who no longer travel together, because one was always creating problems and not covering his share of the gas/hotel. They had no other connection, so the other dancer now refuses to travel with the mooch. It’s the same as any other working scenario: There are people you bond with, and people you tolerate (and people you avoid as well).

As for behind the scenes, I have already blogged about the competition that exists there. But that entry deals with dancers in general, not travel companions. I would say that people who consistently go place to place together over a long term will develop some kind of tolerance for each other (at a minimum), and that others get quite close. But relationships are always evolving. A perceived or actual insult, attack, theft, or any other number of bad experiences can sour a travelling duo’s connection just as quickly as anyone else’s.

My suggestion is to know the person you travel with. This person, if you share a room, will have access to your belongings. You wouldn’t want to get hijacked in your own car. You also need to know that the cash you’ll be keeping on you until you can take it to the bank will be vulnerable. I didn’t invite Scotty to travel with me until we’d danced together consistently for several months. After staying with him several times, eating with him, getting to know more about him as a person, and sharing info about myself with him (to see how he would treat it), I finally knew I could take him on the road with me. I have never had even a moment’s cause to regret that (note: Remind me, please someone, to one day tell you about the first trip we took together down to Macon, GA… HAHAHAHAHA!). But I got to know him first. We became friends first.

So, simple answer: No, not all who travel together are friends, but it’d be a good idea for them to at least respect each other.

Author: Devon Hunter

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