Today I was really warmed by an email I received from a colleague I am working with in which he wrote that the work we are doing together is ‘ a great pas de deux’.
The description of Pas de Deux that I found in the first few lines of this website – I think perfectly describes the working relationship that I have been fortunate to have with many colleagues, both men and women.
Pas de Deux is French for “Step of Two” and is what partnering is called in ballet. By dancing with a partner the lady can jump higher, take positions she would never be able to on her own, and “float” about the stage as she is carried by her partner. A partner allows a man to extend his line and show off his strength.
It also reflects Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development – but I prefer the Pas de Deux analogy as it is less one sided and suggests that both in the partnership benefit, but in different ways.
In the working relationships I have, I am usually the one who, through the partnership, is being helped to jump higher than I could on my own. This makes me feel very fortunate, but also to wonder sometimes, whether I should in some way be doing something more. The idea of a ‘Pas de Deux’ partnership, is very helpful, as it points out that even those being lifted can have a positive effect on the lifter.
What is most interesting is that for me these Pas de Deux partnerships have come about almost entirely as a result of my online activities and in particular in participating in MOOCs. Why this is the case I have no idea. I find it an intriguing question.