Pas de Deux online partnerships

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.

6 thoughts on “Pas de Deux online partnerships

  1. teresa December 20, 2011 / 6:15 pm

    I like your “pas de deux”!

  2. Nancy White December 20, 2011 / 6:35 pm

    I love the analogy! I found myself smiling as I read it as I viscerally recognized the feeling, even while I have difficulty describing it. Thanks for sharing this.

  3. jennymackness December 20, 2011 / 7:15 pm

    Hello Teresa and Nancy – thank you for your visit and comments.

    You will have realised, of course, that the analogy is not mine but that of my colleague – but as for you, it really resonated with me. In fact I would say that it seems to be the story of my life , i.e. that others help me to jump higher than I could on my own.

    Like you Nancy – it immediately struck me as something I recognised but couldn’t have articulated myself.

  4. brainysmurf January 3, 2012 / 6:52 pm

    Great imagery, Jenny, thanks for sharing. You are one of the people who stands still long enough for me to jump higher too. Happy New Year! 🙂

  5. helinur March 26, 2014 / 7:59 am

    I love this concept too, a partner may help you higher or deeper or what ever.
    I came her from the TOOC14 Moodle discussion

  6. jennymackness March 26, 2014 / 5:43 pm

    Hi Heli – good to know that this resonated with you. I only remembered it after the webinar! Thanks for your comment.

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