So one night, there I was in a cocktail bar (yes, I was socialising in a cocktail bar on a school night!) and I met a tall, handsome stranger (okay you’ve got me again .. but a girl can dream, right?) Well anyway back to the story …. As we chatted he started telling me how he felt dancing was such an embarrassing thing to do. Little did he know who he was talking to and he looked bemused when revealed all. I told him that I teach social dancing, and that amongst the various types of people I work with, my latest project involves teaching wedding couples their first dance.
This is a typical reaction when I describe what I do for a living. More often than not I’ll focus the topic of conversation to include something the other person is more interested tempting them towards a more familiar topic. However, this time was different, maybe it was the cocktails! So I asked him what it was he found so embarrassing about dancing; his response was interesting. He said it is because ‘we are trying to present something that is not really us’. With a little shrug he continued, ‘once you’ve had a few drinks dancing is no problem’; ‘dancing is not for me, I have two left feet’; ‘ I have no rhythm’ and ‘I can’t even do dad dancing’. All quite interesting comments and reasons that can easily be addressed I mussed.
So what exactly is embarrassing about dancing that prevents people from even having a go, and what is it that we’re trying to present?
Although there are endless possible answers to this question, essentially dancing requires some kind of control or skill. The problem arises when we haven’t yet mastered that skill, and trying to dance when we don’t feel confident leads to embarrassment.
If we were to think of dancing as a social skill . . . .
To me dancing is not a performance; it’s a social skill just like when meeting new people. Social dancing is about making conversation and making connections with other people. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to let go and just enjoy the moment. If we allow ourselves to just be ourselves, the unnecessarily pressure evaporates. Dancing need not be embarrassing if we learn how to do it. Like many things it’s a skill that can be learnt, mastered and enjoyed.
So, if you are possibly thinking about giving dancing a go, my advice is to simply go for it. It is only by learning and practising a new skill that you can feel comfortable doing it. There are many classes available for all levels and to suit all styles of dancing. If you’re not sure where to begin then I would suggest looking into an adult beginner swing class. This is a fun style of dancing that can be picked up easily enough.
Still feeling embarrassed? Still not ready to brave a class? Most of us feel more comfortable in your own homes away from prying eyes and an audience. My new Dance Doctor website contains some videos that are a great place to start, so why not have a go today!