You know those moments in life when you recognize something about yourself? Maybe it’s a new skill, a bad habit or an insecurity that you just haven’t been able to shake as an adult. That insecurity may involve dancing. You want to take a date to that wedding, but feel anxious about the moment when the deejay plays a slow song. You want to use that gift certificate for a dance lesson, but feel intimidated. The common roadblock is FEAR. You can tap your fingers to a song in your car, but the thought of moving your entire body in a public setting is outright paralyzing!
You’re not alone. Many overanalyze how they might look when they dance, opting to sit every song out. There’s actually a word for the most extreme fear of dancing (which includes panic attacks): chorophobia. If you feel you have “two left feet,” recognize that finger tapping is your body’s way of demonstrating musicality. You already have dance in you! We all have the ability to follow rhythm. Dancing allows us to learn something new and meet people, and has a host of other benefits. Consider these 5 tips as baby steps to getting comfortable on the dancefloor:
- Grab a Mirror for Self-Reflection
Grab your (figurative) mirror and take a look at what holds you back. Do you feel awkward when you dance? Do you wish you knew some basic dance steps? Self-realization provides opportunities for self-growth. If everyone invested more time on reflection and self-improvement, we would probably all live a more satisfied life. Give yourself the chance to change what you wish.
- Lose the Mirror and Be a Closet Dancer
Now that we’ve looked inward, let’s focus outward. Remember that preteen stage when you wanted to know what it was like to kiss someone? You longingly locked lips on your walls, stuffed animals and photos of your summer crush…in private, of course! This was your personal practice session before the real moment. Chime in to the adolescent in you because the best place for you to start expressing yourself musically is in the comfort of your own home. Close the blinds, lock the doors, ignore the phone and put on your favorite tunes. Allow yourself to feel the music and, as the saying goes, “dance like nobody’s watching.” This should be a relaxing, fun experience, so if mirrors are deterring you, stray away from them. Give yourself permission to connect with the music and your body will respond with movement.
- Recruit a Buddy
Once you’ve completed your solo dance assignment, it’s time to ask a friend for a favor. Select a trusted buddy, neighbor or family member to casually dance by you to the tunes of his or her choosing. This will help build confidence and segue you into a larger dance arena. Freeing yourself of judgment or criticism, start by clapping and slowly increase to a head bob or hip sway or however your body wants to groove. Remember, this is not a test!
- Grab the Remote
We know asking for help isn’t always easy, so reward yourself with some couch potato time! Kick back and enjoy popular dance movies such as “Singin’ In The Rain,” “Dirty Dancing,” “Shall We Dance?,” “Footloose” and “Saturday Night Fever.” You can also check out cable or network TV for dance competition shows or learn more about dance technicality by perusing beginner videos or performances on sites like YouTube. Just as your other assignments, this will prime you for your own dance lesson. Has research ever been so fun?
- Do a Trial Without Denial
Now, you owe it to yourself to take that first step into a dance studio. The beauty of Arthur Murray is that we offer a free, no-obligation introductory session. Sign up for a trial and our professional instructors will take it from there. Denial is your worst enemy, so be sure to share your any apprehensions with your instructor. He or she will address your needs and, in a short while, you’ll be testing out difference dance styles to current, hip, relevant music in an inviting environment. Many of the dancers you’ll see in studio started in your rookie shoes. Once you feel comfortable, consider recruiting a friend who may need rescuing from dance fear with a gift certificate. Consider it a social service.