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  • “I don’t know how to dance”

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    Rita Morais

    “I’m not good at dancing”

    “I have two left feet”

    “I can’t dance”

     

    Over and over I hear people say this, with a twinkle in their eyes, while they watch couples slide gracefully across the dance floor to the sound of whatever music of their choice. Over and over I see that look on people’s faces: “I would never, in a million years, be able to do that.” Over and over I see invitations being refused based on the infamous excuse of “nah, I’m a terrible dancer”.

    Being able to dance is often seen as this kind of magical gift that some fortunate ones are born with, and others, less fortunate, are not.

    Now let’s take a step back, let’s imagine a friend asks you to join them for an afternoon of skiing, kickboxing or even acro yoga, you’ve never done any of these in your life but, I’m pretty sure, the answer will be on the lines of “sure, why not? I’ll give it a try”.

    I always assumed one of the potential issues for not wanting to try out dancing is the fear of looking ridiculous. But truly, let’s face it, is there anything more ridiculous than slamming your face on the snow at 15km an hour? Falling on your partner when trying an intricate pose?

    Was it expected of you to nail any of these at your first try? No. It wasn’t. You knew you were probably going to suck at it.

    Fast forward 1 year, you are now sliding down the slopes at a comfortable speed, you are one with the mountain, the snow is now your friend. What happened? Do you remember when kids would laugh while you were trying to not fall every 5 minutes? Do you remember your friends always having to slow down for you? Do you remember when you used to suck?

    I believe the main difference with dancing is that as it is a very social, fun, and, for some, almost instinctive activity, we forget to see dancing for what it really is: a physical activity like any other. 

    Sure it involves being close to someone, maybe a stranger. Sure it involves music and following a rhythm. But deep down at the core, dancing is a physical activity.

    And at any physical activity, you need to practice to get better. You need to suck in order to become good at it. Different people will have different starting points, but don’t we always? At every single thing we try in life? Maybe you suck a little less, maybe you absolutely suck when you start. And, for sure, no one is asking new comers to go dance in the middle of the dance floor with a spotlight shining on them, that’s exactly why there are dance classes! Dance classes are safe places, the whole point is to suck a little less than yesterday, be kind to yourself and respect the process. Your body needs time to learn.

    So, next time a friend tells you they can’t dance, try to make them see dancing as a physical activity you learn and get better at, not an unattainable magical unicorn reserved for the lucky ones blessed by the dance gods.

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