I have a theory about doing dance classes . The theory is that learning a specific dance has made me even less likely to enjoy or be able to throw some shapes on the dancefloor at parties, clubs and weddings. Yes, I believe learning to dance modern jive (and salsa) have ruined me for disco dancing. When I say disco dancing (yes, I’m showing my age), I mean casual, none structured – clubbing, parties or the like.
I’ve been dancing around half of my life. Bit with most if not all of that, being trained in dance makes me quite pernickity about my dancing. I don’t want to be seen as a scrappy dancer or off the beat. I can hold my own in most dance styles if I’m following a leader – a bit of salsa and ballroom, but put me at a party and it’s totally different. I feel awkward, under pressure to perform as everyone with me knows how much I dance.
At ceroc I’ll happily show off a bit. As well as good technique, I want to have a bit of a play with the music. I don’t really worry about looking silly, it’s about doing more and pushing myself to improve. But with a ‘disco’ and dancing alone it’s just embarrassing.
With modern jive every dance is different but there’s still a framework of technique and moves to back up the improvisation. You also have another person to work with.
Dancing at a party is usually all about the individual, and can leave you feeling exposed. I know even if it’s not true, it usually feels like everyone is watching.
So I resort to an embarrassed shuffle, throw in a bit more relaxing body movement – although dancing to modern club music singly and doing body rolls or shimmies might be the norm at a ceroc night but probably looks a little inappropriate from a nearing 40 year old at a wedding or sedate party.
I had a discussion recently with a friend while we had a totally mad fun dance at a ceroc night, about how I hate dancing at ‘discos’. My friend was surprised to hear I felt awkward. He didn’t understand how I could let loose on the modern jive dance floor but not at a party (where there was probably alcohol involved!).
My theory is that learning to dance properly, having training, has ruined my ability to just dance in a freestyle way. Although I’ve got over the shyness I had as a child dancing on stage, I feel more exposed on a party floor than on a dance floor at a freestyle night.
Recently I went to a party and for the last half hour did give dancing a go to please the birthday girl. Did I feel like everyone was watching? Yes. Did I feel a bit silly shuffling and throwing in occasional arm moves? Yes. Did I look at the floor a lot? Probably. But it was quite good fun dancing however it came.
A lot of dance enjoyment is to do with freedom and confidence. If you feel self conscious you’ll not dance your best and not enjoy it as much. Let go and be free (think like a young child and just move). You’ll probably not look as bad as you think….and who really cares if you’re enjoying yourself.
Have you ever felt the same? Do you feel uncomfortable when dancing outside of a formal dance night or at parties? Or are you a lucky person who always has a dance partner at events in case you need to dance? Let me know what you think below,