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The Shy Dancer’s Guide, Part Four

It’s a long journey anyone takes, when they commit to overcoming their fear of dancing. From understanding that fear cannot be reasoned with, to using exposure therapy to gradually extend one’s comfort zone, to making that ultimate decision: is the work really worth it? But no matter where you are as you progress, there are certain truths every dancer must learn if they are to truly dance with confidence.

Feel the fear, and do it anyway.

Your fear may never go away, but it can be reduced it to a level that’s manageable for you. Or if it isn’t, do the next thing that is manageable until it feels easier. Unbelievable as it may seem, fear isn’t always a bad thing. Indeed, some of the best dancers rely on their fear to spin faster, jump higher.

If people are watching you, it mean’s you’re good.

If you don’t believe this, think back to performances you’ve seen, or a social you’ve attended. Which dancers stood out for you? The ones who danced the best of course – part of dancing well is knowing how to grab a viewer’s attention after all. Which means that if you aren’t one of the best, nobody is looking at you. And if they are, congratulate yourself: You must have done something amazing.

If you’re not good, they will forget.

Okay, so sometimes someone has a mishap which is just too obvious not to draw attention – falling down is a pretty common one. So ask yourself: When you did something embarrassing, did people remember it after an hour? A day? A week? Unless you outright killed someone, they forgot ages ago. It’s the same with dancing. Yes, it sucks to fall (it sucks just as much failing to prevent a fall, IMO) and some people may laugh. And then they will get on with their lives. Take a page from their book, and get on with yours.

You can’t be ready; you can only be ready enough.

Whether it’s a social, a performance, or a casting call, the first time is always the scariest. Why? Because nothing reality can throw at you is more scary than your imagination. So set a firm timeline to prepare yourself, and don’t deviate from it! Accept that no amount of preparation will make you feel ready – but work your heart out, and you will be.

In the end, it’s up to you.

Maybe nothing I’ve said has made an impact. Maybe that voice inside of you is still telling why you are the special one, the one who’s got it tougher than everyone else. I’ve got news for you: no one is that special! What separates those who do from those who don’t has nothing to do with their life circumstances, but whether they made the choice to sacrifice what they are, for want they wanted to become. You may not be special, but you are more powerful than you can ever begin to imagine. Give yourself a chance to prove it, and you can move mountains. Let nothing stand in your way!

About the Author

Ian Crewe has been dancing ballroom for over 18 years, and has a Licentiate in American smooth and rhythm. His passion for dance and his endless seeking for ways to reach new audiences eventually led him to blogging and the World Wide Web. Ian currently teaches at the Joy of Dance Centre, Toronto, ON, Canada.

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