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Destroy Your Dance Demons

I consider myself to be a fairly spiritual person. And by that, I mean I spend an above-average amount of time thinking about how we can live happy, fulfilled lives. Naturally, that also includes how to deal with the fears that hold us back. And learning to dance usually involves facing a whole bushel of them (that’s right – bushels).

Why are we afraid? The reality is, anything that involves stepping outside of our comfort zone is going to feel… Well, uncomfortable. And dance, being very unlike what most of us do in our daily lives, feels less like a small step and more like a giant leap.

Recently, I wrote a list of my personal demons, how they try to keep me in my comfort zone, and what the “antidote” to each one was. Then I thought, “hey, maybe I should do the same thing for dance demons too!” And here we are:

The “Not Good Enough” Demon

This demon’s MO is to convince us that we just don’t have what it takes to achieve our dancing dreams. It holds every mistake we make up to our face and says: “see? I told you you couldn’t do it! Why don’t you stop wasting your time and go watch tv instead?”

How to defeat it: This demon loves to point out mistakes, but it tends to ignore the victories. Make a habit of noticing when you do something well, even write it down when it happens in a “victory notebook” – it will shed a better light on your progress.

The “It’s Too Much Work” Demon

This demon often appears after the “honeymoon” phase of dancing wears off, making us question if dance is really worth the effort. “After all” this demon argues, “do you really want to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars and countless hours, just to learn a few silly dance steps?” 

How to defeat it: This demon is strongest when you are still discovering what you love about dancing – the more connected you are to why you dance, the less of a foothold it has. Spend some time reflecting, or just go out to a club and pay attention to how it feels. You’ll know then, that dance means more to you than just “silly steps”.

The “Everyone is Better Than Me” Demon

This demon grows stronger when you compare yourself to others. Similar to the “Not Good Enough” demon, it loves looking at others who’ve learned faster. By comparing yourself to others, it makes your own victories seem small and inconsequential.

How to defeat it: There will always be someone better than you out there – and there will be worse too. Keep reaffirming what you love about dancing, and focus on your own victories. And if you see someone who dances better, change your thinking from “I’ll never be as good as him” to “what’s he doing that I can work towards?”

The “I Already Know Everything I Need” Demon

This demon is especially tricky, because it preys on the ego. Learning to dance can feel a bit like we’re back in school: People who are used to being masters of their domain suddenly find themselves as awkward beginners again. Many throw up their hands and say, “screw this! I’m a CEO for (insert deity here)’s sake! I don’t have to put up with this!”

How to defeat it: The only real cure for this form of demon is an honest look at what you’re self-worth is tied to. The truly confident individual understands that learning and making mistakes are just part of life, regardless of whether you’re the president or a janitor. Make peace with being a beginner again, and you’ll be unstoppable.

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 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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