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It Sucks to Practice Dance

Yep, I said it. Having to practice dance moves and technique is frustrating and boring. 

Most of us start dancing with dreams of whirling around the dance floor in no time. We get the best dance partners. We look like two million bucks (to cover inflation). We’re having the time of our lives. But instead, we’re stuck trying to keep our balance on a turn-in-place? Kind of a Debbie Downer.

This is where most of us quit. It’s not that those dreams go away, just that we lose sight of them in the endless drilling of patterns. We procrastinate when it’s time to practice dance, then feel even more frustrated when our progress slows. We defeat ourselves.

But some of us don’t. Some find goals meaningful enough to keep us moving forward. Or maybe we enter with one goal, only to see how dance could fulfill another.

Like me, for example. I started dancing as a painfully shy teenager. I wanted desperately to fit in, but talking to anyone was agony for me. But being able to dance with good-looking individuals on a regular basis, building my confidence – and without having to say a word? Yep, that was worth a little dance practice to me.

I was lucky enough to have a goal I felt strongly about from the beginning, but others develop over time. I once had a student who “just wanted to know a few steps”. She now competes – and wins – championships all over North America. She found something that made the drudgery of dance practice worth it.

True growth, in any discipline, is not sexy. It’s not finding some secret inner talent that blows everyone away and instantly rockets you to fame and popularity. It happens in the minutes and hours you spend reviewing, again and again, checking in to see what feels better, and what doesn’t. It happens in the slow process of getting to know yourself, and how you were meant to move.

At a certain point, a switch occurs. We start looking actually looking forward to when we will practice dance next, hoping that this is the time we will finally nail that Cuban motion, arabesque, or triple spin. Where we previously saw drudgery, now we see progress, improvement, potential.

Yes, it sucks to practice dance – until we realize that it is only through the blood, sweat, and tears that we find a sense of personal satisfaction. We get the rare pleasure of looking back at the valleys below and recognizing that successful was not given to us – we earned it, with every step.

Most people will scoff at that, and turn their attentions to lesser pleasures. But if this resonates with you, I wish you all the strength I can offer. Your journey is just beginning.

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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