Whether you’re a new Lindy Jazz member taking your first steps towards learning to dance, or you’re a more experienced dancer, your number one fear is probably that everyone in the room is looking at you. Your mind will tell you this, but the reality is that everyone in the room has their own worries and concerns, and they’re actually worrying that everyone is looking at them!
To Any New Dancers, This is My Message to You
There are a few situations where people will look at you;
If you are an extremely good dancer and you’re showing off a bit and performing;
If you are trying to attract attention.
Otherwise, people are probably not looking at you, I promise!
So Where Does This Fear Come From?
We might have seen someone drunk and dancing at a nightclub or a wedding. They might have made a fool of themselves and you saw people sniggering. Then that implanted the fear and thought in your brain, “ I MUST not put myself in a position where I make a fool of myself.”
However, a swing dance class is a completely different situation. Everyone is there for the same reasons; you’re all like-minded people who want to take your first steps to learning to dance.
Explore, Practise, Dance
When you take a Lindy Jazz course, there is no need to actually dance, believe it or not.
There are 3 stages in the course:
People often worry that they have to be able to dance immediately. In fact, on our courses, you’ll notice that we don’t seem to be dancing as such, particularly in the first two weeks. The aim is that you’ll be able to dance by week six, the final week.
In the first two weeks, it’s all about following our instructions step by step and trying out moves. This is what we mean by exploring. You follow the instructions without the need to assess yourself or get it right.
Stop Assessing and Start Enjoying
The thing that stops us from being able to dance or enjoy learning to dance is constant assessment. We constantly assess ourselves because we are imagining that people are assessing us.
We should simply turn up to a class and be students. We shouldn’t be wearing the hat of a student and the hat of an assessor because that gets way too complicated!
My advice for brand new dancers is don’t be afraid because there is no tiger in the room. What you do have in the room are like-minded people who simply want to learn.
Dealing with the Unfamiliar
A lack of familiarity is also a common trigger for fear. If something is new or unfamiliar, it’s very natural for us to fill that gap or lack of information with the worst scenario possible.
So if you are feeling afraid when you first join a class, write a list of questions and send them to me. They might look like;
What if I make a fool of myself?
What if I don’t catch up?
What if I don’t understand?
What if my feet won’t move?
What if I can’t get it right, ever?
Make a list and get it all out of your head!
To The More Experienced Dancers, I Want to Say This
If you’re a more experienced dancer, you may feel more familiar with everything now however, a new situation could trigger some fears. It could be something like dancing in a new environment. We recently went to a picnic and danced to a live band. How did that make you feel?
If you are an experienced dancer who feels at ease in the safe environment of our local community centre, did you feel safe getting up and dancing when there were strangers milling around?
Don’t Let Fear Stop You From Experiencing the Joy of Dance
I used to think that I had to dance well when I was in the presence of others. But after years of dancing for fun, I no longer worry about that.
I know that I’m not attracting any attention because everyone is there to enjoy themselves and after the event, they have to go home and deal with life and all of their commitments and concerns, just like me.
So whether you’re a newbie or a more experienced dancer, I want to say that no one is looking at you, they are looking at themselves and worrying about themselves.
Don’t let this fear stop you from learning to dance or learning to dance in new places.
Having the skills to dance and being clear on the moves will add to your confidence. In all of our classes, the aim is to give you step by step clear instructions so you are left in no doubt about the moves.
At Lindy Jazz, we take the mystery out of dancing and we aim to build your confidence. If you are looking to build confidence and to enjoy Swing dancing, then sign up for our next course!