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Issue 17 Out Now

10 Reasons Why You Think You Cannot Dance

Photo by David Hofmann on Unsplash

Have you tried getting into dance but always felt like you did not belong? Perhaps you think dance is not for you, but why would it not be for you? Most often than not, we assume we must be perfectly skilled in something to enjoy it, but that should not be the case. Every art form is Utilitarian and does not need to fit into any fixed idea of what it should be. Art is ever-changing, evolving, and malleable, so before you bash yourself down for not being able to do it “right,” ask yourself, “On whose terms am I not doing it right?” For all you know, you might be the one gatekeeping such a beautiful experience from yourself! Dance is an expressive performing art form; besides being a great exercise activity, dance is also a cool recreational activity. These and many more are the reasons one should incorporate dance in their daily lives. If you catch yourself saying you cannot dance, there might be some underlying reasons you are not paying to, and I will list 10 of them here!

  1. You Have a Fixed Idea Of Who A Dancer Is

While professional dancers have been trained and have danced for a long time, we do not always have to limit our idea of dance to them. They are professionals, so of course, they are going to be excellent dancers! Once you start dancing, it will not be like Parris Goebel’s, but that does not mean you are not dancing. Every great dancer started as a beginner, and not every dance should be like the ones we see on TV. If you are always saying that you cannot dance, perhaps you miraculously expect to dance like Sean Lew right after you start. You do not need to be a professional to be a dancer or enjoy dance, just as you do not need to be a chef to cook for yourself. So brace yourself and lean in, not trying to be like every other dancer but yourself. You can pick role models and inspirations along the way but do not go in thinking you are going to dance like someone else because, like all art forms, dance does not exist as a monotonic expression!

2. You Are Dancing The Wrong Dance

There are so many dance genres to explore, so it might be a sign to try new dance genres if one feels challenging. While some dancers are versatile and can nail every dance they learn, others are more suited for specific dances. If one dance makes you too desperate, consider switching things around and giving new dances a chance. Even in the same dance form, some choreographies might be well suitable for you than others, so do not put all your eggs in one basket. Exploring new dances will let you figure out what you enjoy more and what your body responds to well!

3. You Are Dancing To The Wrong Music


If you do not enjoy dance due to executing the moves incorrectly, it is likely because you have the wrong music! Different kinds of music invoke different emotions out of us; therefore, if your moves feel too forced and out of place, it might be that the music is not your type. Try listening to new music genres to figure out what you enjoy or works best for you. Dancing to the right music makes you feel light in such a way that you do not need to direct too much attention to whether you have rhythm or not. Do not be scared. Try listening to new music and listening to songs multiple times because some great choreographers have found their artistic excellence when they are very familiar with the songs they dance to or when they allow themselves to dance to new music!

4. You Are Not Practicing

You won’t enjoy dancing the moment you start. As cliched as it may sound, practice does make perfect, especially in dance. Make time for practicing if dance is something you want to explore. It does not need to be hours or days. It could just be thirty minutes of every day or whatever that works for you. Make sure to include stretching in your dance practice to help your body familiarize itself with the activity. Then keep going. One step at a time, and you will naturally grow into loving dance.

Via Wikipedia(the free encyclopedia)

5. You Are a Very Tough Critic

You will not see your improvements or achievements if you do not open your eyes to see how far you have come! As you practice, do not be tough on yourself. Try giving yourself constructive criticism instead of condemning yourself when progress seems to be lagging. Record yourself when you practice and look for ways you could execute a step better, how you could pose better or how you could improve your facial expressions. It would help if you start being kind to yourself on your dance journey and believe it when you see improvements as minor as they may seem.

6. You Are Not Taking Notes

Photo by Samantha Weisburg on Unsplash

Note-taking is a good practice to document what you are doing well and what you need to work on more. Note-taking helps to keep track of your dance goals and progress. It does not need to be in writing — one way to take notes of small details is to dance in front of a mirror to see how the dance looks on you. It will be awkward at first but trust in yourself and your craft. Give yourself time, and things will fall in place. One reason people give for not dancing is that they dance offbeat. Note-taking in front of a mirror is an efficient way to monitor how your body moves to the beat. It will be great to document your observations so you can remind yourself of them when you take your notebook.

7. You Are Doing Too Much Too Soon

As already established, you are not going to wake up a pro dancer two days after dancing. Do not put too much pressure on yourself. One way to put too much pressure on yourself is trying many different styles all at once or expecting your first take at a choreography to be perfect. That is not how it works if you are a beginner. Try going with time and trusting in your abilities. Do one thing at a time and let it sit with you for a while before jumping to another. Do not compare your progress to other beginner dancers and be too harsh on yourself. Just do your thing and allow yourself to make mistakes so you could learn from them.

A picture of the author performing a dance piece

8. You Are Not Allowing Yourself To Be a Beginner

Drawing from the previous point, you need to accept that you are not a skilled dancer, but you want to learn to dance. Admitting that you are a beginner dancer will take a lot of pressure from you and give you time to enjoy being a beginner. There is no shame in being a beginner in something — we all develop new interests at different points in our lives, so do not look down on yourself for not being able to bust it down like studio choreographers. You do not need to be like them to enjoy the dance. That is the whole point. It is about you, so make it happen.

9. You Are Not Freestyling

picture of the author freestyling at a dance concert

As a beginner dancer, Freestyling should be your friend. You will not get every choreography or dance step 100%, and knowing the importance of improvisation in dance is very useful. Try freestyling to songs on your own. Do not worry too much about how you look while freestyling. It is about what makes you feel good about yourself. Wear comfortable clothes when you freestyle (or dance in general) and get to the dancefloor not because you want to practice a choreography but because you want to dance. Immerse yourself in the moment. If you feel like you are awkward, take a break. Start again. Adding freestyling to your beginner routine is beneficial because it adds personal style to any dance you learn and perform.

10. You Are Dancing With The Wrong people

Photo by Maick Maciel on Unsplash

If the squad you dance with heavily criticizes and makes you feel dumb for not getting a move correct, then you need to switch things up. It is essential to have dance partners who hype you up and give you positive feedback. If their criticism is not constructive, then you are not going to grow as a dancer. As a self-taught dancer, I have discovered receiving feedback through constructive criticism from my dance community is imperative to boost my confidence. They point me to working on specific things to improve my performance. If your group is not changing you positively, you need to change your group!

In conclusion, be sure to make your dance journey about you. Enjoy every bit of it. Be open to new experiences and go with the flow. Most importantly, get on the dance floor and show yourself you can do it. Be your hype person and set the ball rolling!

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