Okay, this has probably been covered before, but do any of you other dopers have a hard time dancing like nobody’s watching. And those of you that did at one point but don’t anymore, what happened?
Because I’m tired and procrastinating and don’t feel like being responsible…
Yeah, I do. I usually dance fairly well, I like to think. Nothing spectacular or flashy, but enough not to look stupid. However, earlier this week, I just couldn’t dance. I felt self-conscious, and the more I thought about it and tried to impress this girl, the more I fell apart. But last night … the music was good, the girls were smiling, and it all came together.
So, in answer to your question, I think you have to be self-confident. If you think you know what you’re doing, and you’re comfortable with yourself and your environment, you’ll do okay. I find it helps me a lot if I know the song; and, the more I like it, the better I dance (or at least, the less I care).
Ask matt_mcl or SqrlCub – I hear gay men know how to dance.
Not gay, but I loved dancing . . . and was amazed at how easy it was to do well. At first when I went to clubs and parties I just let the spirit move me, and flung all my energy into making up bold new moves, to the admiration of others. Then I took ballet lessons–which contributed zero to my dancing career. Then I took African dance from a Yoruba teacher to the beat of a live conga drum – and did my dancing life ever take off from there! The fundamental move in Yoruba dance is to pump the hips in and out. One great thing about African dance is you do it barefoot in communion with Mother Earth–so you don’t need to bother searching for the perfect ballet shoe.
One of the sweetest memories in my life is attending a party on “African Nite” at the Graduate School of International Studies. There were all these beautiful young Ethiopian ladies there. Once they saw my African moves, they were pushing each other out of the way to dance with me. It was sheer bliss. I liked knowing that people were looking at me; it helped me dance better. And I’m one of those shy, quiet types. Dance let me connect with others in ways I couldn’t have done otherwise. Thank God I wasn’t raised Baptist!
I enjoy dancing. I suppose I am tolerably good. I think it comes down to my belief that there is no absolute “right” way to dance. So you are no Gregory Hines, Fred Astaire or Gene Kelly. You, or I, can have the same amount of fun.
It also helps that I married a Baptist. She doesn’t know any better. She thinks I am a good dancer.
I also keep remembering the comments on Astaire’s first Hollywood audition: “Can’t sing, can’t act, dances a little.”
See, it’s all relative.
I’m one of those people who used to have problems dancing, but doesn’t anymore. All I can say is that a little alcohol goes a long, long way. Eventually, you become confident enough in your dancing that you don’t need the dutch courage.
My first experience dancing was pretty traumatic. I was (for various reasons) required to be on stage and dance in a employee talent-show sort of thing. Unfortunately, I had no talent. I couldn’t do the basic step-touch-step-touch thing. I jerked and stumbled about as awkwardly and arhythmically as I believe is possible. Luckily, I quit the job to go to college shortly afterwards.
In college, I desperately wanted to dance. Dances were filled with gorgeous women shakin’ it. I stood on the sidelines as if my feet were nailed to the floor, torn between the desire to join in and the fear of the embarassment and humiliation that would come when everyone realized I was a complete spaz.
I ended up trying it in private. I found I wasn’t too bad at bouncing up and down to music. That mastered, the step-touch move was easy. Once I was dancing, I could do fine. I went to dances and danced. (I found it much easier to leap, literally, into dancing. Trying to start dancing from a standing start was always hard, but once I leaped I was already dancing, so it was fine) I could get out there and shake it with those gorgeous women. And since it was easy to practice, I kept improving my technique and my confidence.
Since then, I’ve gotten a fair number of comments on my dancing. Most of them are positive. A friend once said to me at a club “Those women were definitely checking out your dancing. If you’d just reign in your zone of destruction, they could get close enough to talk to you.” I never did talk to them. But at least I can now dance, which is enjoyment in and of itself.
I love, love, love to dance! When my girlfriend and I make our annual pilgrimage to New Orleans sans husbands, we make it a point to hit a couple excellent dance clubs in the Quarter and just dance till we’re pooped!