Fred Astaire said, “Some people seem to think that good dancers are born, but all the good dancers I have known are taught or trained.”
Nobody comes out of the womb dancing. Or if they do, they’re not dancing like professionals. Learning to dance is a process, and sometimes, it’s not a comfortable one.
People have a perception that since dance is fun, it should be easy. That because it’s something that people do for entertainment, there isn’t any work involved. They think dancing is like being able to roll your tongue—you can either do it, or you can’t.
This perception holds so many people back from stepping onto the dance floor or into a studio to learn to dance. They never even give themselves the opportunity to try, or if they do try, they are constantly second-guessing themselves and holding themselves back from really learning.
Dancing is like learning another language. It takes time. It takes practice. It takes some method of instruction. It takes all of these elements working together to succeed. Like learning another language, there are awkward phases. There are lots of mistakes. There are potential times to inadvertently offend another person. But like learning another language, learning to dance gives you the ability to connect with more people. To connect with more cultures. To express yourself more fully.
You just have to trust the process. You have to trust that some days, it will feel like two steps forward and one step back. That some days, your body and brain will rebel. That some days, you’ll feel like a pubescent teenager, all elbows and angles.
Yes, you’re aiming to come out on the other side as a better dancer, but the whole fun of learning to dance is the process. Along the way, you learn so much about yourself and other people.
You learn that even if you don’t master something at once, with time and practice, it becomes fluid. You learn that every mistake is a chance to improve. You learn that every single time you dance, you get better. There is no going back. There is no regression. Once you learn something, you’ve learned it. It’s like riding a bicycle— you’ll never forget. Sure, you may get a little bit rusty, but if you stick with it, you will never become a worse dancer.
So beginner dancers and would-be beginner dancers—trust the process. Overcome your fears and take the first step to learn to dance. Experienced dancers…remember that there is never really a stopping point. There is always something to learn. Always something to master. Always a new way to look at the same step. Wherever you are, keep dancing, and keep enjoying the process along the way.
What do you think? How have you trusted the dance process? How have you not? What limitation do you need to overcome to get to the next level?