Who doesn’t want to have all the right moves to thrill their friends? Yea!
Or perhaps, flexibility and poise? Yes, darling 2.
So, you want to dance and feel the rhythm, but you have one issue. There are other people in the room… watching. Problematic, much? And, you think they are all looking at you try to move your arms and legs together with coordinated effort, maybe even rhythm! Gasp!
It’s ok. You want to try a dance class but feeling a little shy, huh? Maybe even anxious.
For me initially and from time to time it happens that there seems to be no better way to cleanse the bowels than the moments before dance class. TMI? Perhaps, I apologize. That was how nervous I was to walk through the door, even months from the first class. Other than knowing what to expect, here are some things that helped deal with the anxiety.
1. Know your motivation
Why do you want to try dance? Is it a style of dance? A level of confidence? Health and fitness? Visualize what success looks like for you. Even if you don’t have visions of being on stage, that doesn’t mean a lack of commitment. Know your “why”.
In the meantime, strike a power pose. Your physical posture and facial expressions can also affect your sense of confidence and how others see you. So, stand proud and maybe even smile. Remember dance is physical activity, which is a natural stress reliever!
2. Know where your anxiety stems from
What makes you nervous? Is it body image? Feeling like you look like uncoordinated? Teacher critic? Sort your thoughts, then find a way to address them. Try meditation or keeping a journal, which could also be a great way to look back over time and celebrate growth.
2a. Be aware of your self-talk:
Your self-talk could be a key into figuring out your nervous issue. Expect positive outcomes rather than assume a negative reaction. Also acknowledge that if an interaction does go poorly it may be for reasons beyond your control, like someone else’s mood. So be kind to yourself. Then pat yourself on the back! Be your own best coach and cheerleader.
3. Develop a plan (& stick with it!)
When I decided to walk through the door the second time, I decided to be consistent starting by developing a 3-month plan.
3a. What is your contingency plan?
Days when I felt really anxious, I would watch a motivational video or read a blog related to my dance specific concern. If it was really bad, I would walk the block and talk to a friend or family. Then I showed up anyway. Prep your clothes and snacks. Make things easier to follow through on!
4. Build a community
Community is everything! Speak to the people in dance class, janitors, front desk reception, everyone! But not all at once. I find it easier to be corrected if I talk to other dance students and the teacher. More frequent and positive communication helps understand people and the interactions. Try to project the positive energy you would like to receive and be present and consistent. You may find that others also felt the same way you felt ages ago or perceive things differently.
5. Be realistic and Be easy on yourself
Think of the masterpieces, now remember that those artists, writers, etc., weren’t always so great. They produced mediocre work on the way to greatness. They had to get through the not so good stuff, to get to their masterpieces. You’re the same.
Now hold your chin up and remember dance will require something from you. It requires a sense of self-awareness and to push your limits. After all, you can’t remain the same exact person that walked through the door on that first day. You’ll grow. Once getting past your shyness or feeling anxious, it can teach the importance of self-care. You’ll feel good that you did it. Final thought: There is no better time than to start where you are at! (Unless you need a doctor’s note). Check out the schedule of classes and take the plunge. Let the journey begin.