Saturday, May 30, 2009
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Fear Of Dancing And The Dance Floor

I have many a crazy friend. Some would say that I was the craziest of them all. It does not matter. Some of them I know through dancing, some of them I don't. You want to know something crazy? Whether they're my friends that dance for a living or my friends who can't dance at all, they both have a fear of dancing. It seems that this crazy fear is something a lot of people have in common.

They even have a name for it now. Yes there's a name for practically every condition out there, even people who need to switch the lights on and off seventy times while humming every note of 'We Will Rock You' on every off switch before they leave a room! If every one of these conditions is accurate, every single one of us on this planet is crazy and has at least a hundred different conditions. And you guessed it, there's a frightening name for the fear of dancing, it's called...chorophobia.

Now I don't know about you and your friends, but I'm in no rush to send mine to the doctor's yet-at least not for this reason! I typed in 'fear of dancing' into Google the other day and lo and behold, there were 2, 240, 000 websites that mention this. That's a lot of chorophobiacs! There are hypnotherapists offering services to cure this, it is actually something that affects people's lives.

Well let me tell you, I've been through this journey from start to finish. From sitting in the most comfortable chair in the world in every single room I graced where people were being totally comfortable just dancing out of the blue on any London street. I have a dancer friend who also does gymnastics, who has no problem doing a back flip in the middle of his walking and then start dancing as if it's as easy as 1-2-3, all while people are walking towards him from the opposite direction (credit to Scotty P Maurice).

So what's the story? How do you get rid of the fear? Well there are basically two ways:

1. Just dance as best as you can and have fun, irrespective of what other people think and whether you look good or not.

2. Learn to dance well, and then as you build competence, your confidence will grow.

Two paths to the same destination. Of course if you choose number 2, number 1 will start to follow and you won't care what other people think if you know you're good!

You've all seen the first type, they're dancing, you're wondering what the hell they're doing but they seem to be having fun and that's all that matters. I'm sure you've also seen the second type, those really good dancers and thought to yourself, "Well duh, if I could dance like that, I wouldn't be scared at all."

Well you want to know something? A lot of those really good dancers are actually deep down scared as well. Time and time again I have seen extremely talented dancers, get ultra nervous and worried right before an audition or performance. They start doubting themselves and become blind to their own capabilities, convincing themselves they can't remember dance choreographies and routines. And I'm talking about dancers most people would die to be as good as!

When I saw this happening, that's when it struck me - it's just a biology thing. It's your body's fight or flight response where you suddenly get that rush of adrenaline shoot up your body, jolting into every one of your nerves and making your knees become weak at the prospect of what's to come. It could be damn good...or it could be damn nothing. And at those last moments what's more real to you is how you could turn into nothing, the lowest of the low, the bottom of the pit and everything that could go wrong.

It could take a huge paradigm shift, a whole new shift in the way you look at life in general to erase your fear by the first method I mentioned above. In fact for some people they never achieve this shift. Carly Simon is an extremely talented musician who is known to suffer from stage fright (she used to have her bottom spanked because the physical pain helped rid her of the stage fright). If she did not have the competence or desire, she would probably have never got on stage.

But if you choose the second route (i.e. to build competence instead) it is a much more gradual experience where you desensitize yourself to the whole notion of dancing. When you have a problem, it's usually a good idea to actually put yourself in a situation where you'll be forced to deal with that situation and become used to it (rather than becoming used to thinking about it and talking yourself out of it).

Once you actually go to a couple of dance classes, it won't be a big deal any more. Sure, you might still get a little nervous if you are a beginner or not familiar with the style, but you'll put yourself in there, the fear won't do nothing to stop you. So go ahead and dance, because there's always a new chorophobiac just waiting to take your place around the corner (probably sitting in a chair).


Copyright ©2009 Michele Cameron Drew. All Rights Reserved.


Ana said...

Dancing is one of the greatest tools of expression, I feel. I have always loved dancing and have just danced away in any form as what counted to me was the motion within the energy of the music. That undescribable moment where you just surrender to yourself, and flow within it. That is what it is truly about. Honestly I don't come to have these moments anymore. From a great lover of music, to a silence appreciation all moments are beautiful. I did feel like your friends, scared of dancing after one point of returning to dancing, as dancing was one of my core passions, and I was the one to always start dancing everywhere, and for the longest, as I just spread my wings all the time in this core passion of energy. I have come to understand that it wasn't fear, it was just that I was forcing myself to feel or dance like how I did in the past, and when doing so it just didn't work and I let myself down - or so it may seem. I was not appreciating that one moment, and just letting go. I feel that is what dancing encompasses. It's not about whether you dance in a certain way, or you practice, it's about being free in it and doing whatever activates you. It's nature. Now, If I feel like dancing I just do, and if I don't than it's no big deal. There is no reason to put pressure on myself, or make dancing into a chore. It is what it is, as simple. :) Nice site!

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