Save the last dance
I did hip-hop dancing for about three years during my stint as a dancer. Prior to that, I was the kid who got laughed at during birthday parties because I didn’t really know how to dance to pop music. I loved the idea of dancing but, as I mentioned in my previous post, I didn’t instinctively know how to move my body – it wasn’t something that came naturally to me. The self-consciousness that came when my peers made fun of me just added to my inhibition. So, when the dance studio started a beginning hip-hop class, I joined. I wanted to prove a point.
I don’t know that taking hip-hop really did much to enhance my dancing skills in a social context. Learning choreographed dances, even to pop music, isn’t necessarily conducive to being able to hold one’s own on the dance floor at a party. It was a good experience for me, but the moves never felt natural, and I was often dissatisfied with how I looked doing the moves. You’ll notice there are only a few pictures in this post. In part, that is because I did more ballet dances than hip-hop dances, but it’s also because it was hard to find pictures where I didn’t look super awkward. Also, it goes without saying, but just for the record: I had absolutely no say in or control over the outfits we had to wear for these dances!
Toward the end of high school, I quit my hip-hop class. I had developed an inflamed trapezius muscle during my junior year, which limited my neck mobility and sent me to a few physical therapy sessions. I concluded that the sharp, jerky movements that came with hip-hop dancing were, if not the cause of the inflammation, at least not helping the situation. Plus, to be honest, I really never got truly comfortable being a hip-hop dancer – the movements just never looked quite right when I did them!
It wasn’t until much later, when I discovered the power of liquid courage at wedding receptions, that I learned how to enjoy social dancing.
Regardless, one thing I have learned is that even if you’re doing a dance move that looks absolutely ridiculous, it’s better to go all out with it than to do it half-heartedly because you’re self-conscious. You will look less ridiculous if you’re totally into it.