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I Can't Dance Like Nobody's Watching

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I Can't Dance Like Nobody's Watching

Post  meenakshi on Thu Jan 15, 2009 2:57 am

Dear All,

I came across this article and trust me its sooooooooooooooo inspiring and I think MOST MOST of us will relate to it.
Enjoy reading this.

The article credit goes to Don Baarns.

Happy dancing to all,

With lots of LOVE

I Can't Dance Like Nobody's Watching

Maybe youíve heard someone say "Dance Like Nobody's Watching," and maybe youíve already embraced it yourself. But Iíve noticed that most people who spit this mantra at you are already strong dancers. Itís easy to dance like nobodyís watching when everybody likes watching you dance.

I think thatís like the calendar girls who say ďthe human body is art, and showing it is fine.Ē Itís easy to be comfortable in a swim suit (or less) when you could be on the cover of Victoriaís Secret. And Iím pretty sure they havenít seen me without clothes, or they would amend their "body is art" statement.

Recently, Iíve been thinking about the process of dancing without care or inhibition. In some venues, I do pretty well with that concept, but it isnít always the case. In most clubs, there are a set of people dancing and a set of people watching, and I just do my thing, effectively ignoring them and focusing on my partner. In that environment, I know Iím a work in progress, and Iíve learned to deal with the discomfort of others being critical.

Frankly, I realize that most people simply donít care about me; theyíre focused on themselves, on their dancing, on their image. Thatís fine with me.

As a musician, I learned a long, long time ago that when performing, someone is always in the audience saying ďI could do that better.Ē In LA, many times there IS a set of stronger musicians in the audience, so I learned to ignore them and think, ďOk, maybe he could do it better, but heís sitting in the audience. I have my strengths too. These musicians asked me to perform, not him, so I must be doing something right.Ē The more energy you spend worrying about what others are thinking, the less focused you are on your performance or social dancing.

Over time, I matured, and I suspect the same thing applies to dancing. You have to toughen yourself as you grow, putting yourself in situations that are not always comfortable. Over time, you realize that other people think about you much less than your paranoid ego fears they do, and you have to go through the experiences to get better.

Iíve had a couple times over the years where Iíve thought, ďMaybe I should stop going to clubs for X months, and just practice on my own. The next time I show up at the clubs everybody will marvel at my progress.Ē Then I realize, ďAhhh, thatís not realistic; going to clubs and practicing is what makes me better, so just get over yourself and ignore everybody else while you learn.Ē

Of course, itís easy to say that, but sometimes Iím still moderately embarrassed while working through different phases of growth. Being a work in progress means some days will be better than others, but nothing beats the experience of being in the arena rather than sitting and watching others have fun.

Hereís a simple example: Sometimes Iím in my car, and working on head, neck or shoulder isolations while driving or sitting in traffic. Funny thing is, Iíll often stop when I realize someone has noticed me doing exercises, even though I dance in front of hundreds of people per week at the clubs.

The exercise will help my dancing, and the car practice is good time management, as long as I donít hear breaking glass from impact with those around me. I donít know these people now, I doubt Iíll ever see them again, they canít hear my music, and Iím actually making progress with my practice.

Why do I stop? Whatís my problem? In that situation, Iím obviously too worried about them thinking Iím crazy or otherwise abnormal. When I take a cold, hard look, itís obvious I shouldnít care what they think.

If I actually continue my exercises, possibly entertaining them and giving them a good laugh, Iím making their world more interesting and improving my dancing. In a way, Iím giving them a gift, even though they may be laughing at me rather than with me.

Of course, if I continue and my dancing improves, Iíll have the last laugh. Someday all those car hours of practice will fool people into believing that Iím a naturally gifted dancer, rather than someone who practices good time management.

Think of them telling their friends, ďYeah, Iím sitting in traffic, and this gray-haired guy in his Lexus is grooving to something. I think he was on drugs, or maybe he was having a seizure, I almost called 911, but then I figured out he thought he was dancing and I laughed so hard I had to pull over and wipe the tears from my eyes. This guy is a hoot. Watch for that gray Lexus.Ē

So Iím on crusade: Iím trying to worry less about others, especially those who donít know me. Iím thinking about what can I do to truly dance or practice like nobodyís watching, and give myself the mental freedom to occasionally look like an idiot.

How do we toughen ourselves, so we grow to our full potential? We can take different classes where our skills put us in the lower third of the class, then stick with it to become above average. We can read books about mind/body connections and high-pressure performance situations and find situations where growth is required. This may include doing a performance, going to new classes, entering a competition and/or joining a dance team.

In my case, Iím adopting the same dance attitude I have while playing music, plus taking classes and practicing.

We should also look for little things, like practicing shines in the line at the bank, or doing a few spins at the grocery store. The idea is to be bolder than you were in the past, doing little things in places where people will notice, knowing you have to ignore them and focus on refining your techniques.

For example, it would be easier to do our favorite, most rehearsed shine sequence while waiting at the bank, but we should also working on the ones that donít always work, because the risk of temporary failure makes us stronger. Ninety-nine percent of the people around us canít do the shines either, so if we ďfailĒ temporarily, refine, and then get it right, it toughens us and makes us stronger dancers.

In some classes I've moved my location from hiding in the back, to being in the front row, someplace close to the instructor. I'm no longer in the middle of the pack on the "across the floor" exercises, instead going close to the front, or sometimes even last, which means almost everybody else in the class is watching.

Itís not always easy for me, but I do it anyway, and you should too. Iím wondering what others are doing to toughen themselves?

Let me know your thoughts and techniques.
I feel like I'm in a rut. Every time I go to bed at night, I find myself getting up again in the morning.
--Brad Stine
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Re: I Can't Dance Like Nobody's Watching

Post  AnandMajumdar on Thu Jan 15, 2009 12:18 pm

excellent excellent stuff!!

meenakshi, you truly deserve credit for this .. thanks for making the forum a meaningful place...

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Re: I Can't Dance Like Nobody's Watching

Post  Varada on Thu Jan 15, 2009 1:10 pm

brill article...thanks meenakshi, for sharing..

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Re: I Can't Dance Like Nobody's Watching

Post  Guest on Thu Jan 15, 2009 4:40 pm

wooow!!! wat an article meenakshi... keep d gud wrk goin my dear...


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Re: I Can't Dance Like Nobody's Watching

Post  Sheetal on Fri Jan 16, 2009 12:54 am

Welcome back Varada!
Excellent post (like all the others) Meenakshi!

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