What Dance Has Taught Me

What Dance Has Taught Me

“I dance, I sweat, I flirt, I leave”

I attended a performing arts school for middle and high school and majored in orchestra. Because of that, I was known as “The Cellist” in my community. While I did love orchestra, I got very sick of that label after graduation. So, as I went to college, I decided to re-brand myself. I could be anything I wanted! So, I decided that I would become “The Dancer”. At first, the brand didn’t stick. But now, after a year in college, I have finally become “The Dancer”.

Now let me clarify: I am a social dancer. I do not take formal lessons or do formal performances. Social dances are casual drop-ins. You come when you like, you dance when you like, and you dance your style. My preferred styles of dance are contra dancing and swing dancing, but I also have just learned the waltz and blues. There are “regulars” at every dance event, but there are always new people too. For those curious about dance, I would just like to share a few things I have learned about myself in the past two years of dancing.

It’s Okay to Say No. You have every right to say no in a situation. If you don’t feel comfortable with someone, it’s okay to not dance with them. If you don’t like their conversation, you don’t have to talk to them. If you don’t like how they dance near you, you can walk away. Some people are very persistent, but you can take a stand and say no (with no excuse).

Live in the Moment. I have a Type A personality. I am always on the go and planning my next move and wondering what will happen in the next moment. Living that way brings me anxiety and stress sometimes. But dance forces me to be in the moment. You have to pay attention to every step and every turn and how beautiful your partner’s eyes are and how many buttons are one their shirt and…all you’re doing is just being there. You don’t have anywhere else to be and you are having a good time. So stay in the moment for now and just let it be.

Things Take Time. I have lost the patience to learn new things. They say that happens when you get older. When I first began dancing, I was so incredibly frustrated that I wasn’t a good dancer right off the bat. But that’s not how things work. Skill takes time and practice. The first kind of dance I learned was contra and it took me a solid three months just to get the basic steps down. Now here I am two years later, mastering those steps and learning new styles of dance. It really was a struggle remembering patience. But taking the time to learn the steps and practice was all worth the effort in the end.

Body Confidence. Being a first-year college student, the freshman 15 has been creeping up on me. I try to go to the gym when I can and I dance every week. Yet, somehow, I am still gaining weight. But you know what? The numbers on the scale do not matter. Yeah, I am a little heavier than I want to be, but I am capable of so much more than I was in high school. My strengthened core brings me balance and I am now less clumsy. I have endurance and can dance for a lot longer than I could before. I have muscle memory that allows me to be graceful on the dance floor. These skills are worth way more than the numbers on the scale. I look and feel fabulous and nothing or no one is going to tell me otherwise.

Attire. You can wear whatever you want and get away with it.

Being a Flirt. One of my favorite dance slogans is, “I dance, I sweat, I flirt, I leave”. And that is exactly right. Social dancing allows you to interact with so many types of people in a unique setting. Dancing has a certain intimacy: you can get very up close and personal when you dance and you can be flirty if you want. But then you can leave. You don't have to carry on, you don't have to go home with anyone, and you don't have to give out your number (unless you want to). Now obviously there are some rules like don’t lead people on, don’t be vulgar, don’t be excessive or rude. And, as mentioned earlier, if you are uncomfortable, you can change partners or decide to leave. But it’s fun to be flirty with those who flirt back. It’s non-committal and silly.

Community. Oh my gosh, the community is awesome! While I have gone out of town for a few dances (shout out to Lake Murray!), I dance mostly in Charleston. It has been absolutely amazing getting to know the regulars here. Some people from contra dance also swing dance too, so it’s great getting to dance with them in new settings. You build strong relationships and trust with these people. And what a great community it is.

Cover Image Credit: Michele Turner

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6 Things College Girls Can Do To Get Over That Boy That Does You Wrong

Boys can do you wrong, here's how to get over it.

How to get over that guy that’s just not That into you– or he could be into you, but not enough for your satisfaction or worth.

Unfortunately, I think we have all been there. You meet someone. You hit it off. You talk to them from time to time, or maybe all the time– you may even become top friends on Snapchat and earn the sought after yellow and then red heart. You may even hang out a few times and go home with each other after a night out. You talk about dating and liking each other– which if you’re like me, is not something you do often.You think things are going great, until they are not.

He may give you signs that he’s not that into you by casually pulling away. He could possibly ghost you, which if you don’t know (like I didn’t a few weeks ago), ghosting means just disappearing from your life with no warning. He may also continue to lead you on until he decides it’s convenient for him to tell you how he’s feeling. For me, I was in bed with him when he drunkenly confessed to me he was torn between me and another girl. LOL, BOY, BYE.

I was caught off guard, just like any other person who likes someone would be if they out-of-the-blue tell you that they don’t feel the same way or that they are into someone else. It sucked. At first, I was hurt. Next, I was pissed. After that, I quickly realized that I deserved better, or at least deserved someone who respected me enough to tell me in an actual sober conversation. I did the “two girl situation” in high school. It’s not fun. Worrying about whether or not someone will choose you is stressful and emotionally trying. I am in college to stress about homework and exams, not boys.

Things I have done that helped me, which could help you:

1. Cry

I am a crier. I hate to admit it, but I am. This is the best thing to do first if you’re like me. Go home, get in bed, and cry it out. Crying in your own bed will be much more comfortable than outside a bar at 1 am– yup, I did that.

2. Talk to a friend

I am not one that enjoys talking about my personal life with people; however, if this situation happens to you, talk to a friend!! If you have a guy friend, he’ll offer to beat up the guy for you, and if you have a girl friend, she’s going to empower the hell out of you until you realize you are better off.Both will make you feel better.

3. Realize it’s him, not you.

Cliché, but totally true. If a guy doesn’t want to be with you, it’s his own fault. He either doesn’t see your worth, doesn’t see you for all the amazing things you are, or could even be afraid of just how wonderful you are. It’s important to acknowledge that those are all his problems– not yours.

4. Hook up with someone else

I am saying hook up lightly. If you want to go mess around or have sex with a guy to get over the boy, you do you. Hooking up could also just mean meeting someone out. Go grab food with someone, dance with someone else or friends at a bar, just do something to distract yourself from the other boy. Honestly, this could either be successful and help you forget him, or make you miss him more, but it is worth a shot.

5. Remember it's okay to be sad

Depending on the situation, it could take you a little bit to be okay with the circumstances. Just remember that it is okay to feel whatever emotions you may feel. Slowly, it’ll start to get better.

6. Listen to an "ef boy" playlist

Seriously, get on Spotify, or whatever music source, and listen to music.

I found a play list called “f*ck boys”, and it was the best damn thing I have ever listened to. For real, music can make you feel all the feelings– and it can make you realize you are a strong, independent person who does not need anyone. (Personal favorites to jump start your playlist: ‘How to Be A Heartbreaker’ and ‘Lies’ Marina and the Diamonds, ‘Shout Out To My Ex’ Little Mix, ‘Picture to Burn’ Taylor Swift). Just find some music that channels the inner Beyoncé in you and forget about that person that did you wrong.

Cover Image Credit: Personal Photo

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How To Become A More Avid Reader

Four ways that you can add reading to your busy schedule and actually enjoy it.

It’s no secret that I love reading. For me, there has never been anything better than finding a great book and spending the whole day reading it cover to cover. Within a typical month, I am able to get through three to four books. That being said, a question that I am constantly asked is how I am able to read so much. It’s a well-known fact that it can be easy to lose motivation when you’re reading and trust me I have definitely been there and can still find myself there quite often.

Luckily, within recent years, I’ve found a couple of ways to really enjoy whatever it is that I’m reading. It all has to do with routine. That’s right guys, adding some quality reading time to your daily list of tasks can easily make you a more avid reader.

This will always be my first tip; add reading to your schedule. The best way to accomplish this is by fitting time into the part of the day that works best for you. Trying to jam reading time into a busy schedule can often make reading feel like a chore, and that’s the exact opposite of what you want your reading experience to be.

My second tip is to leave your phone in another room. This is probably the most effective advice I can offer. When we have our phones sitting right next to us while we are trying to get into a story it can be really difficult to focus. If my phone is in the room while I’m trying to read, there’s a very big possibility that I am going to be distracted by every notification I receive. Just leave your phone in a different room, I promise it’ll be there when you get back.

This next piece of advice is all about comfort. The environment you read in has a very big impact on what you get out of your novel, so make it yours! If reading in bed is the height of luxury for you, then awesome! If you can’t read in bed because you’ll fall asleep too fast, then don’t. Read on the couch or go outside and sit in the sun. It all depends on your personal preference. I always choose the couch next to the window early in the morning, it’s a really dreamy escape. Sigh.

Last but certainly not least: read something you’re interested in. This always seems like a given, but you’d be surprised at how many people read books they don’t enjoy. Everyone wants to read a New York Times bestseller, but this might be the exact opposite of where your personal tastes lie.

If you don’t like a book, you don’t have to finish it… but if you really don’t like leaving books unfinished (because same girl, same) then try putting it down and reading something in between. This has helped me so many times when I’ve been stuck on a book I wasn’t enjoying. Reading should always be a fun experience, not a laborious one.

Good luck with all of your novel endeavors (see what I did there?) and let me know in the comments if you have any tips that boost your reading metabolism (boom there’s another one). Happy reading!

Cover Image Credit: Annie Spratt on Unsplash

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