Peer Pressure Led Me To Find My Passion In Dance
Start writing a post

Peer Pressure Led Me To Find My Passion In Dance

I continued dancing because I fell in love... with dancing.

Elvert Barnes

Over seven years ago, I discovered one of my favorite activities of all times. Let me rephrase that. Over seven years ago, my "friends" forced me to participate in a humiliating activity every month or so until I learned to love it. Over seven years ago, I learned the basic footwork of the East Coast swing dance.

I feel burdened to explain my relationship with my friends at that time, but I think we all experienced this relationship before. Maybe you even have friends who are trying to convert you into swing dancers. Keep trying, brothers and sisters. Persistence is key. My friends were adamant that I was going to learn swing dance. AND enjoy it. After weeks of coaxing, they finally got my sisters and I to go.

My siblings and I were all homeschooled. Outside of church and Boy Scouts, the outside world was filled with rude men who were looking to make a move on three younger sisters. The hour drive to the dance quickly passed as I played out word by word how I'll cripple thugs and angsty teens. I wish I had the insight then to see the irony in that. At that time, my idea of dances was influenced by movies like "Grease" and "It's A Wonderful Life." Jealousy was present in both of the school dance scenes.

When we arrived, the swing lesson was just beginning. The instructors were a married, middle-aged couple. And the dancers ranged from high schoolers to seniors - the old kind of seniors. We joined the circle that surrounded the instructors. I attached myself to one of my sisters. My confidence was bolstered when I saw the wide range of people. Perhaps everybody here are actually decent people. It's foolish to be nervous. But any confidence I managed to muster was melted by the command, "Leads rotate."

Swing dancing of any sort is a social dance, and in this world of personalization and self, instructors try to encourage dancing with other people by having them take turns dancing with every other person taking the lesson. Of course, I knew that I would eventually hold hands with a complete stranger, but I thought I would have control over when that would happen. Before I knew it, I'm embracing an elderly lady while stomping out a loop turn into open position. Sweat soaked bodies and clammy hands aren't typically the things that come to mind when looking at a complete stranger on the other side of the room, but that's what was imprinted in my mind after that first lesson.

Strangely enough, the partner rotation didn't help me overcome my shyness. Thankfully, one of my friends felt the same way. We ended up being one of those guys who play cards in the corner of the room during a dance. Actually, that isn't a thing. We were just that awkward. If I were able to go back in time to that first night, I would tell my younger self two things. First, start dancing now because what you're doing now is so rude to the DJ. And second, bet high on the first hand of Texas Hold 'Em…

It would be a full year of these awkward game filled visits to the dances before I get the confidence to actually ask other, non-related people to dance. It was around this time that I started to actually enjoy swing dancing. I had always enjoyed jazz music, and I was finally able to really express that enjoyment through all those dance lessons. I should note that of the seven years of dancing, over half of that was attending beginner lessons. No, I wasn't confused over how to dance. I just found a comfortable place in the swing dance that required me to not go further.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

Because self confidence is sexy

And as a woman, I want us all to love ourselves a little bit more today.


Women have such high standards to live up to today. We’re expected to do and be so much. The great Tina Fey said “Every girl is expected to have Caucasian blue eyes, full Spanish lips, a classic button nose, hairless Asian skin with a California tan, a Jamaican dance hall ass, long Swedish legs, small Japanese feet, the abs of a lesbian gym owner, the hips of a nine-year-old boy, the arms of Michelle Obama, and doll tits. The person closest to actually achieving this look is Kim Kardashian, who, as we know, was made by Russian scientists to sabotage our athletes." This quote is not only hilarious, but also incredibly true! How many of you feel insecure every time you walk on campus, or every time you walk into a party? Even the girls you think are perfect are insecure. Everyone has flaws. Sure some flaws may be more exaggerated than others, but that doesn’t mean that the girl still feels bad about them. My point here is that it doesn’t matter how “perfect” you are, what matters most is how “perfect” you feel.

Keep Reading... Show less

With the dawn of social media comes an entirely new character: the Facebook politician. Usually, articles or posts about politics are fairly sporadic. That is until a major event happens. Suddenly, everyone knows everything about everything. Everyone seems to have a very strong opinion. Everyone is super knowledgeable, and what better vessel of information than they themselves? Which is pretty reasonable, given that people’s emotions run high when something major happens. And I don’t blame them, emotions are good!

Keep Reading... Show less

The Gift Of Basketball

The NBA playoffs remind me of my basketball journey through time

Syracuse Basketball

I remember that when I was very little, my dad played in an adult basketball league, and I remember cheering him on with everything in me. I also remember going to Tuscola basketball games when the old floor was still there and the bleachers were still wooden. I remember always wanting to play basketball like my dad, and that's just what I did.

Keep Reading... Show less

Plus Size Appreciation: How I Learned To Love My Body

Because it is okay to not be "skinny."


In America, we tend to stick up our noses at certain things that aren't the norm. For example, people who are overweight, or the politically correct term “obese." Men and women who are overweight get so much backlash because they are not skinny or "in shape," especially, African-American women, who are typically known for having wider hips and thicker thighs. Robert Darryl, an African-American filmmaker, explains the overall intention of the body mass index in his follow-up sequel, “America the Beautiful 2: The Thin Commandments."

Keep Reading... Show less

It's More Than Just A Month

Mental Awareness reminds you that it's always darkest before the dawn.

Odyssey recognizes that mental well-being is a huge component of physical wellness. Our mission this month is to bring about awareness & normality to conversations around mental health from our community. Let's recognize the common symptoms and encourage the help needed without judgement or prejudice. Life's a tough journey, we are here for you and want to hear from you.

As the month of May begins, so does Mental Health Awareness Month. Anxiety, depression, bipolar mood disorder, eating disorders, and more affect millions of people in the United States alone every year. Out of those affected, only about one half seek some form of treatment.

Keep Reading... Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments