4 Things I've Learned By Joining The Swing Dancing Club
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4 Things I've Learned By Joining The Swing Dancing Club

Oh, the things you'll learn from swing!

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4 Things I've Learned By Joining The Swing Dancing Club
Seafoam Photography

Over the course of our lives, we will inevitably make choices that drastically alter the rest of our lives. Some of those choices will seem huge and over whelming (like deciding on colleges), while others will seem completely insignificant (like deciding to check out a club during your first week of college). I think about how my choices have affected my life and changed the course I'm on a lot, but there are few choices I've made that have had as great an impact on me as deciding to try swing dancing has.

When I decided to check out my university's swing dancing club, I wasn't really interested in the dancing at all. I had met a couple people on a hike and they encouraged me to go with them and the fact that I knew absolutely nobody yet made the decision pretty easy. They didn't even show up, but I had fun anyway. I reminded them about it and the next week, they showed up... For about an hour. But those two days were all it took for swing and the people involved with it to steal my heart. Swing has taught me so much, and I want to share some of what I've learned with as many people as possible.

1. Dancing (and just about everything else) is a lot more fun when you can laugh at yourself.

One thing I have always struggled with was learning to laugh at myself and not let embarrassment get the better of me. When you're doing something as completely goofy as swing dancing, you learn to laugh at your mistakes pretty quickly. You spend so much time making mistakes that if you don't learn to laugh through it, you're going to be absolutely miserable. Once you figure out how to stop caring that your footwork is a little off or that you aren't quite following what's going on, you'll have a lot more fun and you'll figure out what the heck is going on a lot faster, too. Funnily enough, this is true for most things in life, not just dancing.

2. No one is paying attention to you.

People new to dance spend a lot of time worrying they're going to look silly and that people will think less of them, but this just isn't true. I've watched so many beginners pull back and be fearful and hesitant because they don't want to look goofy, but I promise no one is paying attention to you. No on cares that you forgot to rock step just like no one cares that you are out of breath because you sprinted to the bus stop so you wouldn't be late for class. The world is much less concerned with your life than you are, so stop worrying about how people will perceive you and just live your life.

3. It's always OK to walk away.

I know it's hard to say 'no' to people and to remove yourself from situations that make you uncomfortable; I'm really bad at it, too. But one thing that is so important and needs to be stressed even more than it already is in the dance community is the idea that it's OK to say 'no.' I make a huge point to talk about this in the dance communities I'm involved with, because if someone is doing something that makes you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, it is so important that you know how to say 'no,' make your feelings known to the offender, or just walk away and remove yourself from a dangerous situation. On and off the dance floor.

You are never obligated to dance (or interact with) someone you don't want to. Just be sure that if you don't feel comfortable expressing your discomfort to the person that you talk to a trusted person within the community so that problematic behavior can be dealt with, otherwise someone else will probably end up feeling the same things you did. You and everyone else has the right to feel comfortable wherever you are and with whatever you're doing.

4. If it makes you happy, give it everything you've got.

I spent so long searching for that one thing I was truly passionate about, the one thing I kept expecting to find and expecting to make me happy and to give me drive. So many people spend their whole lives searching for that thing, so when you find yours, go for it. The way I see it, your goal in life, your whole purpose, is to be happy and to live your life to the fullest. So when you find something that makes it impossible to stop smiling, that makes even the worst days better, and you know you want to do it for the rest of your life, don't let it go. You are never too old, or too young, or too small, tall, fat, skinny, weak to get involved in something new and to build your life around it. If you have something that makes you that happy, I'm begging you to pursue it with every fiber of your being and be your happiest, most fulfilled self.

Swing has completely changed my life and I've learned so much about myself from it, and I know I'm only going to continue learning more. Through swing, I have not only found the thing I am truly passionate about, the thing I want to do for the rest of my life, but I have also made the most incredible friends from it. Swing has given me and every other dancer a unique opportunity to be able to make even more friends and to increase the size of our swing family with every dance. I am so grateful to the swing community for everything it has given me and I hope I can give back to it someday.

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