3 Ways Confidence in Dancing Translates to Confidence in LifeMay 05, 2021
For years I have spoken about the correlation between life and dance. It was my own transformation from a young girl with zero confidence to the person I am today that inspired my life's work. Through dance, I discovered a passion for the arts, learned self-discipline, and developed a healthy love for myself and others. My self-esteem grew the more I improved as a dancer, and I was able to apply this confidence to every aspect of my life off the dance floor. One of the most prominent places in dance we can learn these lessons is through the art of partner dancing.
Deriving Confidence and Connection from Partner Dancing
Right away, the invitation to dance depends so much on your confidence, but it doesn't need to be intimidating! The first step of making eye contact and politely smiling is simple but goes a long way in establishing a relationship and leaving an impression. It's all about graciousness and gratitude. If you're initiating the dance, you're asking for consent by meeting your partner halfway and allowing them to accept and make up the other half. That starts to build trust, comfort, and security as you set up to connect and begin dancing. Already, I'm sure you can see how you can apply this basic concept to connecting with someone in real life off the dance floor as well!
Now, partner connection is when two dancers join. Generally, you start with the closed position where there are four points of contact to observe, leading to a stable dance frame. From here, a sort of physical tension and resistance is built as the two dancers mutually support one another. Again, look at how you engage with someone, say, at a café for a date. You're building tension and resistance as you mutually support each other in conversation, creating a back and forth while maintaining trust and respect. If you're putting your focus on the other person and trusting yourself to be enough, then you're in a great position as a partner on and off the dance floor.
Posture and Mindset Set You Up for Success
How you carry yourself is everything when it comes to confidence. A stable, supported posture and a positive mindset radiate from a person and is eye-catching, whether they mean to be or not. By approaching life with more optimism and controlling how we feel and react to things, and building a solid physical core to support yourself, I guarantee you'll see a difference in how people perceive you.
Your core is what stabilizes you, facilitates every move you make, affects your balance, and prevents you from falling on your face every time you take a step. In dance, a stable core is crucial to maintain frame and form and support a partner. By focusing on your posture on the dance floor in partner dance, you'll notice more trust from others in your ability. You're able to support the push and pull of tension and resistance, the constant shifts in weight, and catch yourself should you make a false step. Off the dance floor, this solid posture shows a certain level of confidence and etiquette and immediately shifts people's opinions of you. While we cannot know what people are thinking or truly affect their thoughts, we can at least take small steps to shape how we conduct and carry ourselves to make a lasting impression.
Additionally, doing our best to control our negativity and maintain a more positive mindset draws attention. And this isn't just in your head! You'll feel better by maintaining the above core work, minding your diet, and overall listening to your body! Rest when you need to rest, run or workout when you feel compelled to, and make time to stretch and healthily release tension. You'll notice a considerable improvement in your confidence and disposition, and this positivity will radiate outwards.
Now, don't get me wrong: it's okay to feel sad or angry, and it's healthy to let that out too, but there's a time and a place! Do your best to raise your awareness of your moods and have a safe space where you can deal with them so they don't trickle down and affect your day-to-day living!
A Balanced Base is Integral to Dance and Life
In dance, we constantly harp on form and foundation. Why? Because without it, no matter how much you know the choreography or steps, it'll look sloppy and fall apart if you're off-balance due to weak physical support. It's the same thing in life; imbalance leaves you out of sorts and often feeling overwhelmed. Both scenarios kill confidence.
On the dance floor, you need to be able to give off an air of relaxed calm to instill confidence in you as a partner. If you're keeping your emotions in check, you're allowing yourself to focus on the more demanding physical aspects of your dancing and your partner's needs. It's always best to leave your troubles off the dance floor, then pick them up when you finish. The same applies in life. In the previous step, I spoke about the time and place for those negative emotions and that it's okay to feel them! That's such an essential part of keeping yourself balanced.
Additionally, balancing life's demands is intrinsic to a healthy lifestyle. If we're constantly overwhelmed and struggling to keep up, it builds anxiety and tension and can lead to self-doubt. Don't be afraid to say "No" sometimes to taking on more commitments and give yourself a break! Make time for exercise, even if it's just a walk. Focus on work when at work and relaxing when you're at home. Everything in moderation, as they say. By looking for imbalances in your life and finding ways to realign, you can then shift your focus outward in total confidence, knowing you've got everything (mostly) under control.
Dance has so much to teach us beyond cool moves and a healthy workout routine. As my students constantly remind me, they find what they learn in the studio applies to their lives in every way. They approach every situation with more positivity and confidence, trusting themselves more when making a connection or taking on a task. The etiquette of dance builds healthy relational boundaries, the physicality builds self-esteem in our bodies, and the creative outlet gives us a sense of accomplishment. Dance is hard work, but so is life if you're trying to live a balanced, healthy lifestyle. But it's good work that, done well, leads to a largely happy life worth living.
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