Negativity – trying to stuff the genie back into its bottle

Most of the time I am reasonably accepting of where I am with my dancing and I don’t usually compare myself to the person next to me in class or worry about what I can do now compared to what I think I should be able to do.  However, when I register for a workshop or camp and I have to pick a level suddenly there’s a voice in my head saying,

Why aren’t I better than I am?  How come X who has only been dancing two years can confidently place themselves in the super advanced level whilst I am 3 levels below them? Why am I still stuck in the lower levels with my fast tempo and connection issues? Why I am in the same workshop level I did 3 years ago? Why does my dancing look so bad? Why can’t I pick things up more quickly?

I get lost in the negative and start beating myself up and forget the reasons why I dance… The ego is a difficult genie to stuff back into its bottle!

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4 responses to “Negativity – trying to stuff the genie back into its bottle”

  1. Depressive Dancer says :

    I know what you mean! For me it’s less about comparing myself to others, but just knowing that I’m a beginner and I’m not very good.

    More than once I’ve actually told someone who’s asked me to dance ‘are you sure?’ because I’m so embarassed and don’t want to make them look a fool.

    Most people have been lovely abour it though. One chap at a recent Swing social said “I didn’t ask if you *could* dance’, I asked if you *wanted* to dance! We can just do 6 count and it’l still be fun!” 🙂

    • sleepingglitter says :

      Cherish being a beginner! I really mean this, I know things feel horrible and you worry about not being good enough and a host of other things but those things really don’t matter to 95% of social dancers.

      As a beginner you can try dancing on any tempo because you don’t know if you can do it or not, you can be wild, ridiculous and crazy and you have nothing to lose by trying out new moves – everyone expects you to make mistakes. Being a beginner is a bit like being in that honeymoon phase of a relationship when everything is fun and exciting and nothing matters but the dance.

      (For most people) as you get more experienced that sense of freedom goes, you start worrying about what you look like, you don’t do uncool moves, and you begin to know your boundaries and play safe. Dancing ceases to be just dancing and becomes as much about catching up with the people you know and what’s going on in their lives as it does about dancing with them.

      I’ve just started some absolute beginner tap lessons and I am loving being a beginner again. I like the butterflies in my tummy when I arrive in class, the excitement of putting on my tap shoes, the knowledge that I am totally hopeless but that’s ok because I am a beginner and no one has any expectations of what I can/can’t do, the concentration challenge required to make my mind/body to learn something new and the thrill of being able to do a new step.

      • Depressive Dancer says :

        It’s odd how many people have said that! I’m envying their cool moves and they’re envying me getting to discover dancing.

        It is like falling in love, but I’m doing that as well, with a lovely Lindy dancer. Is it double excitement or double terror? I don’t mind looking an idiot, but I’d hate to show him up on the scene!

  2. Catherine (lindy hopper from France) says :

    As an intermediate lindy-hopper myself, I can actually relate to many things you’ve said in this post. A couple of weeks ago I attended a workshop and for the first time I had chosen to follow level 4 classes (which was the final level, but it was more of an “intermediate/advanced” kind of level because it was a small workshop) and oh my, that voice in my head? I thought I’d never get it to shut up!

    Anyway, just thought I’d leave a comment – I’ve recently discovered your blog and I just wanted to let you know that I really enjoy reading it!

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