Why You Need to Learn to Dance (With Other People)

We’ve all been there. We’re at an awesome music venue. The blues, the country, the jazz, or the rock and roll are going. We want to move our bodies to it.

Sadly, in the 21st century, most of us have never learned how. If you’ve been through enough awkward foot-tapping, you know it’s time for that to change. Here’s why:

1. Dancing is the best way to enjoy music

I was at Martin’s BBQ in Nashville last night enjoying some live music – a blues/rock/boogie/juke joint band with a lead singer who reminded me of Lee Ann Rimes. The music was on point, but I wasn’t really enjoying it until I started dancing to it.

Most kinds of music aren’t really enjoyable until you know how to move to them. And dancing by yourself is fun, but it doesn’t allow you to connect with other people. Music is largely about that connection, particularly if it’s of the groovy kind which typifies most popular music. When you dance, you get to express both

2. Dancing gives life to a party

A bunch of people in a room tapping their feet to music is boring as hell. Everyone wants to move, but no one knows how. If you do know how to dance, you can set people at ease enough to start moving.

Dancing also establishes a shared common activity that many people (including strangers) can join in on without much overhead. Learning dance steps is simple enough, and you may be able to show many partners cool tips and tricks you’ve amassed over the years.

3. Dancing gives you courage.

Dancing takes courage, but it also gives courage. Whatever your other anxieties or insecurities in a crowd, if you are the guy or girl who is dancing, you’re going to gain a confidence which few other people have. By dancing in front of other people (and with other people) you are already transcending the rejection which causes so much fear for so many people.

Getting started

You’re going to do your best learning in action. You can take classes (I’ve taken a few), or watch and reenact some YouTube videos (find a partner – probably your parents or a sibling or a friend might be willing to help – and practice), or through direct practice (I recommend this). As you try, you will grow in gracefulness and resourcefulness on the dance floor.

Blues and swing have some very simple steps that aren’t too difficult to learn. If you know them, you’ll be well-equipped to get the majority of the enjoyable things out of swing dancing.

James Walpole

James Walpole is a writer, startup marketer, and perpetual apprentice. You're reading his blog right now, and he really appreciates it. Don't let it go to his head, though.

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