People often ask their teacher how to become a better dancer or how to be a good dancer. There are three parts to being a good dancer: Etiquette, Proficiency, and Confidence.
Etiquette and Proficiency when you dance are two whole topics on their own! So, of course, we expect a good dancer to be polite, nice to dance with, considerate, and to be good at their technique, step patterns, leading, and following skills. Let’s assume you are working on those things, and let’s talk about the third part: dance Confidence.
Why is confidence important in dance?
So why is confidence important in dancing? People like confidence. Anything being done confidently is more comfortable and enjoyable to watch than something that lacks confidence. Think of someone you’ve seen deliver a great wedding speech. What about a teacher you loved to learn from at school or a TED talk that really left you wanting more? These people were all confident in their delivery.
How to dance with confidence?
I know, I know. This is tough. Confidence comes from within, so there is really no way for me, or anyone else, to give this to you. But don’t lose heart; perhaps the following viewpoints can bring you closer to dancing with confidence.
Someone else wanna know how to dance better like you!
So you’ve survived your first dance class. Congratulations. There will now always be someone else that sees what you can do and thinks, ‘I wish I could do that’ and this just increases as you continue to learn and improve. As a teacher, I lost count of the times I would be dancing with a student, and they’d be getting frustrated with a turn or dance pattern. Once the lesson was over and they had left, someone that had seen them said, ‘wow, they’re really good!’. I would always say, ‘I know! Can you please tell them that!’:)
We all doubt ourselves sometimes and think about how to dance better
Even the best dancers you see doubt themselves and their dancing from time to time. Try not to think, ‘I’m sure I’ll feel confident when I get to X level’ or ‘at X point in time’. In my experience, this doesn’t really happen. I have been teaching and dancing for 16 years; I have certainly cleared my ‘10,000 hours’ many times over, and still, like most professional dancers, I speak to have moments when I think, ‘am I actually any good at this?!’ Seriously! Everyone has those days.
Stop comparing yourself to others – instead, strive to dance with proficiency and confidence!
When students compare themselves to others, it’s not helpful. Everyone starts dancing at different times. If you ran a marathon and started it 3 hours after someone else, you wouldn’t compare yourself to them! As we dance, our eyes are drawn to those with more years of experience than us, and we can’t help but feel disheartened by where we are in our journey.
Instead, think about the fact that once upon a time, you walked into your dance studio and spent your first lesson learning the Box Step or the Salsa Basic Step, and look at what you can do now. Imagine how impressed you would have been if you could see yourself now! Use that memory and let the confidence shine through!
Dance like no one’s watching… because, usually, they’re not.
Now while a lot of this blog is referring to being confident as people watch you, most of the time, they aren’t. We tend to overestimate the number of times others are watching us. Certainly, when you’re dancing at a dance party or an event, people will probably end up watching you from time to time for brief moments, but most of the time, they’re chatting to others, dancing themselves, or these days, on their phone.
So dance like no one’s watching because they probably aren’t.
So, in conclusion. If you want to know how to dance better, increasing your confidence is an excellent way to move closer to your goal. But no one can do this for you. Confidence in dancing comes from within but remember, and you’ve come a long way from when you first started; someone out there thinks you’re an excellent dancer and wishes they could dance like you, and you are only going to improve! Go and show the world your best moves! With confidence!
Dancers are usually shy because they don't think they are good enough. You can become good enough by bettering yourself at your craft. Practicing and analyzing your dance moves instills confidence. Moreover, you get to see your routines in your mind and make progress. Another way to become a more confident dancer is to be yourself. Of course, trying to dance as somebody else puts you in a box, and you constantly compare if you measure up. But by being yourself, you could even invent a new dance style. You can also boost your confidence by continuously working on dance fundamentals. Working on your posture, facial expressions, flexibility, and jumps can make you confident in yourself. Also, mistakes are inevitable but are forgiving. These mistakes do not define you. Instead, they are an opportunity to learn and improve your craft.
Practice, they say, makes perfect. So, you can improve your dancing by practicing more often. You don't even have to go to the dance studio - You can practice at home, in front of your mirror. Still, for the best improvements, you can't just practice randomly; you need to have a plan. First and foremost, set a measurable and achievable goal. Dancing for 15 minutes every day is more effective than dancing for 2 hours at a stretch once a week. Also, practicing at the same time every day builds a habit over time. You can set an alarm on your cellphone to remind you to practice. Another tip for improving your dancing is to schedule your practice at your peak energy time. For example, you may feel energetic when you get out of bed and before you eat a large meal. Just do whatever works for you.
Every dancer needs confidence to perform successfully. Your confidence reflects how you feel about yourself. And if you don't expect much from yourself, you can't perform beyond your expectations. As a dancer, constantly monitoring your confidence level and working on where you feel you fall short is essential. Usually, dancers with low confidence often evaluate themselves poorly, thinking they are not good enough or that they will fall during a performance. Although evaluating yourself is essential, a negative self-evaluation quickly spirals into a vicious cycle and further lowers your confidence. Understandably, you may feel less confident after a period of poor results, but putting yourself down would only result in further poor performances. Fortunately, you can build self-confidence by training often, mastering your technique, and enjoying yourself during every performance. Also, think positively and highly of yourself.