I’ve recently asked to the Latin dance community what was their main difficulty, frustration when they have started dancing. And the answers are quite different but in the same time always the same. Why? Because at the end, no matter what is your level, to be able to enjoy dancing, you need to feel confident enough on the dance floor.
Asking someone to dance, dancing with someone more experienced, not having enough moves, being nervous… It’s all about how you feel confident on the dance floor and how much you appreciate yourself as a beginner, intermediate or even advanced dancer.
I would highly encourage you to check out my article about confidence in bachata if you haven’t yet !
The common struggles regardless how to be more confident on the dance floor
Asking someone for a dance
When you’re in a party, asking someone for a dance is not the easiest thing. And it’s not a leader thing, followers are allowed to ask too 😉
I’m a follower and I remember one day, i was in a party, i didn’t know anyone except one guy from my dance class and his friend.
It was the first time i went to that place. And after 2 or 3 dances with these 2 guys, i wanted to dance with others but nobody was approaching me? Why?
Generally, in some places, people don’t tend to ask people they don’t know. And it was clearly the case that night. And i said to myself, ok, you’re here to dance right? You want to have a lot of fun? So i started to look around me and i saw that guy who was in my class and i asked him, naturally, “Do you want to dance?” And guess what, he said yes ! Automatically, just because i was dancing on the dance floor, other people asked me to dance.
Then, after a dance i came back to my chair, it lasted 2 dances and i was frustrated to not dancing again. So i got up from my chair with a clear goal in mind, i want to dance and straight away, i found someone to dance with.
So at the end, it’s clearly about your mental state. If you say to yourself, i want to dance, i want to enjoy the moment, you will find a way to get asked to dance, or you will find the courage to ask someone to dance !
Asking someone for a dance, is the risk that person says no. And it’s completely ok if it happens. You just have to tell to yourself, “It’s not about me”! No matter what are her reasons, that’s her choice and we have to respect that! But, in fact, it shouldn’t affect the person you are !
Asking someone for a dance when you’re a complete beginner
It could be very impressive! You can try to say : “Do you want to dance? I’m a complete beginner but let’s have fun!”
Of course, you’re not gonna have many moves to offer.
But trust me, at least, if you do these most important things, it will be fine :
- Make sure the few moves you do are well executed even if it’s just basic steps,
- Be on time, pay attention to the breaks, you can practice musicality at home while listening actively some songs you like,
- Follow the rhythm, and adjust your basics steps, energy to that rhythm (slow, fast, medium…)
- Feel good about yourself and the follower will have some fun too !
Comparison to others
I think it all happened once to everyone to compare ourselves to someone:
- “Wow! This guys is doing some crazy moves i don’t know. He has such a huge repertoire of moves. He has so much musicality and flow, he can lead everything to that girl. “
- “This girl, she looks amazing, first of all, she has an amazing body, she dances like a queen, her body movement is so clean and she has so much style, she follows everything. And me, compare to her, i look “s…”!
- Bla bla bla…
That sounds real, right? We all have had these thoughts once.
Compare to someone else in a good way could be good. “I want to dance like him/her. This is my goal and I’m gonna do my possible to reach that goal no matter what time it will take me !”
But if you compare yourself in a bad way. Like “This person is better than me”. Which could be true ! But you don’t know how many years that person has been dancing, how many hours that person spends every week to train herself to that level. And even if that person is just talented, even if she hasn’t been dancing for a long time, or practice that much, does it make you someone less worthy?
You are who you are. The only person you should compare to is yourself. If you don’t feel ok with the dancer you are, that’s fine. But do something about it! Take actions to become the dancer you want to be:
- take classes, or more classes,
- private classes,
- practice at home, review the steps your learnt,
- ask feedback to your mentor, or the person you admire
Be patient, kind to yourself, don’t be too demanding.
Keep practising, take baby steps to reach your goals and you will see, the results will come !
In Latin dance community, or even in the world in general, people look at each other, have judgements.
That’s a fact. Some people are like that and we’re not gonna try to change them. They have probably their own issues. But, what we can do about that is to care less about what they think, say and do.
When we dance we can have the feeling everybody is watching us in class or on the dance floor. While everybody is only paying attention to themselves !
Nevertheless, if some people are really looking at you and it makes you feel anxious, uncomfortable, bad, who cares about what they might think?
If you need to know people opinion about your dancing, ask advice to your teacher, mentor, people with experience who really are going to give you constructive feedback.
What matters the most, isn’t it what you think about yourself? If that’s a problem, try to put more love in your self thoughts and for sure you will feel more confident on the dance floor.
Dancing with someone more experienced
And even when you’re dancing with someone with more experience, you shouldn’t be worried about what that person is going to think about your dancing. I know it’s easy to say!
You would probably think: “Oh I’m following anything, or I’m leading very badly. He/she is so much more experienced than me. He/She’s gonna think I’m so bad !”
But trust me, i went through that, everybody did!
You should see it like an opportunity to learn, improve yourself, not like an awful impressive moment!
The solutions to be more confident on the dance floor
Confidence is all about taking actions even if you scared. You just do it anyway !!!
How to build up this confidence in your dancing?
Taking classes, learning some moves, be able to execute theses moves in social dancing, do a stylish movement, a nice body wave, a nice footwork during improvisation are some examples.
Set some mini goals and celebrate your victories, be proud of it!
Check out my interview about how bachata can improve confidence :
Confidence is all about experience
And do the same actions, repeat them a million times while practising, training and you will see yourself becoming better and better !!!
Confidence is all about attitude
Smile, have a good posture, look up, open your chest, be proud. And you will see your attitude changing. And no, it’s not about being pretentious, but just about feeling enough self-esteem!
Confidence needs preparation
For a leader:
- Before going to class, review the steps you learnt and obviously you will feel better than the time before.
- Do the same when you go to social, do a list of moves you master and memorize it, review and repeat it in your head like you were reciting a poem : “Right, so i can do a lateral basic, forward basic, hesitation, rock step, turns…
For a follower:
- Same for the follower, you can practice your body movement, body waves. You can practice your styling too at home before going to class or social. For example : “Ok when i will have my both hand-free, i can do that this my hands and my arms, or my head or my bum… And practice it during social, do a million times the same style to assimilate it in your body.
Let yourself go
For a leader:
Ok i can admit it’s tough for you, you have to care about the music, about the moves you do and about your partner. But relax, take it easy. Listen the music, feel the music, connect with it and connect with your partner.
Don’t put too much pressure on you, you don’t have to be perfect, nobody is perfect. Especially if you’re a beginner, with time, you will improve yourself, if you keep practising, it will come, so just relax!
For a follower:
I know for that people is not so easy to be leaded by someone. But if you decide to practice a couple dance, you have to trust your partner and let him guide you. Don’t put too much stress in your dance because you will end to tense yourself and it will be much harder to lead you anything.
Listen the music, listen your partner, wait for him to guide you the moves. Even if the leader is learning, doing mistakes, you’re not helping him by being tense, anticipating, backleading…
For both, leaders and followers :
- don’t forget to breathe,
- take it easy,
- trust yourself, you can do it, you got it!
- don’t be in your mind, in your brain, in your thoughts, but be present, in your body!
Do some mistakes
Please do some mistakes and forgive yourself!
It’s ok to :
- be off-time,
- do the same moves,
- forget the moves you learnt,
- not feel comfortable while dancing too close,
- not doing a nice styling move,
- loose balance,
- miss a move,
- not be perfect,
All of that, make us feel imperfect, normal, human, dancer…
Making mistakes is the best way to learn and improve yourselves!!
If you want to know more about mental health and confidence , you can check Me My health and I!
So, if you want to be more confident on the dance floor:
- Don’t be afraid to ask someone for a dance whether you’re a leader or a follower,
- Don’t compare to anyone, only to yourself,
- Care less about what people might think,
- Work on your attitude, preparation, practice,
- Let yourself go,
- Do some mistakes
I hope this article “How to be more confident on the dance floor” has been useful to you. Don’t hesitate to share other tips that you may have, or your personal experience, i would be more than happy to read you!