When trying to improve our dance skills, we usually think about evolving our physical abilities like balance, agility or strength, but there are actually HUGE emotional and mental factors at play. If you feel stuck, some of these limiting beliefs might be holding you back. Take a look and see if you recognise yourself in any of these descriptions below.
1# “I Shouldn’t Make Mistakes”
During learning ANYTHING, you will be making mistakes, especially in the beginning. It’s a normal part of the process. It might be that you were punished for mistakes as a child, so you now try to do everything perfectly in the first try and get frustrated if that doesn’t happen. This is simply an unattainable goal. If you hold on to the belief that mistakes are wrong or bad, you will stress yourself out and give up sooner than others. The reality is – the more mistakes you do and correct, the faster your progress!
2# “I Don’t Deserve to Take Up Space”
If you are shy and have low self-esteem it might translate into you making small shy movements in dance. You are literally afraid of taking up space both physically and emotionally. However, advanced dancers are the opposite – they have an upright posture, make energetic strong big movements and fully extend their legs and arms. By overcoming your fear of being seen and heard you will become a much more confident dancer.
3# “I Look Stupid”
You might be scared that you look stupid when you try something new and mess up. It could be that you are afraid what others think and fear that they will judge for not being “good enough”. With that mindset, you put enormous pressure on yourself and this makes learning very stressful. You will be afraid to try new dance moves and test the limits of what is possible for you. The best thing you can do is to own your silliness and laugh at yourself.
4# “It’s Too Feminine”
This is one of the reasons many men don’t even set foot inside a dance studio – they think dancing is “too feminine” and that’s somehow bad. If you are already dancing then wow, congratulations, you are one of the few men that understand that dancing can be a very masculine and gentlemanly skill.
Even women can struggle with it. They may have seen other women being shamed for being more feminine and are now scared to explore this side of themselves. That leads to struggles with ladies styling in latin social dance and avoidance of more sensual dance styles. Obviously you don’t have to overdo it, but if even the smallest hip movement freaks you out and makes you think of yourself as a “loose woman”, maybe reassess if this is a healthy belief to keep.
5# “I Already Know This”
The moment you think “I already know this step, I don’t need to practice it”, your progress stops. Now, the problem is when people at improvers or intermediate level start thinking like that. It could be due to a need to prove themselves to others, which stems from the fear of not being accepted. Most well-known teachers and performers are constantly learning and practicing and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Be a “forever student”, always open to learn and improve and never underestimate the importance of basics.
There are many more emotional issues that keep dancers from reaching their full potential. Psychological struggles can be even harder to overcome than the physical ones, but the good news is that doing so will improve all areas of your life.
How many of these do you relate to? What else can you think of that is standing in your way?