Hold Me Closer Tiny Dancer

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“Its not who you are that holds you back its who you think you’re not”

Dancing has forced me to change in so many ways but there is still much to do.  I guess this is what happens when you find something that is outside your comfort zone but something that lights such a fire within you.  To be the best dancer I can be requires change and requires me to keep conquering old fears and demons and to get comfortable with new things.

I’ve never been entirely comfortable expressing certain parts of some of the dances like Rumba, Bolero and Argentine Tango.  I actually get decent marks for Rumba and got some nice feedback on the Argentine Tango so I think that I can technically do the dance but it is more of a g-rated version which means I’m not entirely capturing the true essence of those dances.  There are a multitude of reasons I could offer to explain my reluctance.  Most of them you’ve heard before – I’ve got some personal space issues.  And I’m probably a little more conservative than most when it comes to expressing that side of my personality.  Or perhaps it is just my overly logical nature.  I mean, can you picture Mr Spock doing a Bolero?  (Try to get THAT image out of your head now).

This is why I was a little reluctant to take on the Bachata because the guy who challenged me to do it gets really in to it with a certain amount of grinding which just strikes me as wrong unless you are doing it with a significant other.  Yes, I know it is just dancing and I’m guessing most guys would love to be able to be that physically close to a younger, attractive woman as most of the instructors are.  For me, it just feels wrong and awkward.  But there is this little quote I started off with that sticks in my head.  I do think it is a true statement that I’m a more natural smooth dancer and the smooth dances are my best but I also think I’ve talked myself into believing that I’m not a rhythm dancer and that is part of what keeps me from going all out in those dances.  That also goes to my tendency to compare myself to professionals and just assume I can’t cut it because I don’t look anything like them.  And I know that is WRONG, WRONG, WRONG but it is a hard habit to break.  I do know the first thing is to stop telling myself that I’m not a rhythm dancer because that is just silly and limiting.  I just have to find a level that I’m comfortable with and go with it.  Look, I now have another goal for this year.

On the lighter side, I may have mentioned this before, but I wear brightly colored socks.  Not sure how it started but I had a pair on once and it has just mushroomed from there.  At one point, Z gave me three pairs as a gift and so I’ve just gotten wilder over time.  It is something of a signature for me and I usually end up having to show off my socks when I first get to the studio.  Yes, you probably wonder why an Introvert does something like this that would call attention themselves because that isn’t a typical trait of an Introvert but I’ve got this individualistic streak in me that just screams that I need to be different.  I didn’t start out wearing the socks to show them off but that is just what it has turned in to.

So last night, a couple was back in for the first time since before Christmas.  They had been in California and somehow stumbled onto a store that sold funky socks so he was wearing bright red socks with some kind of pattern and she told me to ask him about them which I did and he was showing them off to everyone.  He started telling people they were his “D-Wall Socks”  (OK, he used my real name and not D-Wall) and that he was the new D-Wall.  At one point in the group class, the Statue did a step that they hadn’t done before and she complimented them on doing it so well and he said “It must be the socks”.  Who knew I was a trend setter?

To bring this back around, if I’m comfortable wearing outrageous socks that call attention to myself, then I can certainly get comfortable with dancing closer to the instructors when the dance calls for it.  After all, dancing at comps is really all about saying “Look at me” because you want the judges to look at you a lot during the time you are out there.  I know there are certain parts of my personality that will make this difficult but I can’t continue to use those as excuses for not doing it.  Because it is who you think you aren’t that holds you back.


  1. Wall, that is just so spot-on. It IS who I think I’m not that holds me back. You should do a TED talk!

    BTW: The book comes out in March. We’re working on the cover design now. I’m delighted with the way Thinner, Fitter, Happier: Dancing Will Change Your Life! turned out. It’s everything I wanted it to be. You may wish to check my Facebook page (Marian Condon, York PA). I’ll be posting two versions of the cover art and asking for feedback, likely within two or three days.

  2. You’re not alone. Before I started dancing, I had personal space issues and didn’t like getting physically close to people. That’s why it was hard for me to learn Rumba or even go into body contact. That and I didn’t grasp it was just dancing, so I had a hard time being sensual.

    Even though I’ve gotten much better, I’m still very conservative in comparison to some of the dancers I see at the Latin clubs. And I’m still very adamant with my “no grinding policy”. The only time I would do that is with a significant other, and even then, I’d rather keep such things behind closed doors.

    I will admit that my stage in life, young and single, definitely helps me bring out the sexier side.

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