Dancing 101

OK, so Dance Dance Party Party can be something you show up for and immediately are open enough to let go of inhibitions, enjoying the music, yourself and life in general. Or, it can be entirely nerve wracking. Many of us are not used to jumping and spinning and booty-shaking with others around, and it takes some getting used to, some practice to pull the crazy freak that you are out of her shell. So here’s a few ways our DDPP Wellington, NZ Den Mother, Beth Williams, came up with to gradually let loose, that help us a lot and may help you, too.

1. Step away from your friends.
While having friends around is great for mutual encouragement and affirmation, you’re not at DDPP for encouragement and affirmation from others. You’re there for YOU, and no one is going to lead you to the grooves that only you have inside, that must break free and be laid down at last to those funky, funky beats. Now, look at your friend getting down all alone in that corner or over by the mirror – she has some fab moves you never knew about, doesn’t she?

2. Breathe.
If you’re feeling all excited and maybe a little nervous to be in a new place displaying your funky self to the world (or at least a roomful of other women), it’s possibly too obvious, but breathing will slow you down, let you hear the music and feel the good energies around you from other women having a good time. Breathing offers some focus, which may help you see that there’s no one to compete with or prove anything to when you’re dancing. You’re frickin’ gorgeous when you’re being yourself.

3. Try a Technique!
OK, now that you’ve stepped away from those lovely pals of yours and given breathing a try, maybe you need a technique to get you started…something that will let you see what your brain and body has to offer. Here are a few:

* Pretend there’s a little kid that you’re dancing with. This makes you dance freely and maybe funny, but so what? Are you having fun? Good, we thought so.
* Act like you’re the singer, or one of the backup singers for the song. How would they dance? Hold that microphone and sing to the crowd.
* Teach yourself some steps. Move your arm over there, then look the other way. There’s one. Kick. There’s another. Build on them one by one and pretty soon you got yourself a dance of your very own.
* Can you dance spontaneously with a certain friend or family member around? I used to have dance-offs with my younger sister, and boy, could I throw it down around her. I call this person your dancin’ muse because they trigger something in you that makes you remember how to dance without hindrance. So if you have one, imagine that muse is there in the room with you, dancing too, or watching, or whatever they do.
* Dedicate one whole song to one body part, like your arms. Or your knees. Or your toes. See how this body part can dance. What? It’s another song already? Hmm, what other body parts do you have?
* Is there somewhere that you like to dance by yourself, like your living room or your bedroom? Pretend you’re there. It works only for a short while, but that may be all you need to lift yourself into the otherworldly place that you need to be in.
* If the song tells a story, act it out. Take, for example, Copacabana. Be one of the roles, or all of them. Or make up a story to the music and dance it out. That could be a very good time, indeed.
* Be one of the instruments playing. Dance to that tune or beat, and see what comes of it. Aw, yeah.

4. Feel hidden (in several ways).
Are you the only one on the dance floor, or does it feel like that? It’s easier to feel incognito and do just what you want to when it’s crowded and you feel relatively hidden, so imagine you’re surrounded by heaps of people. Now take advantage of all that space, and flail about at will: invisible people don’t mind getting whacked.
Or get a disguise. Did you know that the first recorded human activity that we know of is dancing in costume? It’s still done now – look at Carnival, Mardi Gras, Halloween. When we’re in costume, we can let go of our inhibitions and become someone else. And the next day, everyone is talking about that person in the superhero costume who was getting DOWN, while you snicker knowingly in the corner. Wigs are awesome, though they get hot after a while. Glasses work well, as do frilly square-dancing skirts, odd makeup, capes. Go with it.

If you have techniques or suggestions on how to dance in public, let us know and we’ll add to the list. You can email us at ddppakron[at]gmail[dot]com, or maybe you can comment here…

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