August 28, 2001
(I put this page online because I wrote it in my early twenties - it reminds me of a piece of my personality hidden in a deep well from long ago.)This past Sunday night I was out witnessing my favorite local house band, The City Rhythm Orchestra at the Five Spot in downtown Philadelphia. There were 50-70 people at the dance, and that was quite crowded as of late for a Sunday night. I got caught in the high flowing through the air as I watched two of the pro dancers do a solo "crowd pleaser" to the awesome tunes that were firing from 8-piece band behind them. Witnessing this, I felt truly alive and connected with all of the dancers sharing in the same magical atmosphere that only great live music creates! I wonder to myself when I hit these highs why so few people take advantage of this wonderful social treasure.
My love for dancing began with Swing when it made its social comeback in 1997-1999 through Gap television advertisements and three radio hits. I came into the scene in mid-1999 with no idea (or any real previous dance experience) how much I'd love it. In fact, it's encouraged me to go from learning basic jitterbug to lindy, waltz, cha-cha and salsa dancing!
I'll be first to admit that dancing is a little rough to a guy like me. Your brain is trying to master so many new things: how to lead/follow, how to ask for dances, how to keep your partner happy. However, if you hang in there and keep practicing, you will get it and you will love it!
Dancing improves your confidence and social skills. You are constantly expressing yourself and interacting throughout your evening. If you are not improving socially or building confidence then you are dancing at the wrong place!
I have non-dancing friends that worry about how they look.This is an obstacle in confidence that can and will be overcome. If you feel self-conscious all the time, you are limiting yourself by conforming to the standards of the unconfident non-dancing losers who do not truly give a hoot. Then again, maybe you are held back by simply your own inner misconceived doubts. My advice: take the wheel and change from the "I cannot" to the "I can" lane in your head.
Dancing allows you to be free to be yourself; you should use the opportunity to express the person you are. It is one of the healthiest, enriching, and fulfilling activities I know. When you are out there boogying, you should unleash your real personality. The partners I love best are ones that dance with their heart; fancy footwork is not necessary! The more you dance like you are in front of a mirror at home, the more fun everyone has. Dancing is being accepted for being you and provides a really complete feeling!
time you are bored, instead of using your television or the Internet as an emotional narcotic, consider taking a dance class or going out to a local club to groove freely to some of your favorite music. At first, you may not find that high that caressed me last Sunday night, but I promise that if you are an individual that values free expression, socializing, and musicality - dancing will discover you!
Allen Rue Jr.