“Sometimes I hurt because I dance, other times I dance because I’m hurt. Either way, dancing fixes it all.”
Sounds cliché right? And maybe it is, but coming from someone like me, who struggles with confidence issues, I believe that dance can fix everything,even if it’s just for a moment. Whether on stage or in your own living room, dance forces you to engage every muscle in your body, all while focusing your attention on the music, rather than whatever craziness is going on in your life.
Growing up, I was not confident in myself, and at the age of 22, nothing’s really changed. But dance has helped me. As the story goes, my mom put me in ballet class when I was four years old and I hated it. I was such a homebody and didn’t like being away from my parents, let alone trying to dance in front of new people. Little did I know that by putting me in dance class, my mother was helping me to break out of my shell and learn to embrace everything I have to offer the world.
I was never the outgoing kid who wanted all the attention on her, I just wanted to dance. I never got the solos or the featured parts because I never put myself out there, but I loved – and still love – every minute of the music and each step I dance. Eventually I never wanted to leave the studio, even if I was sick or in pain. Back then it was a matter of making friends and having fun on the stage, and eventually it became about competitions and gaining the strength and technique I have today, but now it’s about keeping myself calm and collected during this stressful time we call adulthood. The one way I am able to do that is with the freedom to move my body and feel the music anyway I want to.
Aside from dance being – in my opinion – the most intense and satisfying workout, it feeds the mind with positive vibes. People relate to music in many different ways and the ability to engage your body along with a beautiful melody is art in itself. Especially during college years when things get tougher than you ever could have imagined, just five minutes of dancing will make you feel better. That’s the other thing about dance – it doesn’t always have to be structured. It allows you to let go of every care in the world, all while getting an amazing workout.
For me, dance has always been my outlet, the one thing that lets me be me. Everything else in the world seems too complicated at times. Relationships, school, work, and the general pressures of society often become too much for those of us struggling with anxiety. Being in an empty studio room with nothing but music is my cure, and for those of you who relate to this daily battle, I encourage you all to exercise your body and your mind and dance it out when life gets hard.
Featured image via screengrab of Dance On’s “A Break Up Story”