Dance Insecurities: an Incomplete List

dance insecurities

If vulnerability is the path forward (and I think it probably is), then it’s time to put that into practice. I can be very insecure, and it’s time to talk about that in the hopes that it will help others to discuss where they feel uncomfortable as well.

As a starting point, I generally see myself as a pretty confident person, and I think that perception is matched by others. On the dance floor, my style has been at times as ‘cocky’ or, at the very least, ‘dancing big.’

I’m not as thoroughly self-assured as all that though. In fact, there are a lot of insecurities lurking below that veneer, and I think it’s good for everyone, myself especially, if I share those and talk about them.

Monsters in the dark are usually much less scary in the light of day.

Note: The point of this isn’t to garner lots of feel-good compliments. It’s exploratory.

So, without further ado:

An incomplete list of my dance insecurities:

  1. I smell bad. Objectively I’m pretty sure that I don’t most of the time, but I still fear it. You wouldn’t believe the number of ‘smellfies’ I take throughout the night, making sure the ‘ol pits of doom haven’t made me that guy on the dance floor. I usually have deodorant in my dance bag.
  2. That people hate me for dancing big. I’ve got long limbs and I like to move them around a lot. It’s really fun! But every once in a while I let that long-limbed-ness get the better of me and bump into others on the floor. I’m afraid that I’m developing a reputation for being an ass. I have tried to work on it, but sometimes it’s just where the music takes me.
  3. That I’m not good enough. Probably no surprise to find this on the list: I think many of us have this lurking under the surface. It’s tough to accept where you are in the face of where you wish you were. When I see that pro I want to dance with, a little voice in my head says that she or he would probably not have fun dancing with me anyways, so why bother? It’s insidious. People think I’m a good dancer, but am I really? Or am I just faking it? Impostor syndrome rears it’s ugly head.
  4. That I’m falling behind. Closely related to the previous, it always seems like everyone is advancing their dancing by leaps and bounds while I tread water. In reality, I shouldn’t be in competition with anybody but myself, but that’s often easier said than done, especially for someone who burns to win. If I look back it is clear that my dancing is improving, yet still the perception persists.
  5. That dancing doesn’t matter in the grand scheme. Another heavy-hitter, this one is existential. Does any of this matter? Am I working some kind of good in the world, or am I taking up resources for little global payoff? This will probably depend a lot on your philosophy on life overall, and it’s not a question to be answered lightly. Does dance matter? It seems to matter to me, but is that reasonable? Is reasonability the right metric here? I am not sure.
  6. That I’m creepy. Most people who come off as creepy don’t know it. What if that’s me? I know how I think I am perceived by others, but I can’t know what they’re actually experiencing. What if I creep some people out? Would anybody tell me, or would I continue on like some leery
  7. That I’m not capable of doing the work. There’s a lot of self-work that goes into improving yourself as a dancer. What if I’m not capable of doing it? In that case I’d better quit now and save my time, right? Really, I should probably just enjoy the process of working on it at all, but I’m not always so amenable to that.

These aren’t debilitating fears–I still get up on the floor and dance all of the time–but they do lurk in the background, unacknowledged. They try to convince me that the fantastic dance I just had probably wasn’t really that great. I may have just gotten lucky there, it wasn’t due to any sort of skill on my part.

These are works in progress, a consistent struggle to re-negotiate my dance reality in favor of something constructive instead of destructive.

Where do your insecurities lie?

What are your dance insecurities? What would be less scary for you if brought into the light of day?

I want to know, so please reach out in the comments!

Let’s work on this together.

Until next time, I’ll see you out on the floor.

5 Replies to “Dance Insecurities: an Incomplete List”

  1. I don’t usually comment on blog posts, but these are important so here goes nothing.
    Firstly, thank you for sharing. Being vulnerable is both brave and difficult.
    Secondly, I have never gotten the creepy vibe, and I don’t think anyone else, male or female, has ever thought that. As for body order, I seem to remember a time when you left your competition pants in a bundle somewhere and then wore them for the UMN opening ceremony… Besides that, I think you’re fine. 🙂 Not to make light of #1, of course.
    Thirdly, 3, 4, 5, and 7 are all insecurities that I struggle with. “I may have just gotten lucky there, it wasn’t due to any sort of skill on my part.” That statement in particular rings true for myself.
    In addition, being born into the dance industry brings another monster to the closet: people expect more from you. I get that a lot, people think I should be some fantastic dancer, but in reality I haven’t pushed myself enough and I fail to meet those expectations. Now, are those expectations fair? Maybe, maybe not. Probably?
    5 and 7 I think are the hardest to deal with. For myself, they kill my motivation, and put me in a dark place. Dance is one constant in my life that makes me smile like nothing else, and to be honest, whether or not dance matters in the grand scheme of things, I wouldn’t function without it. I wouldn’t function in the grand scheme of things.
    That’s all from me.
    If there’s one thing from me that you can trust, know this: You matter, dance matters to you, and you can do it.


    1. Danika, thank you for engaging with it! 🙂
      Talk to Hannah Alyea some time if you want horror stories of how bad those pants can smell… it’s bad!

      As for being born into the dance industry, I hadn’t even thought of that. I can see how those high expectations can be damaging. Have you found any ways of effectively dealing with this?

      I understand what you mean about needing dance to function in the grand scheme of things. I always wonder if I’ve backed myself into that corner though… Not that it’s useful to think along those lines necessarily, but my mind does go there.

      Again, thank you 🙂

  2. Waiverly Daniels says: Reply

    I am terrified to no end that I’m scary and have seen the look of fear in people’s eyes when I come bouncing up to them. I also have this fear that I’m the one holding my partners back during competitions. They are doing great but because of my shoddy footwork we don’t make it. Also my hair. Everyone else seems to be able to manage theirs better than me and can deal with it during dancing. I feel like I’m the only one who notices or gets told that my hair is too much and drives potentially fun dancers away.

    1. Waiverly, thank you for commenting! I know well the fears of holding partners back! It’s a tough one to combat. It’s hard to accept where we are, I know :I

      As for hair management, I can’t say too much because I have very little experience with this. 🙂

  3. My fears on the dance floor? That I’m not as suave and good looking as Joel. And I lack that crazy hair you have. My only consolation? That I may blind my opponents with that shiny gloss of mine. 😀

Leave a Reply