How Dancing Destroys Shyness

Believe it or not, I used to be shy.  Oh yeah.  Me.

Incredibly, devastatingly, life-cripplingly shy.  In fact, in all my years in the dance business, I’ve never seen anyone as shy as I was.  On my first lesson as a student, I didn’t let the instructor touch me (she must have thought I was nuts!)

As a student, I danced at a lot of different studios.  Years later, when I became an instructor, I was assigned to teach a woman that I knew from back when I was a student.  The lesson went well, and when she rescheduled for her next lesson, she touched my hand and said, “You know, I think it’s great how far you people have come.”

Well, I was puzzled.  I could understand if she said how far you have come, but she said you people. I thought for a second, is it because I’m brown?  I asked hesitatingly, but in a nice way, “You people? What do you mean?”

She said, “Why, Eddie, aren’t you autistic?”

I almost fell over in my chair!  I was so shy when I knew her, she thought I had autism! Wow!

So how did I go from being so shy, so introverted, that I appeared to have autism, to so, well… normal, that when I tell people how shy I was, they flat-out don’t believe me?

Pure and simple. Dancing.

See, I didn’t just do the lessons at the studios, I went out and danced.  By going out you learn to be social.  It takes a lot of effort at first, but after the first couple of times it gets easier.  This is a big reason why we have Parties and Nights Out on the Town in addition to our regular Courses.  See, I realized that by going out, you get used to other people.  You learn to be social.

It’s funny because I often have students that are shy, and they think that I can’t relate to them.  To someone who knows me now, it seems like I was always a fun, happy, outgoing person.  But people who knew me back when I was shy, are amazed at the change.  Heck, I’m amazed.  Is there any question why I believe so strongly in dance?  Why I feel it should be taught in schools, why it should be integrated into everyday society?  The power dance has to transform lives is indescribable.  And I love to see the transformation in students, from a shy individual with a hard to see personality, into people that are sexy, powerful, and fun to be around.

Maybe someday I’ll do a blog that really goes in depth with the changes that I see occur in students, because it’s actually a predictable pattern of transformation, that I’ve seen over and over.  For now, I’ll give some tips to people who are reading this that may be shy themselves (people who aren’t shy may have NO IDEA what I’m talking about!)

1. Keep going, don’t quit.  I see people on the brink of success stop, and it’s a shame.

2. Keep thinking positively.  Negative thoughts will absolutely destroy you.  If you think things like, “I’m pathetic,” or “what am I doing here,” or “I’m too old/young/good/bad/fat/ugly for this,” I’m talking to you right now.

3. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel.  The changes happen a little bit at a time.  If you’re bad shy like I was, it can take years.  You’ll know you’re making progress when you have a story like, “I danced in front of everyone and I wasn’t even that nervous!” or “I never would have done/said that before!” or “I got turned down, and it didn’t really affect me.”

4. Go out and dance!  Come to our parties, then to our Nights Out.  With the Dance Shack crew nearby, you’ll feel more comfortable.  As you get used to being out, you can take some classmates with you , or go out on your own!

5. When you start going out, you may feel an intense pressure to leave. When that happens, promise yourself you’ll stay an extra 20 minutes. After 20 minutes you can leave.  Often times, you won’t want to!

Alright, that’s it for now.  Fly, butterflies, fly!

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