Did you hear about the #dancingman? For those missed out of this social media viral, let me give you a short recap. A bully at a concert saw a plus sized guy dancing. He thought it would be fun to make pictures of him and posting them on Twitter with a nasty caption. Fortunately, it completely backfired on the bully. A storm of protest rained down on him and even led to a fundraising action raising a amount money for charity as well as to the organization for a dance party where Pharell will perform as well.
I’m telling you because I want to make something perfectly clear: enjoying dance requires no skill at all. Dance is about expressing yourself through motion. About having fun and about feeling free. And that my dearest Fit Girls, makes dancing one of the best ways to introduce yourself to working out. Dancing is a super cardio work out. You can easily burn 600 calories an hour. And another advantage is you can get pretty and dress up for this work out too!
But if you’ve seen the pictures of #dancingman, you have seen the shame on his face when he was caught dancing on picture. And I know a lot of people who think they cannot dance and won’t do so, unless they’ve taken a couple of tequila shots (or any of you favorite alcoholic drink). So how do you do it? How do you let go of your apprehensions and give in to the cardio work out, dramatic expression and freedom that is dance?
Let me confess something to you: I really wanted to be a ballerina. I dreamt of being in the corps de ballet of the Lion King and I wanted to audition for 'So You Think You Can Dance'. I let all of that go for motherhood. Nowadays, I am a Sh’bam instructor. Sh’bam is the entry-level dance work out by Les Mills, the fitness imperium from New Zealand. At first, I thought the class was too easy. But then I discovered how grateful it is to introduce non-natural-born dancers to joy of dance. So I wanted to share my experiences with you, workout-loving but dancing-shy Fit Girls, how you can dance like nobody is watching.
- Close your eyes
Do you feel awkward looking at yourself in the mirror when your dancing? Ignore those critical eyes, including you own and close your eyes. Not being able to see what your doing, helps you focus on how it feels your doing. Does it feel good? Does it feel fun? Do you feel happy? Now you’re on track!
- Over exaggerate
You could also take your awkwardness and run with it. I love some stupid dancing at the beginning of the evening. How would you do it so it look super stupid? With this you’re tricking the critics in your head saying “You look stupid. You can’t dance”. Your answer to with stupid dancing is “Of course, dummy, it is supposed to look stupid! This is stupid dancing! Duh.’ At the same time your body is moving, finding comfort in the movements taking your awkward rational self to that spot where dance actually feels good.
- Envision your comfort zone
Who would you be when you would feel comfortable and have a dance? Take a role model in mind and think how she or he would move. Where would you be? How would you feel? I really like Taylor Swift’s song ‘Shake it off’ both by lyrics and the video. It is a perfect example how to deal with those critical surroundings and creating a comfort zone.
- Have fun with friends
I had the most fun when I went out clubbing with my friends and did all kinds of stupid things on the dance floor. That included pretending to dance like a Bavarian maid or a hippy with really long arm pit hair (Yes, I know…. I am crazy. It wasn’t even for the Cosmopolitans I drank). I guess it looked ridiculous but we couldn’t care less. It actually created a crowd around us wondering how we could act so freely. The magic happened because my friends and I forgot where we were and that we people were watching us.
- Follow a Sh’bam class
Still having a hard time getting over you dancing insecurities and awkwardness? Find a gym that offers Sh’bam class and enroll yourself. Your instructor will guide and help you feel comfortable with the steps and focuses on creating that happy vibe in which you can have fun and dance freely. And yes. That is a sales pitch for the most easy and fun dance work out ever.
So without further ado, Embrace your inner #dancingman and dance!
xoxo - Irene.