Overcoming Chorophobia Part I

When you think about it, dancing is a fairly odd activity. It’s one of the few things both a trained professional and an exuberant amateur can perform and receive positive feedback from onlookers. No amount of cavalier zeal qualifies an untrained person to perform invasive surgery. It doesn’t matter how much someone just wants to “express themselves”, if their idea of cooking is dropping something into a pot, turning the burner to high and coming back in twenty minutes. But dancing? Dancing is something people of all skill levels are capable of doing, and yet, it inspires so much fear at the thought of doing it at a social event –say, a wedding reception perhaps?

It even has a name –Chorophobia, derived from the Greek chorus (or khoros) literally fear of being a part of the chorus, being on stage and being judged by the attendance. But how did we come to equate being in a performance to having a good time at a celebration? Here is some advice on how to let go of that fear and get on that dance floor.

First and Foremost: Everyone is There to Have a Fun Time

Weddings are special in that the celebratory atmosphere and the joy of the event weakens the cultural pressures of being proper and perfect. People laugh more, smile more at a wedding, trade jokes and indulge in food. It’s largely been to everyone’s benefit that weddings have moved away from tight, stuffy ceremonies where everyone is expected to act like classic British nobility.

People are there to honor the couple and have a good time. If there is any –and I mean any time in your life –where you have license to get onto the dance floor and not mind being judged, it’s at a wedding. Let go of the imp in the back of your mind telling you, you can’t dance. He’s wrong.

Dancing 101: Follow The Beat

There’s a reason why so many ancient cultural celebrations involved drum circles: it’s the easiest tempo for your body to follow. Next time you are walking over to the dance floor, wandering how to move, or what to move first, listen to the drums and bass. Begin following it with simple movements. Start with your shoulders as you are used to moving them every time you turn or reach for something in your daily life.

When you feel comfortable, extend the rhythm to your arms and then to your feet. After doing this for a while, you will be able to predict the change-ups in beats and the shift in tempo (most drums and bass follow a repetitive pattern). This is the best way to ease your body into rhythm, letting it follow the music while you relax and have a good time.

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