General Dance Discussion > Anyone here shy and/or reserved?

Discussion in 'General Dance Discussion' started by Kit05, Mar 3, 2010.

  1. Kit05

    Kit05 New Member

    Or you used to be when you started dancing? Can you give advice/suggestions on how you worked through that?

    The whole reason I got into dance was to find an way to express myself differently since I'm so reserved and shy normally in my everyday life. I've finally gotten to the point where my instructor is teaching me to play more, and guess what? I can't do it! My teacher turned on some music and asked me to just move my feet (change up the basics, add hitches, etc.) to the beats/music that I hear and do whatever. Instructor told me nothing I do will be wrong, she just wanted me to get used to playing around with the footwork.

    Well, I completely froze! She did give me some examples of what to do, but of course the pros make it look so easy! I ended up trying to stall and my teacher was all, "I'm not moving until I see you start moving your feet." haha

    It's weird because what she asked me to do, I do *all* the time by myself. Which I know makes it easier because if I look stupid, at least no one will see but me. It's frustrating because this is exactly what I want to learn, but now that I'm learning it, I'm really nervous and want to go back just doing basics since that's what's comfortable to me. haha

    (BTW: I tried to post this earlier but it's not showing up... hopefully I won't make duplicate posts.)
  2. wonderwoman

    wonderwoman Well-Known Member

    Don't know what to tell you... I'm shy like you and dancing has helped quite a bit but I still don't feel comfortable enough to just do my own thing. Part of why I enjoy ballroom dancing is that there are set patterns and rules but also a bit of room for individual creativity. And I prefer being a follower ;)
  3. Kit05

    Kit05 New Member

    I have a love/hate relationship with following, lol After being mainly a follower for over 2 years, I'm finally starting to learn how to lead and uh yeah.. after learning how to lead for a bit, I think I prefer following, haha.
  4. flashdance

    flashdance Active Member

    Ditto, I'm fine with a group of people but on my own I feel 'arrrgh!'.

    I guess it's just an inner fear you have to get over. Thinking back 10 years ago I would never have had the confidence to go and dance with a group of people!

    The 'pros making it look easy' comment... they had to start somewhere too. Your teacher must have confidence in you - why not practice something alone then when you next go, show her.... forget she's there and just go for it/lose yourself in the music? :cool:

    Oh, welcome to DF, Kit05.... you are not allowed to log out until you have practiced your solo dance for the next class :tongue:
  5. CANI

    CANI Active Member

    Hi Kit05 - I wouldn't describe myself as fully shy or reserved, but I can relate to some of what you are describing. It is still a work in progress for me -- and I think inner fears are at the heart of all of it for me. I can't really offer definitive guidance because I'm still trying to understand it for myself. However, what I can share so far, is approaches such as telling myself to "Just Do It," haven't worked. I found some helpful thoughts in the book Feel the Fear, And Do it Anyway by Susan Jeffers, Ph.D. Also, definitely, for me, it is connected with having a strong enough "why" for doing it. The fears I have overcome, that has been a common theme -- not doing it is more unbearable than doing it, so even though I have a lot of fear of doing it, it is better than the alternative. On one fear, Byron Katie's work was very helpful.

    Those are my initial thoughts. I'll flag this thread and try to remember to come back here to update when I've made more progress. Good Luck.
  6. spectator

    spectator Member

    the pressure to produce something as well perhaps?
    It's more likely to just happen and come out of you when you are relaxed and enjoying yourself, perhaps as your confidence grows, you will find that it feels more natural when you are in public?
  7. latingal

    latingal Well-Known Member

    I have been described as shy and/or reserved. Was before I started and am still (and probably always will be).

    Do I look shy or reserved on the dance floor? No, it's a place I've found I can express that part of me safely, and then just leave it out there.

    If you're like me, you're worried about not doing it "correctly"...and have a fear of looking like an idiot and not meeting expectations.

    I've tried that tactic too....they're too smart to let you get away with that one. Though they may take pity and make the exercise slightly easier if you get whiny. *grin*

    Unfortunately you just have to force yourself through it with the help of your hopefully kind instructor. As one of my pros used to tell me when I hit one of these exercises, "you're just going to have to be brave on this one".
  8. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    I'm familiar with that "wont play" reaction; it comes up in all sorts of situations. I would acknowledge it; by which I mean; find out what the feeling is...possibly "not safe" or simply dont want to". Watch any kid who's parent is trying too get it to do something it doesnt want to; total resistance; its the realm of inner child stuff which I find difficult to implement.Options are; CBT; what is the thought behind the resistance? can it be challenged; ie a presumed outcome, and can a more reasonable view be taken. What would you tell a friend.

    I have had this feeling in a room full of people ; that there isnt a real "me" only a plagiarist who takes movements from other people. The real me is a sulky uncoperative SHANT child.

    You could try doing "SHANT"?
  9. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    I could have written your post myself. I am extremely shy and reserved. (Until I get comfortable, and even then there are things I won't do.)

    I never got over it. I stopped trying. I went around it instead.

    I concentrated on the dances I felt most comfortable with, which means Standard and AT, because it required less visible emoting. (Then I dropped Standard and things got even better, but for different reasons.) AT is as close as I can get to being able to simultaneously hide in a corner and express myself fully, and I love that aspect.

    I also just refused to do the solo thing in lessons. I didn't even pretend. Requests/instructions were met with a bland look and a flat refusal. I'm the student, I'm paying for the time and teaching, and there are some things I'm just not doing. I'm not paying to be made uncomfortable, end of story. Am I hurting only myself? Probably. Do I care? No. Will I learn more slowly? Possibly? Do I care? No. It's kind of callous, but I don't really hide the fact that I can be kind of difficult like that in lessons. If that means a teacher no longer wants to work with me, that's fine, I'll find someone else. But it also means that if they're amenable, I want them to find a way to deal with me and teach me and put up with/find a way around my head issues. Is that a crappy attitude to have in a lesson? Possibly. Do I care? No. I paid my teacher very well to put up with me, and he did. It actually became sort of a joke between us.

    Now, the other side of the story is that my teacher said I came out of my shell a whole lot in the several years I took lessons with him. I didn't see much of it, but he commented more than once that to him I was barely the same person as when I started. More confident, more self-assured. Again, I didn't feel it, but something must have changed. ...I still refused to dance solo...

    Other people suggest the tough love, get over yourself, put on your Big Girl Pants way of going about things. It's worked for them. Not so much for me. YMMV.
  10. Kit05

    Kit05 New Member

    This issue of mine is something I definitely want to tackle though and I really don't want to shy (heh) away from it. Even though the dance I finally settled on (WCS) doesn't have a lot of solo/shines, it has a lot of play and improvisation. That's the main thing reason why I settled on this one particular dance versus the others I was learning. (Well, that and the music. =P)

    I've already warned my teacher that teaching me to do this will be like pulling teeth, so hopefully she understands and will take it slow with me. She also knows this is the reason I sought her out in the first place (to teach me how to play more), so yeah, she has a tough job in front of her. lol

    I want her and am paying her to break me down so to speak, haha. How she's going to do it, I have no idea. And I totally know that I need to meet her halfway and that's what I'm going to work on. Eventually I am going to want to branch out and learn more "solo" dances like belly dancing so this is kind of like taking baby steps for me or something along those lines. =P
  11. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    There is something called Short Therapy and whilst I've never been to a short therapist ( although oddly enough my therapist was shorter than me) I quite like the things it suggests you do; like singing on the tube/underground in a crowded carriage, or singing in the street; basically you will get used to the idea that people will think things about you that you have no control over, but that it doesnt really matter because they will do that anyway. It has really helped me ( ( once I get out of this straitjacket and finish digging the tunnel out of this asylum)
  12. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    Well, I'm not shy (heck, I make my living giving presentations to grade schoolers; talk about a tough crowd) but I'm...reserved I guess is the word, in a specific way. I will happily chat your ear off on five minute's acquaintance, I don't have a problem dancing in front of other people in a competition or a showcase, BUT where I would run into your problem is I HATE IMPROV. I LOATHE not having a pattern, I DESPISE making things up on my own, and I hate being told "just do something." If forced to, I suppose I'd just do it on the grounds I'm being made to, and look at it that way.

    Yet another good reason not to do WCS, I guess. (Since it's not necessary for Rhythm I've never bothered learning it.)
  13. jwlinson

    jwlinson Member

    I've always been very shy, very reserved, very awkward and uneasy in social situations. Even simple things like meetings where they go around the table and have everyone introduce themselves. I never felt comfortable at all in those situations.

    But... the GF wanted to learn to dance. I wanted to give it a shot, and at times had to force myself to get out on the floor. It was terrifying at first. Absolutely, horribly terrifying.

    Skip ahead four and a half years. I've overcome much of my previous fears, thanks to dance, and it's rolled over into my non-dance life as well. I still don't like being the first on the floor, and showdances still make me nervous, but overall it's becoming easier.

    Two weeks ago we taught a group class before the dance at a local dance club. I was talking / presenting in front of 50 people and had no trouble at all.

    See my picture. Me and my local "star" dancing in front of 500 people at our local "Dancing With Our Stars" charity event.
  14. Br0nze

    Br0nze Active Member

    I was, and still am, a reserved and soft-spoken individual. I turned to dance for one reason, and one reason only: the mastery of my body to express the music being played. As a consequence, I had to eventually start competing and even teaching other newcomers, so in a way I had to get over my reservations and shyness. It hasn't been easy, and I still struggle with the "be more outgoing" mantra being preached to me.

    Much like Peaches, though, I found a way to kind of go around my reserved nature. This may get a laugh or scoff out of people, but I (feel as though I) started Ballroom later than most of my peers, and I have not been doing it for that long. As a result, I overcompensate(d) by finding out as much as I could about the dance/s/ing as I possibly could; that part of me still won't surrender and I try to find all I can. This relentless desire for knowing proved useful because I now know more than most people about the dances I teach; the history, the story/character, the reasoning for certain nuances, music and evolution... and I use those facts to overcome my reservations.

    It takes a little bit of time for me to get comfortable with a person, and I've found that the more reserved I am the more reserved the other person will be. This is not always true, and I have made a mistake here or there being either too shy or too open, and it has cost me, but I have learned and now gauge it gradually. The quote in bordetangoman's signature resonates most with me and overcoming shyness in general: "it is our light, not our darkness, that frightens we let our light shine, we give other people permission to do the same."

    As far as overcoming your shyness and becoming more outgoing, I'd advise taking it one step at a time and letting it come naturally as your dancing improves and you gain more knowledge of your body. With that knowledge a sense of awareness and understanding will come, and through the physical understanding an emotional and intellectual understanding should also follow. It's more or less inevitable that dancing will lead to some sort of change in being reserved, most often from reserved to less reserved and less reserved and less reserved until the very same understanding that led you to know yourself and your body is applied to the relationship between people.... it "just appears." However, being aware of it and allowing it to happen, as opposed to fighting it and blindingly hoping for it, are two different things.

    I wish you luck in overcoming your shyness, and doing so just enough that you're satisfied with who you are as a result.
  15. ireniecat

    ireniecat New Member

    Do you think your shyness is related to confidence? For me it definitely was (and still is). I've had many a coaches ask me to do things I thought I couldn't, and therefore wouldn't. (Which, of course I could... and they could see it, but I didn't.) Now I'm embracing the idea that I'm not out to prove anything to anyone, including myself, and that I'm just "learning."

    In particular, starting to teach has been helpful with this mindset. All the time I hear, "I've wanted to do ballroom dancing for a long time, but I don't know how to dance." My immediate reaction is want to smack them over the head and say, "I didn't know how to dance when I started, either. That's why I took classes... because I didn't know how!" After encountering this over and over, it finally sank in that I should be taking that attitude with myself.

    I also have moments where I feel so much better about my dancing when I'm at home, just playing around, than at the studio. I think it might help you to explore why you dance and what you want to accomplish with it. With a clearer idea of what you're after, it may be easier to embrace all those moments of being pushed outside your comfort zone. If your mindset is opportunity for growth, it's a lot easier to swallow than discomfort and embarrassment for someone else's amusement.
  16. Kit05

    Kit05 New Member

    Yes, I think part of the reason I'm shy/so reserved is related to confidence. (But I do really believe that it's just my personality as well, I'm just more introverted.) I'm also overweight which adds to the confidence thing, that's actually why it took me so long to start dancing in the first place. I finally decided to just bite the bullet instead of waiting until I lost weight, because at the rate I was going, I would never dance. lol

    I do want to feel more comfortable with my body and all that jazz, so I thought dancing might help... and it kind of is and kind of isn't. lol If nothing else, it's a great exercise. If given the choice to dance or run on a treadmill, I would definitely choose dance!
  17. CANI

    CANI Active Member

    You rock!!!:rocker::applause:

    You are not alone...I'm right there with 'ya:D
  18. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Many years ago I had a Terrible fear of public speaking. I forced myself to keep working on and doing presentations to groups large and small.
    Lots of people tell me, now, that I am a "natural" speaker.

    When I started learning to dance I felt most comfortable taking lessons and dancing at a truck stop.
    Now, I don't care who is watching. I do what I do.

    I'm trying to learn to play the keyboard (without taking lessons), and everytime I get together and play with a couple of guys at work, I can only remember/actually do maybe a tenth of what I practiced all week long.
    IF I keep practicing, and practicing, and practicing...

    You could practice some stuff on your own so you'll be more comfortable bringing it to your lesson.
    If you do, one day people may tell you that you are a Natural!
  19. CANI

    CANI Active Member

    Great point Steve. Have had similar experiences in many things - whatever people comment on about me as 'natural' is usually the result of the practice, practice, practice that you mention.
  20. With me, I am dancer BECAUSE I am shy. I can't communicate well verbally so I communicate my feelings and emotion through dance.

    I think also I am a extremely introverted person and I keep a lot of things inside. I even suspect that I suffer from mild depression from time to time. I just have all these emotions inside eating me from the inside out. Sometimes I am zooming out on life and I cry a lot for no reason except being extremely unhappy despite my extremely blessed circumstances.

    To me I have soooo much bottled up inside like yesterday I was almost bursting out crying again. But instead I put on this beautiful foxtrot music and play it over and over while just dance my emotion out, expelling my frustration through my body.

    I was dancing with this man once. He's a good dancer and a good friend really nothing more .... We were doing the infamous rumba and we were really getting into it. I was on one of my emotionally loaded days .... so I was really dancing through my body connecting to his body through the space between us. The connection was just amazing and I can feel his movement though the tip of his fingers. At the end of the dance he was just staring at me and swallowed hard. Put it this way, I can't flirt with men, I can't even ask men to dance without blushing hard. But when I dance sometimes, I feel like I am someone else. It wasn't flirting ... but it was so intimate ....

    Oh, and I feel beautiful when I dance, I have this certain glow on my face and lot more confidence than in real life.

    I believe if I do not dance, I would be having serious problem.

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