In Defense Of Bad Dancing

Why You Don’t Need to be Self-Conscious on the Dance Floor

O.K., so you can’t quite tear it up on the dancefloor like Flynt Flossy:

Does that mean you should steer clear of showing off your moves at next weekend’s EDM showcase? Of course not!

My first line of defense if I’m feeling a little self-conscious about going out to dance is to remind myself that it’s easy enough to fly under the radar with a little shifting your weight back and forth between your feet and some noncommittal arm swaying. Let’s be real—it’s probably what ninety percent of the crowd on any dance floor is doing at any given moment (no guarantees on whether the weight shifting is even happening on beat).

That said, I want to encourage you to take it to the next level. Imagine how you dance when you’re home, cleaning the house, pumping the stereo, and only the cat is around to watch. Or picture the kind of seated, awkward car-boogie that’s an absolute necessity if you’re driving home from work and Outkast’s “Hey Ya!” comes on the radio. What would it look like to take this level of enthusiasm—and, be honest, this lack of technical skill—to a public event? The sort of shameless dancing we do when no one is around is so fun precisely because it is unlisted, free self-expression, and the best times I’ve ever had at raves and other dance parties is when I’ve been able to let myself go for all my most graceless dance moves. And as for onlookers? Well, it might be a cliche, but it’s also a fact of life, “haters gonna hate.” The sort of people who are going to look down on me for cutting loose aren’t the type of people I want to hang out with anyway. Tarot reader, mystic, and long time director of really trip movies, Alejandro Jodorowsky, describes “The World” tarot card—which features a woman joyously dancing alone—as the embodiment of the entire tarot and a symbol for total realization. For Jodorowsky, t dance without fear or embarrassment is a metaphor for being able to align all the fundamental parts of what it is to be human in such a way as to reach a higher plane of existence. And while I might not be able to guarantee that for you if you commit to busting out your most extravagant dance moves next time you’re out in public, I can promise that in my experience it has generally made for a pretty fun evening!

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