In Defense of the Noobs

One of the hardest parts about dance for me, is getting over the embarrassment of being a beginner. In other areas of life, I cut myself and everyone else slack. I say “You gotta start somewhere.” Or “Everyone starts as a beginner, no one is born an expert.” But with dance, I’ve experienced embarrassment. I felt embarrassed most when I thought about how I only knew two moves: the inside turn and the outside turn. That’s still more than 90% of the population, but I felt I should know more. I felt that I was deceiving people, tricking them, when I asked them to dance. I felt like I was offering a fun time dancing, and then boring them with the same two moves over and over.

Lo and behold, someone I’ve danced with before, asked me to dance. They knew what they were getting into, and asked for it anyway. Maybe dancing with me isn’t so bad after all.

Since learning an additional two moves, I still appreciate dancing with absolute beginners. It’s ok that they don’t know how to do these two new moves. I need as much practice as I can get on the fundamentals. There are a freaking ton of fundamentals: keeping your shoulders back, keeping your knees bent, keeping count in your head, making it look like you’re not counting in your head, etc. etc. I screw up fundamentals every time I try a fancy move.

Then there’s style. You can syncopate your foot steps, you can kick, you can shake your hips, you can pivot your shoulders. These are all good things to work on, when not working on new moves.

Finally, dancing is just plain fun. Moving my body to music is why I showed up. That’s the whole point. I would be happy to do the basic step over and over for four minutes. I don’t need an expert for that.

What do you think? Right? Wrong? Pure poppycock?