Growing up my parents emphasized the importance of discovering a hobby. Both my brother and I were encouraged to explore whatever piqued our interests – from karate lessons to barrel racing – with no gender specificity, might I add. I attempted several activities, including the aforementioned karate, as well as barrel racing lessons, piano and violin lessons, baking, drawing, photography, crochet and a brief stint in potholder making. I quickly learned that I lacked the patience necessary to commit to these hobbies.
But one hobby has remained as an exception to my slight character flaw: dance. I began consistently dancing at the age of six, stubbornly insisting to be a ballerina and refusing tap and jazz. Over the years, I opened up to a range of styles and appreciate the uniqueness and beauty of each. Discovering an activity to partake in outside the constant rush of life has been essential for my mental health and overall happiness.
If I’m going to be honest, I am not the most talented dancer in the world. I lack the flexibility, natural grace, and athletic physique worthy of any applause. As someone who has always strived to be the best at what I do, realizing that fact was brutally difficult. But a hobby is not something you are required to be amazing at. A hobby is something you do because you enjoy it, regardless if you are good at it. Dance is my escape from feeling like I have to do everything perfectly all the time.
I encourage you to give dance a try, even if you know you aren’t any good. As I said, I am not either. If you are new to the world of dance, I would begin by finding a tutorial on YouTube or TikTok. I would be lying if I denied that I learned the WAP dance one night instead of studying. When choosing a dance, look for songs or styles you enjoy. Kyle Hanagami’s Break My Heart tutorial is a good example of what to look for. I also highly encourage inviting friends to join.
Outside of choreographed dancing, improvisation is my favorite way to relax and release stress. Improv is a great way to connect with your range of motion and explore a new creative outlet. When I improv, I typically warm up to a few of my favorite songs and then choose either one or a playlist of songs to dance to. It can be hard sometimes, not knowing what step to do next, but I imagine improv as acting out a story as a trick to keep moving.
Dance doesn’t have to be anything complicated. It can be as simple as turning up the music and letting loose. Don’t hold yourself back. There’s no right or wrong way to move, just have fun. There’s also no right time or place. Dance down grocery aisles, under the stars or in the rain. Have your own high school musical cafeteria moment, I dare you. Or maybe dancing is not your thing, but give it a try before you decide – it’s a good excuse to act ridiculous intentionally.