I don't understand how to dance

  • Jon_Alex

    Posts: 44

    Aug 18, 2014 5:28 AM GMT
    I'm 33 and have never been able to dance in a club in public. I can partner dance, swing, line dancing, etc. I'm fine looking and don't have many insecurities with my body, but I've always been way too shy to dance club style in public. The music is so intense that its hard for me to take it seriously sometimes, like it requires you to spasm or something like you're on drugs. I'd like to try though because it'd be nice as a social thing and so as not to bum out friends... Something like Katy perry would be better though, more relaxing...

    The other day one friend told me I was too stiff and needed to loosen up. So on someone's recommendation I've been trying to practice a little in my house, but I don't think it helps that much because private vs public is different. I have a feeling I look like one of those crazy white guys who invents his own idiosyncratic moves and is off doing weird things to his own beat moving his hands and arms like a gumbie. Don't get me wrong, I kind of like the idea of just doing whatever comes to mind... Club dancing seems to have a socially enforced standard of normality and it's nice to see a "dorky" guy who is genuinely different. But then there's the thing of being too shy so it seems I could never actually pull it off. I bounce my knees but don't move my hips in public because I don't want people to see my ass moving even though I think I have a nice one... It's embarrassing and has nothing to do with sex... I don't care at all whether a guy dances, I'd just like to be capable of it socially myself i guess.

    Anyway, I don't know what to do. In my 20s I was so shy I'd refuse to go on the floor. Now I'll do it if I'm smashed and I can move a little. But it doesn't seem to help that much. It's like I want to dance my own way but I'm way to weird to really do it. People say "just be yourself" but I don't think they really mean it. They make fun of you if you aren't smooth. Don't say that's not the way it is!

    Anyway, I need psychological help I suppose... icon_smile.gif. Any suggestions?
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    Aug 18, 2014 6:09 AM GMT
    Take a dance class, perhaps?
  • killercliche

    Posts: 948

    Aug 18, 2014 8:17 AM GMT
    If you can count to four over and over you can dance to club music. You are probably just thinking too much.
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    Aug 18, 2014 8:29 AM GMT
    For me it depends on where I'm at. And who I'm with. I wouldn't beat myself up over it if I were you.

    The last guy I was with knew enough to find other guys to dance with. I enjoyed watching him. He was that "dorky" guy you refer to. Funny. The bottom line is that no one cares what you look like when you are dancing.
  • bro4bro

    Posts: 1031

    Aug 18, 2014 2:00 PM GMT
    The first time I was ever called on to dance in public, I was 12 years old and the year was 1969. People were doing the mashed potato.

    Over the years I danced in clubs during the disco era, the urban cowboy craze, punk, new wave, 80s pop, 90s house...

    Through all this I developed one simple rule about public dancing: watch what everybody else is doing, and do the same thing. You'll probably be just as good at it as they are.

    I rarely go to dance clubs now but I was in one on Saturday night. What I noticed immediately is that the young people on the dance floor were barely moving. They were just swaying ever so slightly to the beat. I had no trouble copying that at all.

    And, this was not a drugged-out, semi-comatose crowd. They were athletes. This was the after-party at the Gay Games. Hmm... maybe they were all worn out from competing?

    But the point of all this rambling is that less is more. Small moves work just fine. You don't need to try to "invent" anything.

    In dancing and everything else, if you're doing something different from everyone else, either you know something they don't know, or they know something you don't know. Sometimes it's the one, but usually it's the other.
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    Aug 18, 2014 2:19 PM GMT
    Dance like no one is watching. And dance like you know what you're doing.
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    Aug 18, 2014 2:45 PM GMT
    The new dance styles definitely seem easier - if nothing else, sway and fist pump!
  • Destinharbor

    Posts: 4433

    Aug 18, 2014 2:51 PM GMT
    bro4bro has it right. Just go with small moves and do what others are doing in a very, very general sense. If you have a sense of timing, which I'm sure you do if you do other more formal types of dance, then you can do this. I had to take ballroom dancing when I was a kid so my moves are sort of formal but I can also just let go. A sense of rhythm is 95% of it. As you said, just have another beer and relax. The key is to relax and listen only to the music, not your brain, not what you think others are thinking (no, they really don't care and if they do, they are silly queens).
  • rock924228

    Posts: 431

    Aug 18, 2014 3:02 PM GMT
    dancing isn't for others....it is for yourself.
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    Aug 18, 2014 3:07 PM GMT
    Just kind of bounce around to the beat.
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    Aug 18, 2014 3:09 PM GMT
    Dance - You either have it or you don't. It is something you feel inside. You can be taught the mechanics of dance but if you do not have that certain je ne sais quoi you will look just like that a mechanical wind up toy. You need to "feel" the rhythm from inside you.

    My ex use to dance with an amateur dance troupe. There was this one guy that always looked stiff and mechanical. When I mentioned it to someone they laughed as told me that he had been studying dance since he was a little kid and he was now in his late 30s!

    Should this keep you from dancing? OF COURSE NOT! Look on the dance floor of any club. Most people look ridiculous, but they are all having a good time and not really concerned about what others are doing. Sort of a commentary on modern life, but I digress.

    Just get out there and have a good time. Rock924288 said it best: "dancing isn't for others....it is for yourself."
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    Aug 18, 2014 3:16 PM GMT
    I used to be horribly shy about dancing but by the time the 80s rolled around it didn't matter. Everyone could dance!

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    Aug 18, 2014 3:18 PM GMT
    What I always found to be a significant factor for being able to 'dance with rhythm' was a person's ethnic/cultural background and influences.
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    Aug 18, 2014 3:19 PM GMT
    eagermuscle saidThe new dance styles definitely seem easier - if nothing else, sway and fist pump!


    That only applies if you're from Jersey!
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    Aug 18, 2014 3:19 PM GMT
    You're white. All you need to do is move like an epileptic seizure and everyone will think you're dancing.
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    Aug 18, 2014 3:28 PM GMT
    I think it's really adorable when a man can't dance and tries so I think someone else will like that about you too. icon_biggrin.gif
  • Jon_Alex

    Posts: 44

    Aug 18, 2014 3:34 PM GMT
    Yeah, I'm white alright. I grew up with zero childhood exposure to any kind of expressive body movement. I think for a lot of people who don't grow up in a culture with dance it's a very foreign thing...

    Anyway, yes, what bro4bro said is interesting. Maybe it doesn't even matter that much. I guess I have this idea in my head that dancing is about self-expression and individuality, but he's saying that it's really not. That you're doing something wrong if you're too much of an individual.

    I guess all dance styles are just styles where people copy each other. It's just that in club dancing there are not supposed to be any rules, so the impression is that what you are seeing is individuality. At least with other forms of dance people aren't fooling themselves into thinking they're being totally original...
  • Destinharbor

    Posts: 4433

    Aug 18, 2014 3:38 PM GMT
    Kuestion saidWhat I always found to be a significant factor for being able to 'dance with rhythm' was a person's ethnic/cultural background and influences.


    lol This is mostly true. Look over any dance floor. The 85% white guys are mostly awful. The ones that are good are usually obnoxious. And most of the 15% non-white guys are actually fun to watch. And good! Don't know why it is but it is true-- white guys can't jump. But the point is is doesn't matter. Having fun with abandon is what matters.
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    Aug 18, 2014 3:39 PM GMT
    paulflexes saidYou're white. All you need to do is move like an epileptic seizure and everyone will think you're dancing.


    Lol...I made the move over from American Bandstand to Soul Train by the time I was 11 or 12 but I don't think it helped much...

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    Aug 18, 2014 3:39 PM GMT
    Jazz hands and spirit fingers always work too. And a little bump and grind never hurt either. Throw in a little twerk for good measure.

    You could always do the drunk white girl dance, with a drink in one hand and swaying your head like Stevie Wonder. icon_biggrin.gif
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    Aug 18, 2014 3:49 PM GMT
    Destinharbor said
    Kuestion saidWhat I always found to be a significant factor for being able to 'dance with rhythm' was a person's ethnic/cultural background and influences.


    lol This is mostly true. Look over any dance floor. The 85% white guys are mostly awful. The ones that are good are usually obnoxious. And most of the 15% non-white guys are actually fun to watch. And good! Don't know why it is but it is true-- white guys can't jump. But the point is is doesn't matter. Having fun with abandon is what matters.


    Well the cultural differences would provide adequate opportunities to learn. For example, we have Carnival here annually in February and even before the celebration, there are numerous parties for all ages. Before that is New Year's, hell even Christmas time is a party. You should hear our Christmas music... and that's not even counting weddings, birthdays and... funerals...(lol). We essentially make everything a party...
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    Aug 18, 2014 3:56 PM GMT
    Jon_Alex said
    Anyway, I need psychological help I suppose... icon_smile.gif. Any suggestions?

    I'm sure there's an overabundance of psychiatrists in southern California. But in the meantime, here's what I did myself, when I started hitting the gay dance clubs for the first time in my life in my 50s, having never danced before.

    From online I brought up the same club remixes the DJs were using, using my Mac computer's iTunes radio feature. The Mac had auxiliary speakers with a subwoofer (as this one does), so the sound was good and loud. I practiced dancing at home to house music just like the clubs were playing, trying to copy the moves I saw other guys doing.

    And I learned a few tricks, that elude many men. First, DO NOT keep your weight planted on your heels. You should be on the balls of your feet most of the time. That alone with keep your dancing light, quick and fluid. You're dancing, not walking. Get OFF your heels when you go out there, you don't have heels anymore until you go back to the bar.

    Second, DO NOT wear rubber soles on the dance floor. That glues you down, it's like trying to dance in mud. Joggers are designed to grip, which is exactly what you don't want.

    Anything slick is better, like leather. Though I'd avoid cowboy boots except for clogging or line dancing, too rigid & heavy. What I used to do, believe it or not, was TAPE my rubber soles with black duct tape, that nobody could see in the dark club.

    I was able to slide & spin all over the dance floor, which amazed guys, whose own grippy joggers had them "dancing" in place like they were stomping grapes.

    Third, as I mentioned I did above, just go to clubs and really observe what the other guys are doing well, before trying it yourself. Commit their moves to memory and go home to practice. And note what moves are outdated - you'll just know. Like the gay character Jack once said to Will, of Will & Grace: "When I first met you, you were still pointing with your fingers when you danced."

    But who knows, maybe pointing will come back into vogue, a la John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever. That's what you need to observe.

  • Eli_jah

    Posts: 1391

    Aug 18, 2014 4:27 PM GMT
    Dancing is about letting ago, about the sheer joy of just being alive. Don't overthink it.
  • HottJoe

    Posts: 21366

    Aug 18, 2014 5:55 PM GMT
    Jon_Alex saidI'm 33 and have never been able to dance in a club in public. I can partner dance, swing, line dancing, etc. I'm fine looking and don't have many insecurities with my body, but I've always been way too shy to dance club style in public. The music is so intense that its hard for me to take it seriously sometimes, like it requires you to spasm or something like you're on drugs. I'd like to try though because it'd be nice as a social thing and so as not to bum out friends... Something like Katy perry would be better though, more relaxing...

    The other day one friend told me I was too stiff and needed to loosen up. So on someone's recommendation I've been trying to practice a little in my house, but I don't think it helps that much because private vs public is different. I have a feeling I look like one of those crazy white guys who invents his own idiosyncratic moves and is off doing weird things to his own beat moving his hands and arms like a gumbie. Don't get me wrong, I kind of like the idea of just doing whatever comes to mind... Club dancing seems to have a socially enforced standard of normality and it's nice to see a "dorky" guy who is genuinely different. But then there's the thing of being too shy so it seems I could never actually pull it off. I bounce my knees but don't move my hips in public because I don't want people to see my ass moving even though I think I have a nice one... It's embarrassing and has nothing to do with sex... I don't care at all whether a guy dances, I'd just like to be capable of it socially myself i guess.

    Anyway, I don't know what to do. In my 20s I was so shy I'd refuse to go on the floor. Now I'll do it if I'm smashed and I can move a little. But it doesn't seem to help that much. It's like I want to dance my own way but I'm way to weird to really do it. People say "just be yourself" but I don't think they really mean it. They make fun of you if you aren't smooth. Don't say that's not the way it is!

    Anyway, I need psychological help I suppose... icon_smile.gif. Any suggestions?

    Do drugs.icon_razz.gif
  • JackDoyle

    Posts: 706

    Aug 18, 2014 7:29 PM GMT
    Haha I feel your pain man!! I have to get really drunk to dance in clubs, the alcohol doesn't make me dance better it just makes me not give a fuck how I look

    I dance like yer man in yellow icon_lol.gif

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3H9DB27k0c