Remember Why You Dance

Haters gonna hate, but I’m too busy dancing to notice.

The Girl with the Tree Tattoo

I met up with a dance friend last week and our conversation inspired me to share an important message on social media and now with you here on this blog.

The ballroom world, like any other sport, has its dark side. There are the stories of studios or teachers pressuring or manipulating students into buying more lessons than they need or signing up for events they’re not ready for. You don’t need to spend much time in the competitive world before you start hearing stories of certain dancers being favored over others because of who they dance with, who their coaches are, or how much money they spend at competitions.

Then there is the gossip, petty remarks and judge-y comments about people’s partnerships, costumes, dancing abilities, whether or not they’re getting special treatment from whomever and why, etc., etc.

It’s so easy to get sucked into the dark side of ballroom and get caught up in the gossip and pettiness. But to be frank, I ain’t got the time or the energy for that nonsense, and I don’t want you to waste your time or energy either.

I have become very intentional about staying away from negativity that serves no real purpose. I’m so good at it that when I’ve learned that I’ve been the subject of ballroom gossip, it’s months or even a year since the words were first spoken. As I’ve grown as a dancer and a person overall, it bothers me less and less. I realized how much energy it saps out of me when I pay attention and it’s just not worth that expense.

So I pay it no mind. I actively avoid gossip or negative talk, especially at competitions. I work too hard and spend too much money to have my excitement and joy over being able to dance and compete get smothered by someone else’s negativity.

Instead I focus on my dancing and how much joy it brings me. When I’m dancing, I can’t be bothered with gossip or dance politics. The only things I care about are the music, my partner and the people who I hope come away feeling inspired by our performance.

I’m keeping this short today because I don’t think this concept requires much argument or defense. If you ever start feeling frustrated or down because things are pulling your attention away from the dance, pull back. Remind yourself why you’re here.

You’re here because you love dancing. You feel free and joyous when you’re on the dance floor. You feel so proud of yourself for the accomplishments your hard work has earned you (including those that have nothing to do with competition results). That’s where you should turn your attention.

Luckily, where there is dark, there is also light. For every Negative Nancy or supposed political agenda, there are plenty of dancers who just want to dance and support others who want to dance.

My wish is for more cheering in the stands and less whispers in the hallways. If you’ve been at a competition with me, then you know how loud I can get when I’m cheering for other dancers! I want everyone to be so focused on their dancing and supporting each other that no one has time to listen to any gossip.

So that’s it. Remember the pure joy that dancing brings you. You’ll shine so bright on the floor, the dark side won’t stand a chance.

Happiest dancing, everyone!


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