Don’t Quit on Dancing Before You Gave It All You’ve Got
A story on how not to quit on what you love…
Tom S. was just an ordinary guy who wanted to go to college, have a family and a nice job. He wasn’t wasn’t specially gifted in any significant way, except for being shy and clumsy. It seemed that in that area he had achieved Master level. He had few friends, and he never had a proper girlfriend, because he was too shy and “too much of a nice guy” (or at least that was what his friends kept telling him). So, he kept to his books and school activities, and he soon became one of the best students in his year – he did not quit on being an assiduous student.
However, this was in no way something that could make this 15-year old boy happy. He wanted something more exciting in his life, an adventure to take on. He didn’t want to hide behind his books anymore, he didn’t want to be a bookworm, he wanted to do what “normal” boys his age do – have fun. That meant he needed to go outside and be with people. The wind of change started blowing…
How dancesport came into play
Coincidence or not, a few days later, there was a free dancesport class in his school. The couples put on quite a show and he was captivated by their performance.
At one point, one of the couples caught his attention. The girl was moving with grace and confidence, he could sense the duality of her presence: an angel and a devil at the same time. At one moment, she was looking at her partner with such admiration, at the next one she was flirting with the audience. What a bold lady – Tom thought!
On the other hand, her partner seemed to have everything under control. He “opened the door” for a lady, leading her to the world of creation and powerful motions. That’s why she was able to play with the audience. When Tom looked at the man’s face and examined the way he held his head up (like the whole world was his) he realized how perfect their performance was. They knew how to put a show together.
When the hypnotizing performance ended, he realized that he wanted to dance like that man. He wanted to be that man.
Considering that he wasn’t good at any sport, he was scared of trying something like ballroom dancing. But he didn’t have anything to lose. Besides, he liked the idea of socializing and learning something that wasn’t related to school. From that day, he decided to go to dance classes and learn to dance.
What to take out from Tom’s story
There are many inspirational stories about people who became successful in what they do, because they worked hard and they didn’t quit. Before we move on to the rest of the story, let me ask you one thing: Do you believe in talent or in hard work?
As you will see, this story brings one more proof that talent is overestimated and that anyone who has a strong will (like Tom S.) to succeed can do it. If you’re a dancer who isn’t so good at dancing, know that you can make it.
Spoiler alert: Becoming a great dancer is much, much harder than it sounds. There are many things you need to learn and do. That being said, let’s see how Tom became a great dancer and teacher.
1. Get to love that “uncomfortable” feeling
So, Tom started going to dance classes regularly. The classes were just as he expected – uncomfortable and hard. His body was very stiff, memorizing the steps was challenging and leading a lady was a catastrophe. His contact was either too harsh or too weak. Nonetheless, the fact that other men weren’t much better themselves was a consolation – he did not quit.
With time, Tom learned that there was nothing wrong with that “uncomfortable” feeling because it wasn’t bad at all. After all, that feeling, although unpleasant, actually signified personal growth. Tom started to think about that feeling as “excitement” and that gave a whole new perspective to dance classes.
His motivation to learn how to lead a lady, hold his body straight, and memorize the whole routine boosted. There is no room for growth in your comfort zone.
2. Dance as if no one is watching you
It wasn’t until Tom got to know the beauty of dance and the learning process that he started to enjoy every training. From that point, he expressed himself more and showed his personality through the Cha Cha, the Rumba, and other dances. He started to have confidence so the world became such a nice place for him!
3. Establish a training routine
After 2 years of going to dance classes, Tom wasn’t a bad dancer at all. In fact, he was surprised at how far he had come, and was proud of himself.
Even with all the things he needed to do for his school, he always found the time to practice. He usually practiced 3-4 hours per week (excluding dance classes) and went for a run at least once a week. Of course, this changed when he started to compete because he practiced even more.
4. Take one step at a time…quite literally
Tom’s progress was also V E R Y S L O W as it is with most dancers. Sometimes he was mad and wanted to quit, especially during hard times. In other times, he wanted to know when he will become a good dancer so that he could go to the competitions.
What’s more, he no longer wanted to get back to his ordinary life. Everything changed when dance sneaked into his life, including his plans. Now he wanted EVERYTHING – to compete, to open a dance studio one day, to be a dance teacher, to have a wife that dances as well.
While it was good to have goals and strive towards them, thinking too far ahead was counterproductive. After many disappointments, he learned that this is more than a cliche saying; it is actually real – Success cannot be achieved overnight. It takes years to become good at something, especially dance. Once he accepted that, he was able to focus on enjoying and dancing rather than thinking.
5. Find a good dance teacher
Tom had a great dance teacher who helped him move forward. He supported Tom, taught him how to believe in his abilities and gave him feedback day after day. That inspired Tom to start reading books and learn more so he could be an inspiration to others one day (which he was).
6. How good are you?
You cannot know what to improve, if you don’t know what you’re doing wrong, right? That’s why you need feedback. Besides having a great dance teacher, there are more ways to see where you stand with your dancing..
When Tom trained at home, he used a mirror to check his posture, style and technique. He filmed himself while dancing, so that he could see his performance. He wanted to look as confident and courageous as the guy he saw at the performance in his school.
Although it was strange at first, to stare at himself so much, he eventually got used to that. Nowadays, he cannot imagine his training without his great companions – a mirror and camera.
7. Train on your own
When he started competing, he clearly had a partner to train with. However, that didn’t mean they trained together all the time. In fact, they agreed to train both as a couple and on their own. That way, they wouldn’t rely solely on their partner, but on themselves too. This also helped them look more confident at championships and develop a stronger bond as a couple.
8. You never know until you try
Many things in your life will seem terrifying, dangerous and even threatening. That’s normal because none of us like making changes when we feel comfortable. Still, this is wrong as it stops us from reaching more in our life.
If only you would look around with open mind and heart, just like Tom did, you’ll realize there are many possibilities for you.
After 15 years of dancing, Tom opened his dance club just how he wanted. Oh and he got the girl. She wasn’t a dancer though, she was a teacher. But, he taught her how to dance a bit, so they danced at their home.
Looking at the way his life had unfolded/had turned out, he realized that back then he did the right thing. He now knew what a mistake he would have made if he would had quit dancing. Going to dance classes was one of the smartest decisions he made and stuck to. He learned so much through dance, from how to treat a lady and be a gentleman, to how to endure during hard times, to what it means to give all you’ve got.
9. Have faith in yourself
Talent is overestimated. You can’t make progress if you don’t put in the effort, no matter how talented you are. On the other hand, I’m pretty sure that there are lots of you who want to quit dancing because they don’t see any progress. And I’m telling you, don’t do that. I know that you’re impatient and that you want everything RIGHT NOW, but, that’s not how the things go in life.
Tom was just like you, but he recognized that progress was slow. He also concluded that he wasn’t “wasting” time training when he could do “something more important and valuable at that moment”. He actually invested all those hours in improving himself, both in a physical and psychological way which was priceless.
So, have a little faith that things are moving forward even when you think they don’t. Just look at how your dancing has improved and what you’ve learned, and you’ll be proud of yourself. And keep in mind that “What you want to be tomorrow, you must do today”.
Let Tom’s story be your inspiration whenever you’re feeling tired and exhausted and think that you should quit dancing. We all need a boost of motivation from time to time.
Let us know in the comment section below how you manage to get passed the moments when you think to quit.
Inspire other dancers with your stories!
I always loved dancing, but I started with ballroom dance six months ago, because I didn’t have chance to start earlier. However, now that I do, I want to make the most out of it. Never stop believing in yourself and give your best to make your dreams come true. As Les Brown said: “Shoot for the Moon, because even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars”.