Stepping Outside of my Comfort Zone—Taking Dance Classes for the First Time

Every school year, I always looked forward to going to dances. As an awkward teenager navigating through the intimidating motions of adolescence, I had never felt more confident than I did when I was moving around to music. There was something about being able to let go of whatever stress I had, get lost in the music, and not having to worry about anything that was exhilarating. Soon enough, I began to develop a passion for dance. 

I would binge-watch Matt Steffanina videos instead of doing homework and even attempted to teach myself via online dance tutorials. But I wasn’t consistent with practicing and any choreography I might’ve been able to pick up was quickly forgotten. I grew discouraged when I couldn’t remember parts of a routine or if I messed up. Sometimes I thought I looked ridiculous and when I recorded myself to see what I looked like, I often ended up just deleted the videos out of embarrassment. I stopped searching for classes and figured it was a lost cause…until I came to college.

I’ve never taken a real dance class before (unless you count the ballet classes I took when I was three, but I don’t remember anything from that) and I always held off in high school because I thought I was too old to be enrolled in beginners classes. Every dancer I knew had taken classes since they were kids or had spent multiple hours of their own time to self-teach themselves choreography. I knew that if I kept putting off taking classes, I would never start and would spend the rest of my days sulking about how good I could have been if I had started a year or two ago. So entering my sophomore year of college, I took the initiative to sign myself up for a beginners' hip-hop dance class.

Every Tuesday night, I would make my way to the FitRec on campus and the class would focus on a short piece of choreography to the chorus of a modern pop song. I was shy at first, and I often found myself comparing myself to other people around me who I thought were picking up moves faster than I was. Sometimes I came back to my dorm with the same discouraging feeling that I wasn’t good enough at dancing or embarrassed at how slow I was to pick up choreography but then I came to realize that hey, at least I had taken the initiative to try something new. I had been wanting to take dance classes for years now and now that I finally was, I knew I had to understand that dancing wouldn’t come easily, but it takes time to develop the skill, and with practice, I would get better. 

Classes became routine and with a new perspective and mindset, I began to enjoy my time in class so much more.  I tried to only focus on myself and my own improvement and rather than worrying about how I looked while dancing, I just tried to have fun. I may not have been the best in the room but I was learning like everyone else. On Fridays, I would even practice dancing after class with a friend to show her all the new choreography I learned. 

When the last class rolled around, I was happy that I had taken the initiative to finally take a dance class. I had learned little techniques here and there and met new people that were also just trying something new, so I didn’t feel alone. Even though it was a challenge, going out of my comfort zone to try something I had always wanted to do was one of the most rewarding decisions I made this semester. 


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