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Monday, 13 May 2019

"When I dance, I forget everything else, and just feel completely happy." Katherine Jenkins

 I was scrolling on FB and a clip came up where a teacher in Africa (not sure which country - I want to say Nigeria but google is disagreeing with me). Anyway, I noticed the creative teacher was saying he was teaching the school children to dance to improve their confidence and self esteem (and I thought 'how interesting. I'll come and look at that later but then lost it completely and can't find it.)

However, while you may remember, a few years back, I had very low self esteem. In the last few years, I've taken dance lessons (all kinds, ballet, hip hop, samba fitness - I'm pretty terrible at them all, but I don't care, because I just have fun with it) and I go to lots of concerts and dance my heart out, not caring how I look or who sees me.

As a by product, I've become more confident. Not a better dancer, by any means, not even looking like I fit in. I just don't care. My focus is on the experience. The endorphins and energy the movement and music brings.


In the dance classes, I need to concentrate on the task at hand, I tune out all the thoughts of what I look like and if I can do it. The internal voice is muted as I try to remember the order of the routine or the tricky steps. At a concert, I'm so focused on the stage that my tunnel vision tunes out those around me, or those beyond the people I'm dancing with.

Augusten Burroughs explains it perfectly in his book This Is How (but get the audio book as he reads it so brilliantly - it's on audible). Basically the short version is that if you focus, truly focus on the task at hand, you stop thinking about what other people are thinking of you (and your ability). You also stop running the internal judgement on what you are doing. You are only focused on the thing you are doing. You are at ease in yourself because you are task conscious, not self conscious.

I have noticed on reflection (prompted by the FB clip and wondering if dance did raise your self esteem), that this behaviour, that started with dance, has crept into other activities in life. I suspect as I became more focused on the dancing, I started to enjoy that kind of attention to detail (rewarded with the endorphins and buzzy energy), my subconscious took over. It has been over three years since I wrote about my epiphany and I can definitely say I am no longer that girl. Though I am older, wrinklier, greyer, fatter and just generally all those things I should feel more insecure about.

So imagine if when I was little, I learnt the benefits of dance and really revelled in it? Maybe that teacher is on to something....(There is also argument that you improve confidence with the mastery of a dance step but as I never really master it, I can't really comment - I don't think that's necessary for the benefits).

If anyone knows the clip I'm talking about, can you give me a link as I'd love to see what he had to say. Everyone else, read This is How.

Or just dance.

(The photos are from Sculpture at Scenic World this year, and I loved the simplicity of the idea. The focus changed the scenery completely. It highlighted a different beauty by making us focus on a smaller detail.)

Linking with #KCACOLS #AllMumSaid #MLSTL #TriumphantTales and #Dreamteam




28 comments:

  1. Really interesting idea ... lose yourself in the moment: it's what sports psycholgists make a fortune from telling sports stars. Great post. Enda, from endastories.com. #DreamTeam

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  2. What a wonderful concept! Reminds me of the song "I Hope You Dance"...Anything that can give confidence and get people moving has got to be great! Loved it!

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  3. So true! I think dancing is just fabulous for self confidence and you can really lose yourself in the music - whether you are in a public dance situation, or at home in the kitchen or dancing in a more formal situation. Go you!

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  4. Good for you for taking on dance just for fun. Dancing and music bring many benefits to our mind, body and mood. #MLSTL

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  5. I love the words I don't care Lydia, it means you are in the moment and dancing for your own enjoyment. Confidence in action. Love it! #mlstl

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  6. So post reminds me of 'Dance Like No One Is Watching' quote. There is just something about moving the body to music. Sounds like you're having fun. I need to find a dance glass if not for anything else, but to help get in shape. Was always a good exercise. Thanks for visiting Peabea Scribbles. Have a great week.

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  7. So very true. Sometimes just dancing keeps us happy. Love it. #MLSTL

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  8. I'd love to have more rhythm and dancing certainly would have helped with that. I find trying to pick that sort of thing up now in my 50's is really hard - even the steps in my exercise class routines take a fair amount of concentration - but they certainly make the class speed by while I'm focusing on not tripping over my feet!
    Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I've shared on my SM :)

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  9. There is something invigorating and freeing about combining your body movement, thought process, and music into one experience. Thanks for sharing. I found this on #MLSTL and have shared on social media.

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  10. Go woman go. Sounds like you're in your bliss dancing and that sure is a good place to be!

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  11. I agree with PeaBee - Dance like no one is watching! and I think you have, so very eloquently, defined "Mindfullness".
    Dance on, Lydia!! #mlstl

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  12. Very interesting concept! I never took dance lessons as a child although I wanted to take ballet or jazz. I was "sickly child" as they called it then and doctor told my parents "no". But recently I've started Zumba....not sure it's helping my confidence, but I love the movement. I'm terrible at it and hate when the class is in the room with the mirrors. Maybe I should just start dancing around the house more too! Visiting from #MLSTL.

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  13. Hi Lydia, I had a dance studio from the age of 15 and taught ballet,tap, jazz and highland dancing. It was so wonderful to see the shy students grow in self-confidence. Dancing was also helpful in building my self-esteem and it brings such joy. I'm so pleased you are still taking classes. What does it matter how we look or how competent we are, if we are having a ball. Thanks so much for sharing at #MLSTL and keep dancing!

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  14. This was great information for someone like me, who is always looking for ways to build my self-confidence. Sharing to FB.

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  15. I think dancing is good for the soul especially when you let go and be free X #dreamteam

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  16. Sorry, I didn't realize I couldn't share on FB. Enjoyed the post, anyway. Thanks so much for sharing.

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  17. What a simple, but valuable idea that if you are truly focused you forget about what anyone thinks of you. #DreamTeam

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  18. How true! You go, sister. Dancing does wonders for self confidence.

    #kcacols

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  19. Dancing always brings out so much joy. It is amazing how doing something you enjoy can keep your mind off certain things. I love dancing too #TriumphantTales

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  20. I love this post. I love to dance.

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  21. I have seen the clip and I couldn't find it either for you. However, I love the concept he teaches. Dancing has a way of changing many things. This reminds me how the girls have "dance it out" moments when they are going through a hard time from the hit show Grey's Anatomy. I agree with you that whether your good at dancing or not doesn't matter. It matters what it releases.

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  22. Firstly those photos are beautiful! Secondly I have awful problems with self esteem and am really intrigued to see if dancing would work for me. I can usually only dance if I'm drunk. But maybe it's something I should look into more #KCACOLS

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  23. i really love the idea of being task conscious and not self conscious. so true.
    Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next time!

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  24. Love this! Much like you I enjoy dancing despite knowing I'm no Darcy Bussell. I'm definitely sure that music and dancing have the power to really help our confidence. #KCACOLS

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  25. My wife loves to dance and has absolutely no rhythm what so ever. My toddler goes to dance class but it's too soon to know it's genetic. #kcacols

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