Life lessons from learning Lindy Hop

1. There’s no substitute for getting out on the dance floor.

Taking classes but never going social dancing is like learning how to scuba dive in a pool and then deciding, “Yea, I think I’ll stop here. This is practically the same thing as diving in the ocean, right?” You miss out on the best part of the experience.

Confidence comes after action, not before. You’re never going to feel 100% ready, so if that’s what you’re waiting for, I hope you’re blessed with Yoda-like patience and plan to live forever. Turns out the fastest way to become a better dancer is to just go dancing.

2. Self-awareness and humility go a long way.

It’s funny how some partners’ first instinct when a move doesn’t go as planned is to point out what the other person did wrong. Other partners will proactively ask for feedback on what they could have done better, regardless of who was technically at fault. Guesses as to which approach makes more friends?

3. Don’t overthink it.

When I first started social dancing, I worried about getting my footwork exactly right. The result was a negative feedback loop where I was so caught up in not making a mistake that, naturally, I noticed every little mistake, which led to less confidence, more nervousness, and more mistakes. Not to mention it’s impossible to establish a connection with your partner when your eyes are glued down at your feet.

It took me an embarrassingly long while to realize that it’s more important to just go with the music and fake it than to get the steps exactly right. Trust that your feet will know what to do even if your brain can’t keep up. You’ll look like you’re having more fun because you will be having more fun.