Happiness, Self Development, Self Esteem

How to Dance

Dancing of one of those inescapable facts of life. You might was well learn to do it. Trust me, it’s smoother sailing once you know how (it’s fun and good exercise too.)

You don’t have to reach a particularly high standard

You just need to be good enough that you can get on the dance floor, blend in with everyone else, not look like an idiot, and not feel too uncomfortable while you’re there (lots of people are somewhat uncomfortable with dancing, that’s why they have to get a few drinks and wait for some other people to be on the dance floor first.)

hen someone (read: one or more girls) wants to dance with you, all they really want is that…

  • You are there with them
  • You are dancing with them
  • You are not dancing horribly

Being better than the minimum never hurts of course. But just knowing the basics will put you way ahead of all the non-dancers out there.

Girls and guys have different ideas of what a “good dancer” is

Guys tend to see dancing as a skill to show off. Being ‘better’ than other dancers is important to them. Their typical image of a good dancer is a gymnastic break dancer pulling off a bunch of crazy moves.

A girl’s picture of a good dancer is a closer to a passably moving guy who looks comfortable, confident, and like he’s having fun. Lots of girls have told me I’m a “good dancer” (i.e., I’m actually dancing, and not like a total fool), but not many guys have.

Don’t worry about what guys think. A lot of dudes will snicker and point to guys who are dancing because they’re really just uncomfortable about doing it themselves. Random dudes sucking on their beer aren’t your audience.

Let me emphasize. I am not a great dancer if you compare me to the guys you’d see dancing in a music video. I’m not even great compared to lots of other people in whatever club I go to. But I’m good enough too get by.

If there’s one thing to keep in mind it’s to be toned down and low key

Don’t be a spaz and try to pull off some crazy moves unless you 100% know you’ll look good doing them. It’s better to reel yourself in. Over reaching and being ‘that guy’ is worse than blending in and being a bit boring and unoriginal.

You don’t have to pull off tons of new moves every second, it’s okay to dance in a simple, repetitive way

If you’re not comfortable dancing, do not take the route of dancing extra badly on purpose ‘as a joke’. Everyone sees through this and it’s not even that funny, just kind of embarrassing.


  • Move to the beat. Don’t know what I mean? Go get some music and listen for the underlying, repeating thump-thump-thump pattern. Every style of music has different speeds.
  • Bend your knees to bounce up and down to the beat
  • Kind of move your arms around as you bounce
  • That’s about as basic as it gets

The best way to learn is to just practice

Get in front of a mirror, put some good music on, and start dancing to it. Remember, if your instinct is to jump around a lot or be a bit spazzy, consciously tone yourself down. A lot of time, you won’t even have that much room anyways so if you only practice stuff that requires a lot of space, you’ll be put in an awkward spot on a crowded dance floor.

Try working on one aspect of dancing at a time then putting the pieces together

  • Keep everything else still and just bounce on your knees in different ways
  • Try bouncing up and down on your toes in different ways
  • Keep your legs and arms still and move your torso up and down, back and forth.
  • Keep your body still, and bob your head in cool ways
  • Move only your hips
  • Keep your arms still, but move your shoulders up and down
  • Keep your body still, but move your arms
  • Make little steps back and forth with your feet

Whenever you’re bored and hanging around by yourself just put some tunes on and dance around. This is also a good chance to broaden and/or deepen your taste in music

Practice different dancing scenarios

Dancing on a dance floor where you have a lot of room

  • This is the easiest as you have all the space you need to do more showy stuff if you’re so inclined. Sometimes the ocean of space can be too much or make you feel self-conscious though.

Dancing on a crowded dance floor

  • When you’re practicing make sure to keep your feet rooted on the ground and don’t swing your arms out too much. Try to make your movements look cool anyways.

Dancing close to a chick

  • The issue here is knocking knees, and not being able to extend your arms too far in front of you. Try dancing really close to a wall to get an idea of what it’s like. Or you can try dancing really close to a full length mirror. If I caught someone doing this I’d laugh at them, but it’s still a good way to practice.

Actually partner dancing with a chick.

  • It’s getting harder to practice on your own. Still, you can put your hands out in front of you like you’re holding someone’s waist or shoulders and practice moving with that restriction. I don’t blame you if you don’t want to do this. It’s definitely a bit silly. Still, if the idea of dancing with a girl makes you uncomfortable, practicing like this can take the edge off.
  • More practical advice would be to take a salsa, swing, or ballroom dancing class, asking your chick friends to teach you to dance, or heading out with your girlfriend. If you’re not scared, go out to a bar and dance with some random chick.

Freaking it/grinding with girls.

  • I don’t do this. I have no advice to give.

A warning about dance classes:

Without a doubt you’ll learn a lot, but sometimes people get a shock when they then go to a club and have to dance freestyle. They can’t just start swing dancing or bust out a 14 move choreographed routine. Among girls some of the most reluctant dancers at clubs are the ones who have taken ballet or the kind of choreographed styles you see in music videos. They feel lost and put on the spot and feel they’re expected to ‘perform’ on the dance floor.

More tips

Dancing is a physical skill. The better shape you’re in the easier it will be. General aerobic fitness will carry you far. Having some endurance in your legs is a big help too. Strong torso muscles help as well.

Watch music videos and other people at clubs to get an idea of what kind of moves they use.

Every style of music has a different way of dancing to it. If you’re going to be dancing a lot in places that plays a certain kind of music you should try to learn the basic moves that everyone else uses. Dancing in a different style does make you stand it out, but it’s nothing to sweat over.

Lots of people need to get some alcohol in them before they can loosen up enough to hit the floor. You’re no exception

When alcohol is a good thing:

  • You know how to dance half-decently but are just a bit inhibited (lots of people). Alcohol will make you a better dancer in this case.

When alcohol is a bad thing:

  • You don’t know how to dance and never even try unless you’re smashed. This will not be pretty. If you know you can’t dance than don’t risk it….
  • “But what if I get dragged there?” you say. Seeeeee? It’s going to get you sooner or later so you should learn and be prepared for it.
  • You’re just learning to dance and your natural tendency is to go over the top. The alcohol will bring your spaz tendencies to the surface.

This is a trite thing to say, but despite everything you’ve just read you should just enjoy yourself and not over think things. Have fun and don’t worry about what other people think of you. Blah Blah blah. The end.

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