No Kind of Dancer

I need to find a new dance class. Again.

This happens to me a lot. I find classes in some style that I like and then move on.

People ask me what kind of dance I do, and I’m never quite sure how to answer. I have at least a smattering of dozens of styles. But I don’t tend to stick with them.

I always keep dancing. Just not one kind.

See, my brain does this thing. Possibly because I am a chronic overachiever and can be stupidly competitive, or maybe this is a gifted kid syndrome thing. But there always seems to come a point where I’m working to learn skills in order to improve, to get really good at something. Where I’m sticking with it in order to not lose. And that’s a stupid way to dance.

A stupid way to anything, really. It’s a big part of how I fucked up my singing so badly.

I pick up basics easily, but when I get to advanced levels, if I’m not learning for fun, it doesn’t work. I a) don’t get any better, at least not without a whole lot of unnecessary banging my head against a wall until I manage to make myself do it properly, and b) end up unhappy, because I’ve been metaphorically banging my head against the wall and have only the knowledge of my perseverance to show for it.

I already know I can persevere. That doesn’t mean anything to me.

If I can’t have fun while dancing, then what’s even the point?

Even in fun classes, it’s not like there won’t be hard times or difficult material. But there’s a difference between a difficult stretch and consistently dreading going to class, struggling through, and feeling worthless afterwards. I don’t need to do that to myself.

This is why I’m on a break from tap. I’m also on a break from salsa. I drop in from time to time, but it’s not where I want to focus my energy right now. Sometimes I go years without needing a break, sometimes only months. I’ve switched through so many styles that I can pick up new ones easily. Because I’m a dancer; I’m not a specific kind.

Happily, with dance I’ve always been pretty good about noticing when my engagement has turned into a chore or a source of pain. I wish I’d been able to recognize when it started happening to my singing. I’m terrified I’ll fuck up writing for myself the same way, which is why I’m mixing it up this month.

Working on something purely for the sake of getting good at it is a worthless goal. I like getting better at things when they’ll make the activity itself more fun.

So yes, I’m looking for a new dance class, again. Maybe I can find a samba class to try?

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