General Dance Discussion > Letting go...

Discussion in 'General Dance Discussion' started by Peaches, Jan 18, 2007.

  1. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    I can't. Ever, really. And it gets in the way of my dancing.

    Any advice for dealing with this, and letting go?

    Standard isn't much of a problem, and is a large part of the reason why I've chosen to focus on it. But any sort of latin/rhythm, or the club dances? Nope, can't do it. That self-conscious thing kicks in hardcore, and it just doesn't happen. Especially with hip action and arm styling.

    It's not so much of a problem in AT, because it can be so much more subtle without it being odd. But I can't bring myself to do embellishments, or make eye contact, etc. And there have definitely been times where I can tell that I pull back my motions, because I feel myself starting to let go, and the fear/self conscious thing kicks in. It's in AT where this not letting go really bothers me, because it's my passion.

    I'm not an in the moment type at all.

    Any suggestions? No, a drink does not help, I've tried.
  2. Al Gisnered

    Al Gisnered Member

    Then don't. Period. Where is it written that every dancer has to do everything? Who says you have to let go -- become something you're not?

    If your passion is AT, then do it. Listen to the music. All the time. Get an iPod or something, make a long playlist of songs you like and play them all of the time. The music will take over and some of the things you find difficult will just happen. It will just happen without your thinking about it. You'll only realize you've gone out of character after the fact. Then you can say "The music made me do it." After all, moving to the music is what it's all about, isn't it?

    I don't do any Latin at all, and just a little club "free style". Except, maybe, at a wedding or Bar Mitzva where I don't have to do arm styling, make eye contact, pretend I'm hotter than lava and too sexy for my partner. I'm as good as anyone around and my partners have fun for a song or two. But that's it.

    People keep telling me how I'd be so good at Latin, or WCS or Hustle or whatever. Who cares? I never lack for a partner in a Waltz or Fox, or QS and VW for that matter. It's what I love, so I can always dance my best for my partner. Because the music makes me do it.
  3. quixotedlm

    quixotedlm New Member

    Learn salsa (not ballroom latin, but the regular street salsa), and start working on some free shine patterns. Just memorizing a few will force you to (a) let go a bit and (b) feel even more self-conscious and crappy about yourself that the problems in AT will start looking relatively simpler :)
  4. Sagitta

    Sagitta Well-Known Member

    Well you got to dance with me then. ;-) I'll be so outrageous that you'll just give up and say heck eith it and let me just let it be. :) Well, I normally am anyways, but I'll make sure to be extra flirty with you. ;-)
  5. I don't think any one can convence you to just let go when you don't feel comfortable with it. Sorry to burst your bubble, but it's not going to happen. Latin and rhythmn dances are very expressive and usually on the sensuous and flirtaous, sexy side. I know of a couple of ladies in group classes who are self-concious about doing even cuban hip motion because that was a no no when they were growing up. You just have to become comfortable with who you are and not give a rats-arse about what others think.
  6. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    nah, help usually only happens for me after I have thrown every weapon in the book at him and whined and belly ached and gotten good and angry , and depressed...then I just give up...and its great ...for about a week...then we start all over again
  7. fireinflight

    fireinflight New Member

    I have this problem too! I do Int'l Latin, but I'm very much a "cute" type of girl - my instructor always tells me I'm too "nice-nice." I've only been dancing for about a year and a half, so I'm very much a beginner at the styling sorts of things, but I *have* noticed that over time, very gradually, I'm loosening up. I start to feel more comfortable with the "sexy" moves, and as I feel more comfortable they start to look a little better, and as they look better I feel even more comfortable with them... etc. Maybe it'll just take time for you too?
  8. SlowDancer

    SlowDancer New Member

    It definitely takes time. I've been dancing for about 9 years and even though I've danced mostly latin and rhythm and love the idea of being sexy on the dance floor, it's only maybe the past couple of years that I've really been able to "let go."

    And I still have my moments of self-consciousness, but they are much fewer and farther between than before.
  9. SuzieQ

    SuzieQ New Member

    I agree with this---find someone you can be comfortable "fooling around with" on the dance floor--this has been a tremendous help to me with cha, rhumba, wcs, etc. Sagitta, I'll bet you're really fun to dance with.
  10. SPratt74

    SPratt74 New Member

    You know I had a problem with this too until my new instructor started to have me do exercises and breathing exercises and Yoga and things like that before we start our lesson (which you might do now, but this was stuff that was really calming). He would get so frustrated because I would come to my lessons tense, but then he taught me a few you know quick things that we do before we start, and really it only takes a few minutes that we do before the clock starts anyways, and it seems to help.

    But I know what you mean though. It's hard to drop things at the door when our minds are occupied with a million different things. My boss used to tell people that at work, because they would bring their home lives into the work space and that would for the most part cause some kind of troubles.

    But seriously, take a few minutes before class just to stretch and do certain things to take your mind off of whatever is bothering you. It works. At least it does for me. But again my instructor will do this stuff with me and we'll find something calming to talk about to focus our minds elsewhere, or just not talk at all depending on what exercise we are doing. It's fun and easy and quick.

    Edit: I should have added too that my instructor asks me what I feel like doing, and I'll tell him about the kind of day I had, and he'll set me up with music according to that mood. I didn't notice that until I was like hmm... we seem to switch our lessons around a lot. But he's very good about picking up on emotions. So this could be an idea for you too. Try talking to your instructor about the kind of music that would be appropriate for your mood that day. Everything helps from exercise to the right kind of music. At least it does for me, so I thought that I'd share what we do. ;)
  11. latingal

    latingal Moderator Staff Member

    Like some of the other posters...I find that "letting go" for me is a function of being comfortable enough with the movement to live and enjoy the feel of it - in a safe environment.

    If I have not mastered the technique enough to be comfortable and confident doing it, there is little I can do to force myself to be in the movement without being self conscious.

    Of course that's just me, I've seen some people who can't do the technique at all, but there going at it with I guess it just depends on the person.
  12. Shooshoo

    Shooshoo New Member

    For me 'letting go' depends alot on my mood and how I feel at the moment and also on the dance partner. I can't get to separate my mood and how I feel from my dancing. So no advice here.
  13. Big10

    Big10 Member

    My guess is that you become "self-conscious" about certain movements because they are "unusual" within your mind. And, they feel "unusual" because your body rarely does them. So, the best solution is to start doing them A LOT. My advice is similar to what latingirl just said a couple of posts above mine.

    For example, if you see an arm movement that you think looks really nice on another woman but you think it's "too much" for you, then sometime when you're home alone (no practice partner, no teacher, just you), put on some music and start testing out that movement. Try it for a few minutes one day, then again a couple of days later, and so forth. Don't even tell any of your dance friends what you're working on. Just make it your private little project for awhile. Do it until you like the way it feels with the music playing, and you like the way it looks in the mirror. After some time, your brain will stop thinking "I can't do that styling movement" and "people will laugh at me" -- because by then it feels good, you will have actually done it dozens of times before, and nobody's been laughing at you for trying it!

    Personally speaking, if somebody sees me do a "new" move on the dance floor, that's usually only after having done a similar move 50 or 100 times (or more) by myself at home, trying to figure out a way to make that movement flow with traditional moves that I already knew. After awhile (a few weeks, a few months) the movement doesn't feel so unusual anymore. It becomes an old move just waiting for a new setting -- the social dance floor instead of my kitchen tile. :D

    Yes, sometimes even after all of that practice time at home, a drink still doesn't help. So, try two. ;)
  14. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    Let go of letting go..

    If I let go I would just a quivering blob of jelly on the floor.
    Its will power and the need for self control that keeps me even standing up..

    on a fairly basic level I try to teach ladies to relax the leg they're not standing on. This is difficult, more for some people than others. Now I have the benefit of tai chi training so I can 'empty' one leg with no difficulty. But its hard to get rid of such an automatic state- after all you walk around on your legs without thinking about it, so getting one of them to become heavy and the muscles to relax is an effort.

    If its a control issue then I suggest you just do whatever it is you want to do in small steps so you still feel in control. If its about how other people perceive you then pretend you're dancing alone.
  15. Joe

    Joe Well-Known Member

    A couple of shots of Grey Goose!
  16. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    I'm not exactly sure what you mean by "letting go" - but I wonder if there's a correlation between physical and mental? In the dances you describe, people don't break hold much, so there's less opportunity to develop your own style or express yourself.

    So what if you don't do thousands of adornos all over the floor - does it matter? Lots of AT dancers aren't visually flashy - that's just their own style.


    Learning salsa is a nice suggestion, as it's an easy dance to pick up (OK, easy compared to Arg. Tango :) ), and a lot of it is about individual expression; shines and so on.

    Having said that, a lot of the top dancers do specialise in Ballroom or Latin, depending on their own preferences - no-one says you have to shake your booty like a crazy thing all the time, after all. If that's not your style, that's not your style.
  17. FTL

    FTL New Member

    It's a personality thing. It's hard to undo what's been molded for decades. You can to a certain extent. Probably, even dancing was unimaginable for you when you started but you seem to have succeeded. In time you will also succeed in latin and those flirtatious embellishments. Good luck.
  18. alemana

    alemana New Member

    i like what BIg10 said. i have 'issues' with the SEXEH SEXEH LADIE MOVES in rumba to the point where i couldn't even execute a simple little "come hither" move at the onset of the routine.

    so i stood in front of a mirror at my practice time, alone, every day, and did it over and over until i freaking stopped stressing about it. because repetition is DEMYSTIFYING, and demystification provokes relaxation.
  19. yippee1999

    yippee1999 Member

    Peaches. You are not alone. It sounds to me like you WANT to let go, but are afraid to. I have same issue. I think with me (and maybe with you?) there's something about letting go.... if you TRULY let go.... your dancing becomes more primal, more emotional.... and you lose control. Forces outside yourself (and not just your brain) are then telling your body what to do to the music and what if people think it looks "weird". Or more likely, what if it looks so GOOD.... so inspiring.... so emotional... that you begin to attract positive attention from those around you? What if people say "wow, look at her!"

    But by NOT letting go, you maintain control over how you dance and how it appears to others more or less. So I think it's partly a control issue, a fear of attention (even if "positive" attention), and fear of potential embarrassment.

    I agree with others that it helps to practice moves enough so that they eventually become a part of you, you feel totally comfortable doing them, and you don't even have to "think" about doing them... they are just second nature. That said, as soon as we get out in public, we can become too self-conscious as to how others may view that whic in the privacy of our own homes may have felt "natural". Like some of the arm embellishments... arm raised high in the air with fingers fanned-out....sure it looks beautiful, but I don't necessarily feel comfortable doing it... I feel like I'm acting like a "peacock" and that others will think the same. And the body rolls etc stuff. A bit too sexy looking for me... and I don't feel comfortable coming off that way in public. (I'm a recovering Irish Catholic!)

    I try to "brainwash" myself by constantly reminding myself that the best dancing is when you allow yourself to go completely inside yourself, and just DANCE... because it feels good.... because you feel you must.... because your body commands it! As soon as you worry or think about others watching you, your dancing will suffer, and will not be true to yourself. The best way to "give" to others is to remember this. If you want others to experience your best dancing, you have to forget about them. :--) At least, that's what I believe.

    I also have this expression taped up on my fridge:

    "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us, it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

    The above speech by Nelson Mandela was orignally written by Marianne Williamson who is the author of other similar material."
  20. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    really well said, alemana

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