Sorry on the Dance Floor
By Hannah Alyea
Sorry is the one word that I hear almost as often as the word like, which in today's world, like, constantly punctuates everyday speech. Sorry has become an automatic filler word for awkward moments, being late for appointments, explaining one's clumsiness, and on occasion, legitimate apologies. Sorry is something that I not only hear on the dance floor, but I am usually the one saying it to whomever I am dancing with.
Social dancing is a great experience. You can go out and dance with new people, and as a follow, it's a great time to work on connection and actually following what the lead is indicating to you. I know all of you wonderful follows may not like to admit it, but we all, at one time or another, are guilty of assuming what the lead is going to do before he initiates it. It's a complex we have; every move has to be correct and look pretty, and that's why we assume (sorry, gentlemen, we don't mean to steal your thunder). As dancers, we want things to look aesthetically pleasing, but I also think that internally, everyone is a bit concerned about looking like a fool in front of others by messing something up. This can be the cause of many apologies on the dance floor, feeling the need to be perfect the first time with someone you may or may not have danced with before, assuming that we can be perfect at all. And that's when the dreaded word slips out. Sorry.
What we don't realize is that by saying sorry for supposedly incorrect moves, we actually take away from the fun and enjoyment of dancing. We feel obligated to apologize when something goes wrong, to try to correct our mistakes, but what I've come to realize is that instead of saying sorry and feeling embarrassed about our mistakes, we should own them and learn from them. So maybe that behind-the-back underarm turn, triple Salchow, backflip didn't go right. Just march to the beat of your own drum until you are able to get back into the flow. People are much more understanding than you suspect and realize that not everyone can do a triple Salchow into a backflip, and they will more than likely be perfectly fine with skipping it the next time or willing to teach it to you. There is no need to feel sorry and continually tell people so. Enjoy each dance for what it is—not perfect, but fun!
If this approach is useful for social dancing, imagine what this outlook could do when applied to life as a whole. Life is far from perfect, and if you are always caught up in apologizing to everyone who will listen, you end up missing the fun moments that come from the little mistakes of life.
Life is too short to waste time trying to make everything perfect in an imperfect world. Dance along with the beauty that is imperfection, and take this time to try new things. Don't be afraid to put yourself out there and make a few mistakes. There is no need to say sorry for learning.