Caitlin Abber
June 10, 2012 7:00 am

Dancing is an extremely  polarizing activity. Some people live for it, while others would rather take a bath in a kiddy pool filled with snow cones than spend even one evening at the club. Unfortunately, even if you hate it, there will come a time (or a few times) when it is pretty much required. Whether you are at a wedding or just out with friends, someone is going to yank your hand and say, “Come on!” and you’re going to have to go with them. But relax!  I love dancing! I am that obnoxious girl who screams when her song comes on, and I am not ashamed of it! Learning to love dance will only become more important the older you get, and the tougher life becomes. Letting go is key to remaining happy and young at heart, so heed my old-lady dancing advice and learn how to live a little.  For your edification, I have assembled a few tips that you should remember before and during your next night out.

1. Prepare yourself for fun, no matter what.
There is nothing like putting on some silly outfit and heading out with a few friends and chasing down the perfect dance spot. Some nights it might be a seedy underground place with the most attractive but unsavory people. Other times it might be like something you’ve seen on The Jersey Shore, and depending on your milieu, you might have to pretend enjoy if for the sake of irony. Sometimes you will dance in people’s homes, at a wedding you don’t want to be at, in your own living room with someone you love (pets included) or someplace totally random. But prepare yourself to have fun, and don’t be negative about it. Seize the moment to be young and reckless. Channel Rihanna if you must (I usually do), and let loose. This can be difficult for some people, I know, but the more you get out there, the easier it will get.

2. Dancing is free therapy – put some emotion into it!

You can dance when you are happy but you should definitely dance when you are sad. Dancing is the perfect way to cheer someone up. Your friend is going through a breakup? Dancing. You lost your job? Dancing. Nothing else to do? Dancing. Go ahead and give yourself permission to pretend, for just one night, that you are Beyoncé, early Britney, or Justin Timberlake (I think he’s still a good dancer?). Fantasize that your incredible moves will help you score with that Justin Beiber/Emma Stone over there. It is possible, because it always happens in music videos. Specifically Usher’s “Love In The Club”. Use dancing as a way to feel good about yourself, not the other way around. You look awesome out there, and everyone knows it.

3.  Use the buddy system, it works!

Snookie and Deena, Hannah and Marni, Cher and Tai– What do all these babes have in common? They dance best when they are with their friends! Try to make each other laugh with your silly moves, and use each other as shields to block unwanted attention from men. Once you start laughing, you will forget how self-conscious you feel. And once you forget that, well, there is nothing else to worry about.

I know all this advice sounds much easier than it probably is, but it is the truth. In order to get over your fear, you have to swallow a little pride and act a little shameless. Just like no one ever regrets getting on a scary roller coaster once it’s over, I highly doubt you will feel remorse for teaching yourself how to Harlem Shake in a room full of strangers.

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