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Sunday, February 3, 2013

Dance: Hobby or Social Experiment?

Last October I formally picked up dancing. I started taking group classes and ended up learning about 12 different styles in that one month. I went almost every day that classes were offered. I really threw myself into it.


Why would someone who doesn't necessarily like to draw attention to herself, someone who has a large personal space bubble, someone who likes to be in control, pick up a hobby that brings strangers within two inches of her face to guide her around a rectangular wooden floor? Call it a social experiment. Putting myself in a new, somewhat uncomfortable, situation is part of being Tani. Pushing my limits in what seems to be a mundane way was a way to learn something new, meet new people, connect in different ways with existing friends, and eventually beat off the winter blues. 

I figured if I didn't love it, or even like it, it was a test of my own tolerance of people. So the experiment began.

Phase 1: It started with a one-night lesson/party at a dance studio on the North Side of Chicago. Not having ever been on a dance floor in any situation other than a wedding in my adult life, it was a bit challenging. Personal space, new environment, strangers, and a brain overloaded with new information made for an interesting evening. That aside, it was really fun. I talked about it with friends and got to hear their dance stories. It was a different kind of experience.

Phase 2: I found local studios. A LivingSocial deal made one a first pick. With one experience under my belt, I wasn't really sure what to expect. Would there be a rigid instructor screaming about form? Would it be a Senior Center or rave-type atmosphere? I left my hard candies and glow sticks at home. Premier Dance Studio ended up being a great place to learn a new hobby. They were informal, but still informative. They were young. They were friendly and unpretentious. 

Phase 3: I signed up for private lessons. It helps me focus on a few different types of dance, so I can confidently dance around my living room in my pjs with Mr. K. (We all have different goals right?) The instructor is flexible with the lesson and tailors it to your goals. If I should want to start some serious competition or practice some moves for an upcoming social engagement, the lessons would support those needs.

I have gotten more out of dance at this studio than expected. I got to meet new people. I now have parties to go to. I even rang in the New Year dancing away. It's a new social group with interests that go beyond dance. It gets me out of the house and on my feet on those cold winter days that I'd rather be hibernating in front of the TV eating pizza. I listen to new music. I have a bounce in my step. It's helped me settle in to this new area after more than three years of being here. 

Dance more than just a social experiment for me, it's a hobby.


  1. Great post. It's always hard to begin! Now each trip offers a new dance community.

  2. It really does. I'm sure every studio and dance group are different in ways. I was lucky to find one that fit my personality!