For quite some time now, dancing hasn’t been as fun as it used to be. I seem to have misplaced the passion that I used to have for it and I’ve been having trouble understanding why it’s been happening.
If you’re a dedicated dancer and you keep at it for long enough, a dance slump will happen to you too. You might feel stuck in your progress, you might feel frustrated with your dancing, you might feel bored with your scene. There are many ways for it to manifest.
I’ve had slumps before, but they always passed fairly easily. This time feels different. I’ve never before gotten to a point where I questioned whether I even wanted to keep dancing, and that idea worries me. Lindy hop has given me so much in these past two and a half years that I can’t believe that that’s all it’s been. It’s taken me on all kinds of new paths and has affected pretty much all areas in my life. I honestly have no idea what my life would look like had I never started dancing.
Dancing has become such a defining part of my life that I started questioning who I am without it. My reaction to this was feeling that maybe I don’t want this thing to define me or to take up such a large portion of my time. If it’s capable of turning on me for no good reason, then I don’t want to trust it with my heart and identity.
So even though it wasn’t an easy decision, I finally decided that the best idea would be for me and Lindy hop to take a break. I needed to step back and see the other things that make me me, and I figured that absence might make the heart grow fonder.
After making that decision, something I heard in a psychology class the other day helped make things click for me. The professor was talking about a defense mechanism that people use, where they might disconnect if a relationship starts displaying an opportunity for true closeness. This can happen as a result of a fear of abandonment. The reasoning says that if you never allow anyone to get too close, there’s no way for them to hurt you.
Get where I’m going with this? In order to not get hurt by dancing, I took myself out of the equation completely. Turns out I’m the commitment phobic wuss in this relationship.
About a year ago, I wrote this Facebook status: “I just realized that dancing is like an infatuated-stage boyfriend for me. It’s always on my mind, I can’t wait till we meet, it takes up most of my free time and my friends are sick of hearing about it.”
Back then I was in the giddy, early stages of the relationship. I was learning a lot of new things, I felt that I was constantly improving in some way or another and got the same kind of feedback from others. It felt good to be advancing in an activity that I enjoyed so much. I loved Lindy hop and it loved me back.
Some time after that, I was offered to join the teachers team at Holy Lindy Land. I can’t tell you how happy that made me! Well, not dancing-around-alone-in-my-room-like-a-kangaroo-on-ecstasy happy, but you know, pretty happy… Shut up, you have no proof!
But seriously, it was a goal I had at the back of my mind for a while and this was a stamp of approval that I was getting somewhere in dancing. It felt like my hard work and enthusiasm were being rewarded and that I had accomplished something.
As a result of joining the team, I had the privilege of practicing intensively on a regular basis with Israel’s top Lindy hoppers. This forced me to work even harder, because I wanted to get to a point that it was not just them putting energy into training me. I wanted to be an equal contributor.
One example of working my booty off was participating in the RhythmJuice Games with my fellow team member, Eran Tobi. This was, hands down the hardest thing I’ve ever done dance-wise, on oh so many levels. The blood, sweat and tears (it ain’t a cliché for nothing) paid off – we made it to 4th place out of over 70 couples from around the world. Here was another external confirmation that I might be doing ok with this dancing thing.
Since last year, my relationship with Lindy hop has become more complex. It’s no longer just a fun hobby that I practice whenever I feel like it. I have responsibilities as a teacher, I invest a lot of time and effort into improving, and others have certain expectations of me (or at least I feel like they do). It’s not just a bowl of cherries anymore.
While the initial infatuation has faded, Lindy hop continues to give me opportunities to grow closer to it. It’s been telling me that we may have something real here. It keeps saying that I should invest more into the relationship. It’s been asking me if I see a future for us. It wants to have “the talk”.
Even as I type these words, I can feel my heart pounding with commitment phobic dread. I know we have something good going, but at the same time, it scares me. Never before have I given so much to one single activity in my life. I’ve had plenty of hobbies that I enjoyed and put a lot into before, but they always stayed in the hobby zone. Lindy hop, dare I say, was the first to become a passion. Never before have I loved something the way I love Lindy hop.
Yes, Lindy. I do love you. I don’t want to give you up. We’ve been through a lot together. We’ve traveled the world, met new friends, had all sorts of adventures and we’ve certainly had our share of highs and lows. But I think there still might be more in store for us. It might take me awhile to give you my all again, but I promise to work on it.
Or you know, maybe I need to try other hobbies and I’ll drunk dial you after an unsuccessful night of knitting.
Have you ever gone through a dance slump? Help a girl out by sharing what worked for you, won’t you?