Signing up for dance lessons was the best thing I've done this year. It's taught me how to be easy on myself.
- In January, I signed up for my first bachata dance lesson in Mumbai, where I live.
- At first, I made mistakes and stepped on my dance partners' toes.
Every night, bars tucked into the streets of Mumbai fill with strangers who dance salsa, bachata, kizomba, rueda, jive, and the Lindy Hop. We stay there for hours, improvising new styles, surprising ourselves, and singing along to the music. We may not know each other in the outside world, but here, we share a side of ourselves that other people may not see.
In January, I signed up for a bachata class, after years of being curious about Latin dance. The next day I went to my first dance social, where I was mesmerized by the chemistry and connection between the dancers on the floor.
I promised myself that one day, I would learn how to dance like them.
It was intimidating at first
In the first few weeks, I stepped on toes and made mistakes that left me red in the face, but I learned how to keep going and not take myself too seriously.
It's intimidating to be a beginner, but once I allowed myself to enjoy the challenge, I fell in love with the process of learning something new.
Since then, I've picked up six new dance styles, which have given me a new identity as a dancer, access to a wonderful community, and a sense of peace and purpose. When I dance, I forget the world and lose myself in the moment. It's a space where I can truly let go and escape from everything else.
As an overthinker, it's helped me clear my mind and be easy on myself. If I start to think, I lose the rhythm.
For years, I lived in my thoughts and forgot to take care of my body. Now I carry myself differently, because I trust myself and where my instincts will take me. I've uncovered a sense of ease, calm, and fluidity that I didn't know I had access to.
I feel free in my body and excited to discover what I'm capable of.
I am much more confident now
Six months later, I can feel myself becoming a better and more confident dancer. After lots of practice, it now comes easily to me. My schedule revolves around workshops and socials, and I've met some of my closest friends through this community — dancing, sharing playlists, and singing karaoke.
It's beautiful to have something that you can pour your love into that also teaches you how to love yourself.
It's been incredible to have the support and encouragement of other dancers. I recently danced with someone who told me I had come very far. Confused, I asked him what he meant. He was there for my first bachata lesson, sitting at the back of the room when I was learning how to move my feet to the music. He remembered me and witnessed my growth, and that meant so much.
Dance has made me feel like I can travel anywhere and feel at home by connecting with other dancers, as if I've learned a new language that has unlocked the world.
When I'm at the supermarket or at a concert and hear music I can move to, I instinctively start to dance. It makes me feel effortlessly happy and free, and I know this is only the beginning.
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