Many of us find that dance really brings to light the confidence that we might lack. This could be dancing socially where we worry what our partner might think or when we dance in front of others and worry what the audience or judge thinks. The worst thing about a lack of confidence in dance is that it will affect the way you dance – negatively. This can then do even more harm to our confidence, and we spiral down into a state of low confidence and an inability to dance as well as we actually could or want to.
Body Language Dance and Confidence
Fortunately, body language and confidence is a two way street. Just as a lack of confidence causes corresponding body language, an effort to display positive body language can make us feel more confident. This is even more so in dance because a lot of partner dance actually relies on displays of positive body movement associated with confidence to look good. By understanding the nature of this body language, you can put the effort into showing it in your dance. This will make your dance look better and make you feel better.
This article will first cover the basics of body language and displays of confidence. It will then use this to explain what you should focus on in your dance to have the effect of confidence.
What is Confident Body Language?
- It is open – that is there is a greater exposure of the vulnerable parts of the body such as the upper ribs, the stomach, the front of the pelvis and the inside of the arms. It has more lift – that means that the body is more inclined to defy gravity or extend itself.
- The body is upright, toes might be lifted off the ground, the head will be high or thumbs are extended more.
If you stop and think about the kinds of comments that you get from your dance instructor, then you will probably be able to remember some times when they mention issues that were the opposite of what was mentioned above. You might have been closed around the chest, your arms were not up enough or maybe you head has not high enough. This shows how much dance relies on the display of body language that communicates confidence.
Bringing Confident Body Language into your Partner Dancing
There are two ways you can use this to improve your confidence in partner dance:
- Before you are to dance, put the effort into displaying confident body language. By simply ensuring you walk upright, with your chin up and without your arms trying to hug (and protect) your body, you will start to feel more confident. This is a bit like faking it until you make it.
- When you are dancing be aware of the steps that have body gestures that correspond with confidence. Most often this is when arms need to come out. Many of us lacking in confidence will only partially extend our arms, and have slightly bent elbows. By being aware of these steps you can put a bit more conscious effort into ensuring you perform them with the correct amount of boldness and confidence that is required. Be mindful of your chest and shoulders too.
By putting a conscious effort into displaying confident body language your dance will look better and you will begin to actually feel more confident too.
More Resources on Body Language
Below are some excellent book on body language that I have read. If you want to lean more about using body language to understand people and portray yourself better, then I can recommend them very highly. The one on the right is by the real life person that Dr. Cal Lightman of the TV series Lie to Me was based on. The one in the middle is by an ex FBI investigator with some very interesting crime stories. And the one on the left has many practical applications of body language in different cultures and social and work situations. Take your pick!