How Can I Feel Less Awkward When I Dance On Zoom?
Updated: Mar 7, 2021
Dancing can be awkward, regardless of whether it's on or offline. You’re standing there, the music’s giving you all the right signals, but other people can see you and something inside you is screaming:
“AAAAH! What do I do? That thing I just did with my arm was stupid. What do I do with my hands? Oh no, that move must have looked ridiculous. Let’s try a hop on one foot. That didn't feel right. A disco roll? Oh no, ok keep going, smile, pretend you’re having fun”.
The other people in the room are the reason it feels awkward. You’re worrying about whether they can see you and what they might think about your dance moves. This worry is why Carlton stops dancing when Will Smith walks in on him doing his famous It’s Not Unusual dance with the signature Carlton move. In the clip, Carlton goes from wildly swaying his arms and lip-syncing the words using a candle is a pretend microphone to stopping the music and leaving the room, embarrassed. The difference between these two states was whether or not someone else was watching him.
Here’s how to work through the awkwardness and dance like Carlton, even when people are watching:
Remember that it’s normal to feel a bit awkward at the start; the rest of the people taking part might be feeling exactly the same way. Here’s a blog post from my friend Joanna who talks about her initial awkwardness.
Remember that in gallery view on zoom, you’re a tiny square box in a sea of tiny square boxes. On other people’s screens, you’re probably the size of a £2 coin. We can barely see you and won’t notice what you’re doing, mostly because we’re too busy enjoying the music and having a good old boogie from our own tiny square box on the screen.
The most important thing about dancing is feeling good when you’re doing it and having fun. If you worry about how you look and what people think about you, you're not giving yourself permission to have fun. This is a safe and judgement free space: make the most of it.
Remember that you already know how to dance. The definition of dancing is “ to move around to music”. Every single one of us is capable of doing that. Some will be more coordinated, more graceful, more in sync with the music than others, but how we look when we dance doesn’t matter. You're not here to win an award or a competition. You’re here to find a moment of joy and release.
If you think you're a bad dancer, read this blog post where I break down why you shouldn't let that stop you.
Don't let the awkwardness stop you. Push through it and discover how good it feels when you manage to let go.