Dancing with a vision impairment
I used to be frightened of dancing. I sometimes had to perform dances at school. This only made my fear grow. I felt silly when I danced. I was never sure if I danced like the other students. One time I danced without fear. It was with my father at my Year 12 formal. Recently I heard about a dance teacher who teaches people with disabilities. I decided to challenge my old fears. I signed up for ballroom dance lessons. I now love and enjoy dancing.
Posted by: Christine Casey, on 13/12/11
Dancing is now something I love.
My first experience of dancing came in Grade 5. I hated the experience. I didn't understand how to perform the moves. I couldn't keep up with the other kids. I was intimidated at having to share my personal space with a boy.
My teacher's aid did her best to explain the moves. She physically pulled me through the steps when that did not work. My partner valiantly refused to swap me for a more coordinated girl who wasn't in tears. He did his best to help me master the dances. I allowed myself to be pushed and pulled around while pretending I wasn't crying. I survived that dancing session. But I decided dancing was a sport to be avoided at all costs.
The dancing teenager
I managed to worm my way out of all forms of dancing until Year 8. We had to perform a dance routine from the 1970s for our school play. My classmates spent hours teaching me the various moves. I was never sure whether I was doing the same as the other students. When we performed in our lines I would misjudge how far I had to move. I would end up in the wrong row. My teacher finally gave up and I was taken out of the scene.
My fear of dancing grew with years of school plays and youth choir. I learned that I couldn't do jazz hands. I didn't have sexy shoulders. There was no way I could walk forward four steps and stay in line with the others. I saw dancing as a frightening and difficult thing that I couldn't master.
A special dance
One time I participated in a dance and wasn't scared of making a fool of myself. It was when I danced with my father at my Year 12 formal. Dad had learned ballroom dancing as a kid. He was able to teach me a simple dance. We were in physical contact throughout the dance. I knew we were performing the same steps. I could follow his direction.
A few months ago I heard about a dance teacher who was happy to teach people with disabilities. I thought that I would give it a go. I wanted to learn something new and to overcome my fear of dancing. I spoke to the teacher and organised to have a lesson.
I was very nervous about going to my first lesson. My teacher made me feel comfortable. I found that ballroom dancing really suited me. The steps are performed in a particular order. You are also usually in physical contact with your partner. I am able to follow my partner and feel what he is doing. This helps me to remember the dances.
I am no longer afraid of looking silly when I dance. Dancing has become something that I now love and enjoy instead of something I hate and fear.
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