We have all been there.

Naked and vulnerable…

You are sitting on the mirror watching your peers get called out to perform in groups when you hear your name. You stand up, and walk to the center of the studio, excited but nervous.

It’s too late to turn back now! You are standing in front of a group of your peers with the pressure of killin’ the piece on your shoulders. Your heart is pounding, palms are sweaty and you start thinking, “Shoot, did I forget the piece? What’s the first move?! I am going to mess up!” You’re pressured to execute the piece flawlessly. A piece you just learned 45 minutes ago!

You can’t chicken out and run out of the studio crying!

(Well you could, but who wants to do that?!)

Don’t run from being vulnerable; instead, get naked.

When you get “naked” what you are really doing is shedding all of the fear, shame, and doubt that comes with dancing in front of a group.

You are allowing yourself to become comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Here are 3 reasons why you should embrace being naked when you dance.

1. You Will Learn To Trust Yourself And Your Dancing

The camera beams into your eyes. It is going to expose your every flaw and imperfection.

The music comes on, and the next thing you know, you are messing up the choreography, forgetting textures, or completely freezing up and running out of frame.

Why does this happen?

When you don’t trust yourself, you tend to second-guess what you know. This makes you hold back for fear of looking stupid.

Be confident with your words.

Your body reacts based on what your mind tells it to do. Constantly reminding yourself of how strange you look, how you don’t know the choreography, or that you just messed up that last move will only keep you from dancing like you know you can.

Focus, instead, on one thing you are doing well in class. Repeat to yourself, “I am snappin’ on this groove section,” or “I am such a crowd pleaser!” When you learn to T’up for yourself, you’ll notice how much better you feel, and see how your performance improves!

2. You Will Learn That Messing Up Is Okay

The choreographer calls you out for a solo during select groups!

You’re standing in front of at least 20 other dope dancers all waiting to watch you kill it.

The music comes on and you kill the first 8-count.

And then….*it* happens.

You suddenly blank and forget what’s next. You look around frantically, trying to recover.

Learn to be more resilient.

The choreography gods will not deem you a sinner of the dance heavens if you aren’t perfect.

The first step to being more resilient is noticing your weak points and then challenging them.

Do you freeze up when you’re called out for groups? Then go to the front of the studio when learning the piece. You won’t be able to hide and you can be seen by everyone in the room. This way, you have had a chance to practice dancing in front of everyone.

Or maybe you dance smaller when the choreography is out of your comfort zone. Then pick one part of the choreography that you’re struggling with and push yourself to make that section big and powerful every time the music comes on!

Ultimately – if you want to become more resilient you have to know what your weaknesses are, and constantly work to make them strengths!

So next time you take class and mess up, own it! The more comfortable you are with being uncomfortable, the better you become.

3. You Will Meet Your Inner Beast

You just finished learning a piece in class. You know you killed it and you feel really good! You get in line to talk to the choreographer and get some feedback.

“Focus on your detail, don’t rush your movement and sit in the pocket.” Hm…Not quite what you were expecting?

Admit it…sometimes you flip that feedback into “I suck at detail,” or “I’m so bad; I’m always off beat.” Having thoughts like these about yourself are detrimental to your growth!

Would you talk like that to a close friend? No! So, why talk to yourself in that way?

Next time you get feedback, reframe it! If the choreographer said you are speeding through the steps, you can reframe it to “take it easy at some points in the choreography, just like you did in piece you learned last week!” Trust yourself enough to take the critiques, and use them to become a better dancer than before!

So Go Ahead, Get Naked!

It’s something you try to avoid, but it’s a skill you need to become a confident, adaptable, resilient beast who is ready to conquer more than just choreography in class. You’ll be ready to overcome any obstacle that gets in your way!

This article was submitted by Chantel Serita