Have you ever felt the urge to get up and move to the music, but didn’t know how? Are you shy about drawing attention to yourself and afraid to get out on the dance floor and boogie? If so, please read on. I’ll share the story of my love affair with dancing and the secret to overcoming my shyness.


I have always loved music and couldn’t resist the temptation to sway to the beat or tap my toes. I envied others having a ball dancing up a storm while I, the proverbial wallflower, sat and watched.

I yearned to get up and do the Twist, Mashed Potato, Watusi, Frug, Locomotion, or the Limbo, but was too shy to get out on the dance floor. I was afraid that I’d look stupid out there and was uncomfortable drawing attention to myself.


I didn’t know how to do these dances, and was too timid to ask anyone to show me. So, I avoided going to sock hops or occasions where kids would be dancing, and as a result, I missed out on a lot of fun.


Although I lettered in track twice in high school, I am not particularly athletic. When I was in college, my counselor suggested that I consider taking swimming or folk dancing to meet the physical education requirement.

I jumped at the chance to learn folk dancing. In addition to learning the dance steps, we studied the country of origin and history of the Polka, Schottische, Hora, Irish Jig, and Cotton Eyed Joe, among others.

I was fascinated by this class and  enjoyed it tremendously. I especially liked the way we changed partners so that  having someone to dance with was not an issue. But I still wanted to  dance socially, and there weren’t many polka clubs in Kansas that I knew of!


I knew that dance studios such as Fred Astaire or Arthur Murray existed, but did not consider this an option for me to learn to dance because I thought that they were too expensive for my budget and I did not have a dance partner to take a class with anyway.

Then one night I went to a Sufi dance on a whim and met a man who was taking an adult education class in ballroom dancing so that he would be able to dance with his daughter at her wedding. I did not know such a thing existed, but I was intrigued.

I struck up a friendship with him, and he agreed to be my partner in the beginner’s class. We learned the basic dance steps for Foxtrot, Waltz, Swing, and Rhumba. The class was six weeks long, and each week we covered a new pattern to add to our repertoire for each dance that we were learning. By the end of six weeks, I was dancing!


This beginner’s class led to intermediate, then advanced lessons, and I learned how to do a variety of Latin dances. My favorites were Cha-Cha, Rhumba, and Tango. Learning Latin dances was not only fun, but it greatly improved my self confidence. I’m no longer shy about being noticed, and even enjoy the attention of other dancers watching me dance.


Dancing is a very social activity. Friendships formed during beginner’s classes continue on through the years. The same couples frequently take more advanced classes and go out dancing together.

When taking a dance class, practice is important in order to learn the steps and patterns that are taught in the class. Some dance instructors even sponsor dance clubs that host their own dances in order to provide an opportunity for couples in their classes to practice. We referred to the group that we continued on in classes with and attended dances together as “our table” because we always sat together at the same table when we went to these dances.


It’s magic! This timid little farm girl from Iowa is no longer shy and afraid to make a fool of herself.  I can hold my own on a dance floor now, follow my partner without stepping on too many toes, and even get up the nerve to ask someone to dance! But there’s always so much more to learn. I don’t think I’ll ever learn everything there is to know about dancing, but I am a dancing fool!


I have realized my dream of gliding across the dance floor in the arms of some handsome man having the time of my life. If you’ve always wanted to learn to dance, but didn’t know how to go about it, there’s no better time to learn than now. It’s great exercise, and so much fun!

What are you waiting for? Get on your computer and do a search for adult education ballroom dance classes in your area. Then get out there and boogie! See ya on the dance floor!



  1. Hello Carol,

    This is such a great story! I completely identify with your description of being too shy and intimidated to try dancing when I was younger. I was so frustrated since it looked like so much fun and I wanted to join in!

    Later I took a few classes in college as well. Now, my husband and I really want to take dance classes but I have not been able to do much yet due to my bursitis. I am getting better slowly as I find natural cures and hope to be dancing someday!

    This is great motivation! I am glad you are able to dance and enjoy yourself!

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