I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the reasons people dance. I have spent far less time thinking about the reasons people don’t – or won’t – dance.

Today, in my mindless internet forays, I came across an article about a fitness expert who decided to gain and lose 70 lbs just to see what it felt like and relate to his clients here. What does gaining/losing weight have to do with this article? Not much. But his musings on why people don’t successfully lose weight got me thinking. The following is a hypothesis, and is certainly not backed up by any studies, but I figured I would share.

1. Lack of Confidence/Fear

Dance is social. Dance is visual. Dance revolves around connecting and opening to new people and familiar people (if you do it often enough). And, very often, people see it as inextricably linked to sex or sexiness.  All of the above are definitely reasons why people do dance… but what if you have no confidence?

It’s true that dancing can build confidence – if you get good at it (or at least, think you’re good). But, to get to that point you have to pass a threshold that is an exercise in humility for both men and women. Although some “get it” innately, the pressure to look good, feel good, be sexy, get it right etc. create a massive amount of pressure to the new social dancer.

It takes a certain amount of bravery and self-confidence to be able to put yourself out there. It this is an area someone struggles with, social dancing can be a very scary thing. Thinking “I’ll never be good enough, I can’t get this, people won’t like me” etc. can sabotage many a budding dancer.

2. Bad Experience

For every dancer who walks into a room and loves the atmosphere and the music, there was at least one who got introduced the wrong way. Maybe they had a bad first lesson. Maybe a girlfriend or boyfriend who broke their heart loved dancing. Maybe it was the wrong style of dance or style of music for that individual. Maybe it was too crowded/sparse/dark/light/clubby/studiolike/alcoholic/notalcoholicenough/etc. for them. And hey, if it’s not a fun environment for you… why on earth would you invest in it?

I wouldn’t.

3. Lethargy

I’m not confining this to only lazy people. I’m saying people who get home and are exhausted from work, people who want to stay in and do something quiet, people whom taking an hour of public transit is just too much, etc. And this is also perfectly understandable.

Heck, I’m an avid dancer and if you ask me to drag my butt out of bed on some nights… no. Times 200. Unless you guilt me – and even then it’s dicey.

4. Other Interests/Commitments:

Family, hard work, significant other who doesn’t dance, varsity sport, other styles of dance, etc. are all things that take a significant part of time. You make time in your life for things you want to do… that’s the way people work.

There’s nothing wrong with not making social dance a priority, but it’s silly to just say “I don’t have time” if the dance is accessible. Obviously, if you live in Nunavut and there’s no social dance, I don’t call it an excuse to not drive to Winnipeg to get your fix… but that’s another point. Point is, if you wanted to make time to social dance you would… it’s just not a large enough priority in your life.

5. Accessibility

Living without a dance community sucks (for me). I *still* drive 2.5 hours during the year to get my fix in Toronto. But, this is not a tenable option for many people. No matter how much you love the friggin thing… if you don’t have reasonable or affordable access, there’s just nothing you can do about it.

6. You Just Don’t Like It.

Yeah, I said it.

Unfortunately, there are people in this world who dislike dance the same way I dislike American Football or Family Guy.  Not everyone will be allured by our fantastic world of late nights and flashing lights and wonderful human connection. That’s ok. I’m sure we’re missing out on epic *something* when we don’t like Football/Fashion/Simpsons/whateverotherthingyoudislike. Let them be. You won’t change them.