Dance confidence (DC) is something that can have profound health benefits, but unfortunately not everyone has the courage to groove like nobody’s watching, and more’s the pity, since those who do will likely be winning in more ways than one. Mental health Dance confidence is representative of a care-free temperament. The kind which forgoes anxiety and worry over others’ opinions in favour of spontaneity and self assurance. As such, the development of dance confidence can be a good foundation to the kind of mental health which typically thrives in the absence of self-consciousness and social anxiety. Dance can also provide confidence that spills into other areas of life. Physical health With freedom from inhibitions, opportunities for dance can be seized when they arise, leading to improvements in physical fitness. So how do we improve our dance confidence AND create opportunities for more dance? Dance more The more you do something, the more habitual it can become, which is key to confidence. Dancing at home in the comfort of your own lounge or bedroom can build familiarly with your body’s natural movements, so eventually it becomes second nature. The key to dancing like nobody’s watching, is to practice when nobody is. Grab a partner Partner dancing such as salsa carries the ‘safety in numbers’ advantage of allowing nervous movers to develop the rhythm and confidence to dance publicly, but behind the shield of a pairing and dance relationship. Bite the bullet If there is an opportunity to dance, such as a wedding or night out, don’t spend too much time plucking up the courage to join in. Waiting until everyone else has joined the floor only allows tension and anxiety to build. This is one situation that the plaster theory of pain limitation is particularly true of. Zone out The key to moving naturally is not to over think. This is easier said than done, so it involves a degree of brain training to get into ‘the zone’. Rhythm ebbs when too many thoughts flow, so the dancing head space needs to be a place of blissful unawareness. The key... don’t look who’s looking, or what shapes others are cutting. As Patrick Swayse once said, you have to ‘feel the music’. If you can manage to master the art of DC, there is much to be gained, from the endorphin boost of letting go on the dance floor (or boogying around the kitchen) to the social gains of attending classes or joining in with party antics. Not forgetting, of course, the fitness gains and the knock on effects of DC on relationships, work and personal development.