Apparently my post about experiencing loneliness and other negative emotions while at a dance resonated with a lot of people. I’m so grateful for the many people who shared heartfelt stories of their own struggles and feelings, and how they coped with them. (Check out “Vunerable” a moving photo essay by Sarah Warny Berg about the Herrang Dance Camp.)
There’s one particular manifestation of these feelings I’ve heard again and again over the years. It happens to people who started lindy hopping and then took an extended break for some reason (work obligations, having a child, moving, etc.) Their dance hiatus might last six months or several years, but the story is the same. They come back to their local venue feeling both at home and alienated at the same time.
“I don’t know anyone in the room,” they think, with rising concern. “Who will dance with me?”
They feel discouraged when they realize they will have to re-create their dance network. Often they are older dancers, feeling out of place among a younger generation of dancers. Perhaps they feel rusty in their lindy hop skills, but are hesitant to go back to class or catch up with the latest “trends” and styles of dancing. So they just stop coming.
I’m reminded of my mom and her lack of interest in visiting her home town in the Philippines. “There’s nothing for me there,” she says, when I bring it up. I think I get that now. For her to visit her old neighborhood and see that her home, her school, and all the other places she knew are gone would be a painful experience, not a nostalgic one. I guess you can’t go home again.
Similarly, you can’t re-create your first lindy hop romance, the giddy excitement of this new thing with your peers all learning together. But the good news is that you can rekindle that love affair with the dance (and other dancers). It just takes a bit more effort and intentionality.
Have you experienced this? How did you get past those feelings?