Dancing with Jason Smith

How long have you been dancing for?
About a year ago my friend invited me to my first dance class and I’ve loved it ever since!

What inspired you to go to your first dance class?
I guess I’d always seen tv shows such as So you think you can dance or America’s best dance crew and been really inspired with what people could do! I never really saw how I could go from someone who had never done any sort of dancing before to be on stage! So when my housemate invited me to go to a salsa class, I figured I would give it a shot and see how I went!

Were you nervous?
Yeah I was pretty nervous! Walking into a proper studio was strange, since I didn’t really know much about what I was about to do. All I knew about salsa was that there was spinning involved. Since I didn’t have any experience in dancing at all, I was worried about how I’d do.

How did you find your first class?
Really good! I must admit, I had no idea what I was doing and didn’t think I was doing very well, but everyone in the class was fantastic. The people which I danced with were very friendly and accommodating about a beginner, so I felt included in the class. The teachers were great, since they put things in a way that I understood and made sure that I was doing okay. I had a great time in my first class, despite not knowing what I was doing.

What do you love about dancing?
That’s a tricky one! There’s a lot which I enjoy about dancing; whether it be the physical challenge, or the mental one – I always feel like I’m using every part of myself to dance! But what I really love about dancing is the expression. There’s something about moving to the music, the way you want to and putting every bit of energy and excitement into it that makes you feel great. I love that people dance everywhere; it’s something which anybody can do and it doesn’t cost a thing. I try to feel as though every dance is a celebration of that freedom.

What keeps you coming back to your classes?
There are two aspects for me: The social side and the challenging side. I’ve met a lot of people which are similar to me through dancing; everyone is excited to be there and dance and is genuinely good people. I’ve made good friends throughout my year of dancing so they’re a big reason that I come back to class! The other reason I go back to class is for the challenge. There is always something new to learn, something new to practice. No matter how proficient someone is, there is always something to learn. People say that the beginner’s should do both beginner’s and intermediate classes; intermediate students should do intermediate and advanced classes ; advanced students should do advanced and beginner’s classes. So, in that sense there’s always something new for me at classes.

What influences positive influences have you acquired from dance?
There are a number of positive influences! I’ve made a great deal of friends throughout dancing; which can never be a bad thing. Aside from that, I’ve challenged myself and put myself out of my comfort zone and learnt a lot more about who I am. In order to learn and challenge myself more, I’ve needed to be disciplined about myself – which transfers well into other aspects of my life. I’ve cleaned up my diet and started exercising a lot more in order to become better at what I love; something which I haven’t had the reason to do in the past.

Do you think dance will be a part of your life for a long time?
I certainly hope so! I’ve really come to love dancing and everything which comes with it. As I said before, I’ve become fitter and healthier as a result and made more friends as a result. I fully intend to continue dancing for as long as I can.

What would you say to someone who is toying with the idea of starting dance as a hobby?
I say do it! It’s amazing fun to learn something different, meet new people and challenge yourself in a different way! I was surprised at how much of a world there is to dancing – there are great communities of people who are excited to see new people grow through doing what we love. You’ll make good friends and there are so many benefits to taking up dance as a hobby. I feel great about what I’m doing, and I’m surrounded by friends which love the same thing and are proud of what we do.

Since starting dance, what have been your most cherished achievements?
It’s difficult to choose! But I would say getting on stage for the first time was a huge rush for me. The idea that there were people out there, waiting to see what we could do was incredible. To go out there, do your best at something and entertain has been unlike anything else I’ve experienced. The amount of hard work you put into a performance by pushing yourself is amazing. When people like it? Incredible!  When I was doing my first performance, I didn’t know if it was good or otherwise. I simply did my best and was really happy with that. But afterward, someone said that I did a great job which meant so much to me. The fact that someone came and said that made me so happy I didn’t stop smiling for days.

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