August 29, 2020


Hi Brandon,

OMG, I am freaking out! We are going to have a dance at my school this Halloween. It’s going to be in-person with social distancing or by video with Zoom. Either way, EVERYONE will be able to see my horrible attempts at dancing! I have ZERO rhythm and end up looking so stupid (TRUST ME—I’ve seen video evidence from my cousin’s bat mitzvah party). The only dance I can do is the chicken dance, and even then, I end up doing the wrong moves half the time. I really want to go, but I’m thinking about just pretending to be sick. What should I do??? HELP!!

This Dork Don’t Dance

What’s Up This Dork Don’t Dance,

First of all, you are NOT alone. Do you know how seriously nervous I was when I danced with Nikki for the first time? (See Dork Diaries Book 6: Tales From A Not-So-Happy Heartbreaker.) I was feel-like-I-might-puke nervous! It’s completely normal to freak out when you’re doing something that you feel like you’re not the best at, whether it’s dancing, sports, taking a test or… well, a million other things.

I totally understand why you might want to pretend to be sick. I’ve felt the same way before. But you know what? I really wanted to be on that dance floor with my friends, and it turns out, it was really fun! Nobody was paying attention to us because they were too busy having fun themselves (other than MacKenzie, who was glaring at me and Nikki the whole time for some reason).

Listen, I get how you might be like, “WHATEVER, Brandon—you don’t know how anxious I am about embarrassing myself!” While I don’t know EXACTLY how you feel because I’m not you, I can definitely relate. I hope you do end up going to that dance. Here’s some advice:

    1. Watch videos about learning how to dance. There are plenty online. You can look up all kinds of dances. Videos are great because you can do them over and over until you feel more confident. After doing them, stand in front of a mirror or use a cell phone to record yourself to see if you’re staying on rhythm.Here are some things that you can Google to find different dance tutorials (you should probably check with your parents before getting on the internet—I know that my grandparents would want to know what I was looking at online):
      • Easy Dance Moves
      • Step-by-Step Dance For Beginners
      • Easy Hip Hop Dance Tutorials
      • Easy Line Dances
    2. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Listen, it’s kind of like when I have to get up in front of the class to talk. I get really self-conscious and feel like I’m babbling. But you know what Nikki told me? She feels the same way! And then she said something that really helped. She said, “I always think that people are waiting for me to mess up. But you know what? I bet most of them are too busy being worried about the fact that THEY might mess up! Well, except MacKenzie, who thinks she’s PERFECT.” I completely agree with Nikki—especially the MacKenzie part, HA!
    3. Have “practice” dance parties with your closest friends, via Zoom if necessary. Do some silly dances—as Nikki would say, “Always let your inner dork shine through!” And try more challenging ones, too. You could even put on Michael Jackson’s Thriller video and try to dance along with it—especially for Halloween.
    4. Practice, practice, practice! Just like with anything, the more you do something, the more confident you’ll get. Just remember not to burn yourself out. If it stops being fun, then take a pizza break, a call-a-friend break, or a Fuzzy Friends break (there’s nothing like a cute pet to make you feel like everything’s going to be all right).

    Okay, those are all the tips I’ve got. WCD has dances every now and then—I think I’ll take my own advice and go brush up on some dance moves.😀

    Have you ever been nervous about dancing in front of people (or doing anything that you were, well, less-than-talented at)? What did you do about it? Tell us in the comments below!