I have one.
Let’s call him… “Nathan.” Years and years more experienced than me, I met him when I was just starting out, and right from the get-go I had it bad. From his dance hold to his leading, his style to the natural, easy way he adapts to my level, dancing with him just feels so good. Butterflies in the stomach, just like the movies said it would be good. I had a crush. A dance crush.
Dance crushes are a trap.
When you’re in love with dancing, getting swept away on the dance floor can be dangerously easy. When a partner helps you have the best dance of the night—when every dance is a new highlight—it’s easy to transfer that love onto them. What’s not always easy is separating romantic feelings from dance feelings. If you only ever see the person in a dance setting, it gets even harder.
Very recently, I wrote about how I don’t dance to make romantic connections, and how romantic connections aren’t necessary to achieve that great dance and great connection with a partner. So what am I doing now contradicting myself talking about crushing on someone just for those exact reasons?
Because dance crushes aren’t about romance. They’re about the dance.
Confusing, right? Having just entered this world when I was struck down by this, I spent some weeks in this state of enamored confusion. This wasn’t me. I don’t crush. Yet I had all the symptoms. I looked forward to seeing him on the dance floor, where I constantly thought about dancing with him. And when we did, what was such a fun and easy dance with someone else got me so nervous and flustered with him. I so desperately wanted him to think I was a good dancer so he would keep asking me to dance.
Do you see the pattern? This wasn’t about Nathan the Person. This was about Nathan the Dancer, and how he made me feel as Luna the (newbie) Dancer. Just one facet of a whole human being.
I think the closest thing we can equate it to is the celebrity crush: to be so enamored with a person’s skill as an actor or musician or writer that it spills over for the person himself. Except unlike a celebrity crush, which are commonly from afar, you’re interacting with your dance crush (unless you’ve got it so bad you can’t even bring yourself to speak. Then it’s sixth grade all over again). That may not necessarily make it easier when it comes to the tricky question of “do I like him as a person or as a dancer?” When all you ever interact with is the dancer, it’s easy to mistake the dance crush for a romantic one. When you get to see each other outside the dance floor, that’s when the questions really get answered.
Once I began to pick up on other dance blogs, I was so relieved that I wasn’t the only victim of this phenomenon (and that I hadn’t arbitrarily made up the term). Everyone was getting those dance crush butterflies. Did anyone of them turn into real feelings? Maybe. But more often not.
I continue to see Nathan all the time. I’ve come to know off the dance floor he’s also a great guy, and I really enjoy the budding friendship between us. He’s still my absolute favorite to dance with, but we’ve gotten to know each other well enough that he doesn’t make me feel like I’m falling all over myself to impress him with my semi-better-than-beginner dance moves. Unless I literally fall over myself. Which has happened.