News & Views

At Work and At Leisure, Part II: Dancing

8 July 2020

Our summer series “At Work and At Leisure” continues with Specialist Partner Johanna, who will tell you about her passion for dancing.

What is your hobby and the story behind it?

I love dancing (especially to South American music, which I don’t understand since it is in Spanish, but I like the rhythm)! The story behind my love for dancing is, however, not very straightforward and definitely not love at first sight. When I was 10 and moved to a new city with my family, I signed up for both ballet and track and field at the same time. I quit ballet after the first lesson, thinking it was not for me/who I am and continued with track and field (with a focus on pole vaulting) until my twenties. When I stopped with track and field and started studying in Helsinki, I decided that it is never too late to give dance a second chance. I tried out almost all dance schools in Helsinki to see the different types and all different dance classes I could find (which were many!). When I studied in Florida for a year, I then fell in love with Latin dances such as salsa, bachata, and reggaeton.

What is the best thing about your hobby?

It makes me genuinely happy, and I cannot stop myself from smiling and laughing when I dance. Dancing is also a great way to meet new people and a great way to explore new cultures when travelling (you can dance together with Cubans on the streets of Havana or together with joyful South African children, for instance).

What does the hobby say about you?

That’s a difficult question! I think the way dancing came into my life has showed me that I can change and that something that might feel very strange and outside my comfort zone the first time could, in fact, after some training and encouragement be “very much me”.

What skills or qualities has your hobby helped you improve?

It has actually helped me improve my listening skills. In order to do the steps and movements at the exact perfect time, you need to listen to the music and be ready to “react” at the time you hear the drum or another instrument, for example. Dancing has also taught me to let go. One cannot dance if constantly thinking of, for example, how it looks or any problems you might be facing in your job or in your everyday life. Otherwise the dancing would end up becoming stiff. Thus, you need to be present, let go of everything else, and just listen to the music! I still, however, need to improve letting someone else lead the dance when dancing in couples; I usually tend to want to be in the driving seat and control the next move.