The R&B groover’s pep talk on how to gyrate your way through the summer and beyond
Like it or hate it, this summer you’ll undoubtedly end up on a dancefloor, surrounded by kids, cousins and elderly relatives, getting your groove on to the Macarena.
And don’t think you can be that guy who just sits on a table on the edge of the room, nibbling away at the cheeseboard for three hours - sooner or later someone’s gonna drag you up ‘for a little dance’ when a big tune comes on.
So you might as well get prepared - and who better to do that than R&B legend Ne-Yo, a man who knows a thing or two about slinky dance moves.
Here are his top tips to dominate the dancefloor.
1. Dance for yourself
“In a world where you’re judged for everything, dancing should be one of the few things that isn’t about what others think. It’s a soulful experience: you’re allowing your body to do what it wants, behind how the music makes you feel. Personal freedom belongs on the dancefloor, not insecurity and self-doubt.”
2. Let yourself go
“Don’t be stiff or self-conscious. If the beat feels good, then just move and follow the rhythm. At its core, dancing is expressing yourself through your body, so try to get out of your head and relax – the people moving offbeat are the ones usually having the most fun. And if you’re not feeling too confident, there’s nothing wrong with doing a little head bop. I’m guilty of it, too; it’s dancing without sweating out your clothes.”
3. Find a groove that suits you
“A good entry point is finding a tune where your body instinctively reacts to the groove. My song ‘Push Back’ is one of those: as soon as the beat drops, from a nod down to a toe tap, something on your body moves. Stick on a tune, look at yourself in the mirror, watch what your body does. You can dance to anything. A choreographer recently showed me footage of a guy dancing to Martin Luther King’s ‘I Have A Dream’ speech. It was so powerful. The words became his beat. It proves you can find the rhythm in whatever you’re feeling. You can keep your moves diverse and research on YouTube. That’s where I’m looking – around the world, straight at my phone.”
4. Keep in shape
“Staying in shape will mean your body will respond how you want it to. I’ve been vegan for a year and I’m in a great space, man. Not just dancing – I’m pulling off moves I never could before. My energy levels have definitely gone up, the tendonitis in both my knees has gone, I’ve got my 16-year-old body back. In the gym, drop the weights, focus on cardio and yoga – there’s nothing worse than not being able to pull off a move because you’re inflexible or out of breath. If you live in a city with a dance studio, go and be a fly on the wall; it’s fine just to sit and watch. I do it myself, learning from those who are free, those who aren’t worried about who’s watching.”
5. Embrace it
“Dancing is one of the most free, open and light places you can exist in. If you’ve never allowed yourself to be there, I’m telling you that you should. It’ll change something in your life, it definitely will. I’ll be dancing until this body decides it don’t want to move no more – I always will.”
Good Man by Ne-Yo is out 8 June