Fear of Dancing

Did you know that there was an actual thing such as the fear of dancing? I did not. Chorophobia is the clinical term for those who have a fear of dancing. There are people out there who even the thought of having to do it stresses them out so much it has become a phobia. Here director Michael Allcock uses himself as the subject as he has…a fear of dancing.

As the film begins Allcock explains that he found himself newly single and was ready to get back on the dating scene. But with dating came his old fear of dancing as it is often part of it. All this made him think about what it is that makes a person fearful of dancing. An idea for a documentary was born.

Part of the doc is his search for answers while the other part is trying to overcome his fear using different methods. He starts off with a little history of himself. Using old photos and video, shows that he was not always scared of dancing as he did it – there is proof. So when did he become afraid and why? It seemed to happen sometime in high school. Maybe when high school dances and dating started. Adolescence is a time where a lot of change is going on; it can be overwhelming. From not wanting to do it, that grew into a paralyzing fear.

Most cannot relate as most love to dance. Even if we don’t do it well. It just seems like a normal human expression in relation to music. So most do not understand the phobia. So Allcock has many interviews with others who suffer from it as well explaining how they deal with it. One of the people he interviews is British actor Stephen Fry as he too has a fear of dancing. The man can act in front of hundreds or thousands on stage, but is scared to dance.

Allcock himself tries out things like attempting to dance with a robot, which has been constructed expressly for this. He also tries virtual reality and even a sort of club which tries to help those with issues around dancing to still do it by hosting dance parties in the complete dark. Nothing really works for Allcock. What is almost successful is when he puts on VR goggles and goes down all alone to the waterfront and puts on music. His cameraman stays a long way away up on a cliff to film what happens. Allcock starts dancing, but ends up falling and hurting himself, so that isn’t good.

Finally, he decides to contact the woman he was head over heels about in high school. Allcock then invites her to a school “dance” in which they will be the only ones there. She agrees and they do dance.

Dancing is something most humans see as fun and freeing. Humans have been doing dancing in one form/style or another for thousands of years. It is practically part of our nature. Even babies seem to be born with the inclination to move to music. Not for everyone. Some humans fear it. It is not easily explained as there are many different reasons why they fear it. So for those who do not dance is there experience as humans not as full as those who do dance? Questions are raised here. While not all are answered (as there probably aren’t any), what does come out of this documentary is awareness of the problem.

This documentary is available now on CBC Gem.

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