Dear American Girl,

My mom wants me to join a dance class. The problem is that I'm very shy and I don't know anyone in the class. I like dancing alone in my room, but I'm nervous to dance in front of girls I don't know. How can I overcome my shyness and have fun at dance class?
-Dancing Blues

Here's your advice:

Don't worry about what the other girls might think of you. If you love to dance, then dance. This class also might be a great way to meet girls who have the same interest as you. Remember, other girls in the class could be feeling just as shy as you.
-Alicia, age 12, Oregon

Invite your friends to your house to have a dance party. Turn on some upbeat music and have fun showing off your moves. When you go to dance class, you might feel a lot more relaxed.
-Nicole, age 10, California

If you enjoy dancing, it doesn't matter what others think. Don't ruin your dance class just because you're nervous. If you love to dance, you can overcome your shyness and have fun.
-Kaya, age 11, Texas

Imagine that you are having a private dance lesson—no one is there except you and the teacher.
-Katie, age 9, New Jersey

I used to be shy, too, but then I realized how much dance meant to me. When I dance, I feel amazing. Just remember how dance makes you feel, and let those feelings replace your shyness.
-Megan, age 11, Massachusetts

When you dance, try to not think about what the other girls are doing. Remember, they're probably too busy performing their own moves to notice what you are doing. When you dance, just be yourself.
-Katherine, age 13, Florida

Face your fears and have fun in your class. After all, everyone else will be doing the same thing as you!
-Janey, age 8, Maryland

My dad says that if you're not excited about doing something, at least put in a little effort. That way, you can decide if you truly like the class or not. If you end up disliking this dance class, at least you tried, and if you want to, you can move on to something else.
-Abby, age 12, Utah

If you like to dance, you might be majorly missing out on something you'll enjoy. As soon as you start dancing, all of your nervousness could just melt away.
-Hannah, age 13, Oregon

Encourage the other girls in your class. Be kind, say, "Great job," or clap. If the girls see that you are a nice person, you might make new friends in no time.
-Landry, age 10, Germany

Dance is about having fun and expressing yourself. Don't worry about what the other girls might think or say about you. Don't try to be perfect. Just keep smiling and enjoy your dance class.
-Sam, age 12, New Hampshire

Ask your dance teacher if she could introduce you to the girls in the class or show you around the studio. Becoming more familiar with your surroundings might help you to feel less shy.
-Karlee, age 11, Kentucky

I always feel nervous when I start a new class, but I end up having a lot of fun. Even though you're shy, joining a dance class could actually help you to be braver.
-Tessa, age 10, Florida

At your first dance class, make it a goal to introduce yourself to one other girl. Break the ice by asking, "How long have you been dancing?" or saying "That was a great move!" At the next class, try to talk to a couple more girls. As you get to know more people, you might feel less shy.
-Faith, age 12, Pennsylvania

Remember that none of the girls in the class is a perfect dancer. That's why you're in the class—to learn more about dancing. I think you might really enjoy it once you get started!
-Amy, age 11, Georgia

Your mom is probably encouraging you to join this dance class because she loves you and wants you to do something fun. Be glad that she is giving you this opportunity. When you feel nervous in your class, be grateful for a mom who cares about you and be glad that you get the chance to be in the class.
-Sunshine, age 10, California

I joined the dance team at school, and I was nervous that I wouldn't dance as well as the other girls. When we started dancing, I looked around and noticed that everyone's dancing ability was pretty equal. Don't put too much pressure on yourself. If you practice, you'll be doing your best.
-An American Girl fan, age 11, Texas

Listen to the dance instructor and try your hardest. Although you might not see it this way, dance class could actually help you to overcome your shyness and make new friends, too. I joined a club a few months ago, and now I'm not nearly as shy as I used to be.
-Catherine, age 13, Florida

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