Arrogance Vs. Confidence & How This Applies to So You Think You Can Dance & YOU

14 Jul

Photo Credit: Richard Finkelstein

I’d be pretty confident if I could do this…


I am thrilled to have been quoted on Blogging So You Think You Can Dance:The Thinking Fans Blog! And I have gotten some feedback there on my recent So You Think You Can Dance post regarding arrogance and humility as it pertains to Danny. Specifically, that lack of humility gives off the impression that you think you are better than everyone else, and that Danny will not be as likable to America i.e. the voters if he is arrogant. I take this to mean that if Danny comes off as overly-confident or “arrogant,” he will be punished by the voting public for displaying this kind of behavior, and that their votes will go to someone else. And sadly, this may be true.

In response to these comments, I’d like to make the distinction between arrogance and confidence. As I’ve written, I don’t find Danny to be arrogant. For example, I don’t think saying that he was surprised to find himself in the bottom 3 was an arrogant statement, I think it was truthful.

Quite honestly, I don’t like arrogance; I am turned off by arrogant people, and am attracted to those who express true humility. However, there is a difference between true humility and playing small. And in our culture, we don’t need anymore role models for or examples of how to minimize our own talents and gifts; I strongly believe that we need more people who are publicly embracing and celebrating their talents and gifts, and sharing them with the world. As Marianne Williamson says: “Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightening about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.”

Confidence is very different from arrogance, and confidence is what I believe Danny possesses, and what he is being challenged on and criticized for radiating. But there is nothing wrong with being proud of and confident in your talents and expressing this boldly. And Danny is better than everyone else. At being Danny. Who happens to be a kickass awe-inspiring dancer. And I am better than everyone else at being me. And you are better than everyone else at being you.

The desire to criticize others for their brilliance and radiance, and to tear them down for being confident, is rooted firmly in a lack mentality that there is not enough greatness to go around – he has something that I will never have, and therefore I have to bring him down to my level in order to feel good or even adequate about myself. You know how, when you go to a bar with a group of friends, and there is that beautiful confident woman in the corner surrounded by a gaggle of adoring men fawning over her every move and showering her with drinks and attention, someone has to say: “What a bitch,” and then someone else responds, “I don’t even think she’s all that pretty anyway, what’s the big deal?” Well, what if she really is that pretty? What if you are too, but you’re just spending all your energy criticizing others instead of radiating out your own gorgeousness?

And when you magnify this tendency in our society to tear others down when they are talented, confident, and successful, it gets at one of the reasons why it can be so scary to be successful. As you go for your glory more and more, people want to bring you down more and more. The entire tabloid industry is based on this phenomenon: Oh, you think she’s so pretty and talented just because she made one outstanding movie? Well guess what world, she has CELLULITE, and here’s an unflattering, poorly-lit, extreme close-up photo of her to prove it, and on top of that even (as if having cellulite isn’t a disgusting, repulsive enough offense as it is), she’s not even wearing make-up! Yes world, she dared to leave her house cosmetic-free and sporting sweats on a Sunday morning! And you know what, she’s not even that pretty in person when she’s not all airbrushed and shit. I mean, who does she think she is???

Take Tyra Banks – a gorgeous, successful, talented, hard-working, super-intelligent business woman who inspires women and teens worldwide and creates opportunities for countless people to shine their own lights and rock their own special particular talents, and she gets called out in the tabloids for being “overweight.” First of all, big deal, so what if she is?, and secondly, she’s totally not!

The truth is, there is no lack. Some of us were not blessed with more talents than others, one with more specialness than another. The truth is that we all have our equal share, some just take the risk to shine their gifts boldly in the world whereas others shrink away from theirs. But is it any wonder that more people aren’t claiming their glory when the world makes it so difficult and painful to do so, and rips others down and apart for being brilliant, talented, successful, and confident? Doing that just creates a world of more small, fearful people hiding from their own light. And as Marianne Williamson further says: “As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

I, for one, am grateful for Danny Tidwell’s talent, hard work, and confidence (without which he may have given up on dance long ago, and then what would I have to write about in this moment?), because I directly benefit from his gifts. Watching him dance brings me joy, inspires me, and LIGHTS ME UP. And we all have the capacity to affect others in this way.

Being successful at doing something you love and are passionate about is already scary enough as it is, without factoring in others’ efforts to criticize you and tear you down. Furthermore, being successful doing something you love and are passionate about requires confidence. So America, let’s do our part to set the stage for a world where is it safe for all of us to embrace our one-of-a-kind gifts and shine like the stars we are all meant to be, by banishing the phrase “Who does he/she think he/she is?” from our conversations, by stopping punishing people for being confident and successful, and for instead, choosing to celebrate each others’ and our own radiance.

And why not start right now?

Copyright © 2007 by Jennifer Garam. All rights reserved.


7 Responses to “Arrogance Vs. Confidence & How This Applies to So You Think You Can Dance & YOU”

  1. sytycd July 17, 2007 at 1:25 am #

    A very well thought out post and well articulated. However, I don’t agree with you that Danny has confidence and not arrogance. I think the judges have said it all. I’ve seen the same. I should declare that I also don’t agree with your belief that Danny is an “kickass awe-inspiring dancer.” I’d be stupid to say he’s not talented, but I’d watch Hok all day before watching Danny. His creativity and style is far above Danny’s. Not to mention his beautiful humility. Hok could also be confident. Remember when he was kicked off the show last year for not being able to work in the US? He was very confident in his ability to come back this year. However, he still displayed humility with that confidence. Danny doesn’t do that.

    One other factor that I think that you left out in why Danny will Not be America’s favorite dancer is that Danny is not the underdog. I believe it was Mia who said that Danny had a name around dancing circles and he wasn’t living up to it. Despite Danny’s arrogance, I think that this might be the greater nail in Danny’s coffin. America loves underdog stories. Danny’s already made a name for himself and so could never be considered an underdog. Unless you say his arrogance now makes him an underdog;-)

  2. Jennifer Garam July 18, 2007 at 2:41 pm #

    Hi sytycd, thanks for your comment! I do also enjoy Hok’s performances and energy, and I especially loved his solo last week. In terms of Danny, I thought the judges did him a disservice after his and Anya’s dance by spending a disproportionate amount of time dissecting subjective, intangible things like whether or not he danced like he thought he already won the competition, rather than focusing more time on the actual quality of his performance.

    And Danny seems like he might be some kind of reverse non-underdog underdog at this point! I look forward to seeing how it unfolds more tonight…

  3. lulu July 20, 2007 at 5:49 pm #

    amen! I certainly prefer justifiable confidence to false humility, the latter being another unfortunate result of the cultural aspects you discuss. While there may be sociobiological/instinctual reasons to distrust (and therefore shun) any member of the community who is too different in any way, nevertheless as rational beings we ought to be able to override that ‘instinct’ when it’s irrational. p.s. I happen agree that Danny’s dancing is totally awesome and pure joy to watch.

  4. Molly May 30, 2008 at 10:40 pm #

    I couldn’t agree more. Confidence is NOT arrogance and Danny Tidwell is might talented.

    I am following this season too and the dance to watch – Brandon Bryant. His audition is on You Tube and he is the reason I can’t get work done today.

  5. blueyedgrlXo June 20, 2008 at 1:12 pm #

    OMG!!!! that looks impossibe good 4 you! i am a dancer but i will never be able to do this!

  6. rebeccafayefowler June 6, 2011 at 7:48 pm #

    Hi Jen,
    I know I’m about 4 years beyond the date that you wrote this but…I can’t help myself! I have to comment! I randomly clicked on this month and post to read and… loved it! I don’t watch So You Think You Can Dance and have no idea of whom you are speaking, but your points on confidence and not tearing each other down and shining our light so others can shine theirs- I love it and am inspired by this. Who is this Marrianne Williamson who’ve you’ve quoted a couple of times?


  1. So You Think You Can Dance Season 4 Makes Me SO Happy!!! « One Writeous Chick - June 13, 2008

    […] was one of my favorite blog topics (see:  So…You Think You Can Dance?  Why Not SHINE? and Arrogance Vs. Confidence & How This Relates to So You Think You Can Dance & YOU)  Sooooo…as the countdown to Season 4 began, my excitement intensified daily.  I […]

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