Alexander Fufaev
My name is Alexander FufaeV and here I write about:

Summer 2014: The Discovery of Dancing and My First Club Visits

August, 2014. After the graduation trip, it was finally time for the graduation certificates. On the last day of school, I arrived in a sharp black suit, which I had received as a gift from Dima back then. If I hadn't owned this suit, I would probably have appeared similar to Niels at the certificate ceremony. He wore shorts and a T-shirt to every season and every other event. Even to the certificate ceremony.

For a brief moment, I stood with Mom and my sisters in the school foyer, exchanging thoughts about my graduation grades. At that moment, Niels approached with a smile, his hands buried in his pockets.

"Hey Alex! What's your GPA?"

"Better not ask. Three point three!" I confessed with a grin. "The main thing is, I can study Physics now."

With a surprising response, Niels stepped closer.

"I'm going to study Physics too."

While Niels excelled in English and did moderately well in Mathematics, Physics was far from his strong suit.

"What? Really? How did you come to that decision?" I asked curiously.

"I'm not exactly sure myself. Maybe your ambition in Physics class inspired me," he replied with a grin.

"Are you planning to study in Hannover too?" I continued inquisitively.

"Yes, we'll definitely see each other again!"

"Certainly! We'll probably be in the same lectures."

"Take care, Alex."

"Ciao, Niels," I bid him farewell and headed home with my family.

With the successful completion of high school, I was now ready to pursue my dream of studying Physics at Leibniz University. But before my university adventure began, I had a pressing desire to overcome my fear that had gripped me tightly at the Prague nightclub, strongly inhibiting me from dancing.

I stood briefly with Mom and my sisters in the school foyer, discussing my final grades.

Niels, hands in his pockets, approached me with a smile.

"Hey Alex! What's your GPA?"

"Better not ask. Three point three! The main thing is I can study Physics now," I replied, grinning.

"I'm going to study Physics too," Niels surprised me with his response.

While Niels excelled in English and was moderate in Mathematics, he was anything but good in Physics.

"What? Really? How did you come to such a decision?"

"I'm not sure myself. Maybe your ambition in Physics class rubbed off on me," he answered, grinning.

"Are you planning to study in Hannover too?" I asked him curiously.

"Yes, we'll surely meet again!"

"Certainly! We'll be sitting in the same lectures."

"Take care, Alex."

"Ciao, Niels," I bid farewell to Niels and went home with my family.

With the completion of high school, I was now able to pursue my dream of studying Physics at Leibniz University in Hannover. But before diving into university life, I was determined to overcome my shyness, that discomfort I had felt at the Prague disco.

Niels is studying Physics with me

August, 2014. Despite really liking the music and my body itching to move, I didn't dare to dance while sober. I remembered André's lessons, which helped me overcome my fear of approaching women. Essentially, it was the same fear, the same discomfort. To conquer it, I just had to go to discos more often and dance. At first, it's embarrassing and uncomfortable, but eventually that feeling fades away.

So, one evening, I hopped on the train and headed to a Russian nightclub called Infinity Club. To gain more confidence, I struck up a conversation with a woman on the way to the club. She was also going to party, but in a different club.

I arrived at 10:50 PM, even though the bouncer told me in Russian that the club wouldn't open until eleven. Right on time at eleven, he let me in as the first guest. As I sat at the bar and ordered a cocktail, as expected, that uncomfortable feeling crept in. But alongside that feeling, I also felt another discomfort. In Prague, I had been out with Daniel and Niklas, but this time, I was completely alone. I was afraid that the incoming guests would think of me: "Look, he has no friends! He's all alone here. Sitting there in the corner, too scared to have fun."

The first time, I didn't really dare to step onto the dance floor. I just stood at the edge and nodded my head a bit to the music. But the following weekends were more successful. Slowly but surely, I not only overcame the discomfort of going to clubs alone but also of dancing. After each nightclub visit, I dared more and more until I simply moved my body as I would if I were alone in a room with good music.

I especially liked a club right by the train station, called Baggi by the locals. The people there were a bit snobbish, but in my opinion, they were less aggressive and not as drunk. The good thing about this club was that it had a large dance floor.

I always arrived very early at the club, so early that hardly anyone was there. When I entered Baggi, I usually sat briefly on the stairs, my gaze fixed on the completely empty dance floor, waiting for a good song and meanwhile observing the colorful, dancing lights on the floor. Some people came in, sat on the sofas, talked about something, or also looked at the dance floor. I saw in their faces exactly that feeling I always had - the urge to dance, but not being able to.

I waited for the perfect song to come on, like Everybody by the Backstreet Boys, The Next Episode, Thrift Shop, or A Little Party Never Killed Nobody. As soon as I heard the beginning of a great song, I couldn't sit still anymore. The loud beats traveled through my whole body, urging me to jump onto the dance floor and indulge my burning desire to dance uninhibitedly.

It wasn't about dancing professionally so that others found it beautiful, but about having fun, and that was best achieved when I moved my body the way it wanted to move.

A short while later, people who were likely friends started copying my moves. Then even more people jumped onto the dance floor and joined us. Even the guests standing at the bars began to mimic me, so that almost the entire club was suddenly grooving from one minute to the next.

Several songs later, my T-shirt was soaked, and my legs could barely hold me up, although my mind still wanted to dance as long as my favorite songs played. Fortunately, eventually a Latino song came on that I didn't like at all. So, it was time to leave the dance floor and get myself a cold glass of water. While others ordered alcoholic drinks at the bar, all I wanted was cold water because I was as sweaty and thirsty as after a strenuous workout. I didn't even need a single sip of alcohol to feel so great.

"With carbonation, please," I said to the bartender.

"It's on the house," he replied, sliding a glass of mineral water to me.

Then I went to the edge of the dance floor and watched the other guests. I saw many grinning faces still staring at me. In that moment, I didn't try to do anything forcibly to appear normal. I simply let time pass and observed the dancing crowd, without worrying about how others might interpret my behavior.

As I stood there, some girls started dancing around me. Some came so close and rubbed their butts against me. Yet, I remained motionless and calmly sipped my mineral water. After resting and the dance floor being overcrowded, I found a spot in front of a less crowded bar to have space for my moves. This way, I stood out, making it impossible to dance through a song without being approached and evaluated by someone.

"You're the coolest guy I've ever seen!" someone shouted as they passed by. There were comments from others repeatedly. Sometimes I was admired, sometimes accused of taking drugs.

"Do you want a drug like mine?" I replied, handing the guy an Airwaves gum from my pocket. Or I responded ironically but friendly, "That's the viral Universal Thinker dance, don't you know it?" and spontaneously showed some made-up movements convincingly.

The courage to face my own fears turned me into a person capable of changing the world and being a role model for others in those nights.

Thus, I overcame my fears through dancing every weekend during the summer holidays until one day I had completely defeated them.

On weekdays, when my favorite clubs were closed, I dealt with my shortsightedness and bought a less conspicuous pair of glasses with rectangular lenses. I searched for a studio apartment or a shared flat in Hannover to avoid the somewhat cumbersome fifty-minute trips to the university. I applied for at least fifty apartments - but either received no response or a standardized rejection text.

Even my application to the student dormitory never received a response. However, this was not surprising: Many landlords demanded a rental guarantee and a SCHUFA credit report. My mother didn't earn much as a nursing assistant and had countless consumer debts. My applied for BAföG was the only security I could provide, but apparently, that wasn't enough for the landlords.

I was disappointed. On the other hand, my mother was happy that I didn't get an apartment. She really wanted me to stay with her. But as it would later turn out, that was probably the most crucial failure that led me to financial freedom...

Future Learnings from Dancing in Clubs:
  • I should step out of my comfort zone and regularly overcome my fears. Only in this way will I be able to continue developing personally and prevent the fears from growing even bigger.
  • Role models are courageous people. They lead the way to show the fearful that they don't need to be afraid.
  • I should view failures as switches redirecting me to a different life path, which - as it turned out in my case - was good.