With the help of our blogs how to become a better dancer and how to set dance goals, you have the skill of deliberate practice under your belt and outlined goals: now take the opportunity to develop a plan for practice. These helpful tips can help improve your practice whether you are alone or with a partner!
What Happens in our Brains When We Practice?
When we move our bodies, nerve cells in our brain communicate with the spinal cord to send information to our muscles. We know muscles don’t have “memory”, however, repeated practice increases the quality of communication between them and our brain. This means that the more times we practice a dance movement, like pointing our feet at the end of a jive kick, the brain and muscles work together faster, leaving us less to think about when we are dancing our jive full speed.
Getting the Most out of Your Practice Time
Determine What Kind of Learner You Are
If you’re a writer, maybe this means making a list of what you want to accomplish based on the goals you have set for yourself. If you're a visual learner, you can map your practice out. If you’re an auditory learner, you could create a voice memo on your phone.
While our phones can be an excellent tool for learning, they can become a distracting aspect of practice when their use is not predetermined. It can be helpful to put your phone on do not disturb or airplane mode, or set a goal of only using your phone for referencing videos in the Dance Vision Library and playing music.
Talk to Your Instructor
Your instructor can assist you in goal-setting more specifically based on your outcome and process goals. Perhaps you you plan to spend 20 minutes on your jive kicks in order to attempt to dance your jive to full tempo by the end of the month, but don’t know how to break this down further. Your instructor is there to help you, and can support you in organizing the exact drills or exercises.
It is helpful to our brains to create a consistent practice routine. Many dancers practice around the same time every day and always start with the same warm up and cool down. Some partnerships have rituals within their practice that allow them to stay in sync with each other and find consistency within their daily practice routines. Find what consistencies work for you and implement them as daily habits.
Practice Even When You Don’t Feel “Inspired”
Practice that is less inspired is still better than no practice at all. Not to mention, this experience will teach you grit, and along the way you may find the spark that you were searching for at the beginning. Encourage yourself by having your dance bag packed and ready to go at night, so that you are more likely to head to the studio the next day.
Practice What You’re Good at and What Challenges You
Only practicing what you would like to improve at can be discouraging. Spending time during practice focusing on strengths provides you more fuel to work on things that are difficult, not to mention, it makes you better at the things we are already good at—who doesn’t want that?
We hope that having a clear understanding of the importance of practice, as well as these practice tips, support you in your dancing. Your brain and your body will thank you as you improve your practice regimen—and the possibilities of what you will accomplish will become truly limitless.