Getting the Most Out of Your Dance Instruction: How Often Should I Practice?

So you’ve taken the plunge and are finally taking some dance lessons – but how do you make the most of them?

Argentine Tango Dancers

Dancers Practicing

Practice is a must.

Why spend money on group Tango, Salsa or Swing Dance lessons if you don’t make the time to practice what you are learning?

Dancing is body memory.

Did you notice that your brain understands exactly what your instructor wants from you but your body sometimes refuses to cooperate? That’s because our bodies move out of habit – and the new steps you are learning are not yet habit.

The only way to get comfortable with dance is to do it, over and over and over!  Repetition is the key to becoming a good dancer.

Of course, there are practice habits – and there are good practice habits that will get you to the goal you want.

Good Practice Habits:
  1. Take notes IMMEDIATELY after dancing class.  Making your brain translate what you’ve just learned into words on paper will help you learn and retain the information so you can practice what you’ve learned
  2. Take 10-15 minutes a day to review and walk (or dance) through what you’ve learned.  Use your notes to help you.  You will remember the steps, sequences and patterns, more quickly, with more accuracy and retain everything for longer if you schedule short regular practice intervals.
  3. Write down any questions or issues that come up and bring them back to you private lesson or class with you.  If you are having the problem, others probably are, too.  The instructor is there to help!

Often people get busy with their lives and don’t make the time until the night before their next class.  Then they try to fit in an hour of practice.  That invariably turns into an hour of frustration and ‘trying’ to remember, and often culminates in an argument.

Do yourself, and your partner a favor.  Practice in short bursts with more frequency!  You’ll enjoy your lessons, dancing and your partner a whole lot more!

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