Working hard in class is always important to work on your dancing, but practicing outside of the studio is where some of the magic really happens! Dance classes are only 1 hour long, and while you learn new moves, a new combo and corrections from your teacher you are left with little time to process and grow as a dancer. So what do you do? Practice outside of class.
While studio work is of course important for your skills, you will learn at a much slower pace than if you dedicate some time at home applying these corrections and going over new moves. Think of how fast you would improve if you mastered each move outside of the studio!! So how do you get started?? Here are 10 tips on how to:
1. Practice makes perfect
Practicing is literally the key to it all. Take time to go over exercises, moves, and then whole routines. Make sure to apply the corrections that the teacher gave you or the whole class. Practice often and you will see how much you improved!
Now this might sound weird, but like dance classes, schedule your practice sessions. That way you are consistent with yourself and your dancing. Use this time to unwind from the day you had and focus on something else, it will help with your mental and physical health too!
3. Only when you feel fresh and energized
You don’t want dance to be a discouragement for you. It is supposed to be fun, a form of escapism and some much needed you time. So practice when you feel fresh and energized. Pick a time that you know you will not feel too sluggish to ensure that you will be accomplishing something when practicing.
4. Be motivated
Like the one above, being motivated to do something is half the battle. Try envisioning yourself mastering the moves that you want; then break down each move, one by one, and work your way up. This will get you seeing what you need to work on and get you motivated to work on it.
5. Set dance goals
Whether it is a full routine or a series of steps, setting a goal will get you more inclined to practice and get you there! Make a list of what you would like to work on and how you are going to get there. For example, if you want to learn how to do the splits in one month, work on warming up and stretching every day and slowly yet surely you will get closer to the ground!
6. Record yourself
Now this might feel weird, but recording and watching yourself dance is a great way to see where you want to focus your corrections. (It will also help you remember the routine you were just taught so you don’t forget anything) Also, over time you can re-record yourself dancing and see how much you have improved since last time!!
7. Spotify/ Apple music/ YouTube are your best friends
If you practice to only one song (ex. the song your teacher used for the routine) you will get bored real fast! Create a dance playlist and use this when dancing. This will add flavour to your practice and challenge your creativity to think outside the box. YouTube is also a great place to see videos of moves broken down further if you have no idea what you are doing!
8. Wear comfy clothes and give yourself space
Like any dance class, wear something comfortable when practicing. Whether that is sweats and a T-shirt or with shorts and a sweater be sure to be 100% comfortable. Make sure you also have some room for yourself when dancing. You do not want to risk any injury when moving around in your house, so push all furniture aside so you don’t stub your toe!!
9. Don’t Just dance
Any and ALL forms of exercise helps your mind and body. Exercising through yoga, our creative and dynamic stretching class or even doing other sports will help build muscle and stamina that will definitely transfer to your dancing. Remember that any progress you make (whether through dance or not) will help you stay healthy and active in between classes.
10. Stop when it stops being fun.
I saved the most important one for last and that is to make sure that you are having fun. It is not worth it If you stop enjoying your time when practicing. Dancing should always be fun and forcing yourself past enjoyment can create a negative dance experience. Don’t push yourself just for the purpose of having too. Take breaks when you need it, for however long you need it and make sure you love what you are doing.
Dancing outside of the studio is a great way to not only improve your technique over time but also get you mastering your corrections, improve your creativity and enjoy some time to yourself. If you are interested in starting your dancing journey be sure to do so with us STU Arts Dance, we have some pretty cool beginner classes that you can check out here, and how to get registered here! See ya out there :D
The STU Arts Dance Team.