No matter that you’re taking dance lessons or that you’re going frequently on social dance venues, you still see other dancers with less miles on the dance floor, dancing gracefully and skillfully- why?
Obviously, part of their success is due to natural talent but surely you’ve heard by teachers, that talent alone isn’t enough (as with anything else) and yes everyone can dance regardless of their dancing background or age, as long as they want it hard enough!
Ok! The next thought is that it also requires practice.
What kind of Practice and where? How will one spend these hours of practice? In lessons or on the dance floor at parties? Is there a balance between those two? Yes, surely there is a balanced proportion but that’s not the point. Because even if we all know we should practice and it sounds rational and easy, at the end of the day, we’re not actually practicing; at least not consistently and regularly.
Yes – I know, “if you’re talented” and gifted with “natural grace” or “accustomed to your body”… all those elementary notions. But before we blame DNA or turn to psychoanalysis, let’s make it more simple and easy.
STEP ONE: Conscious practicing.
All it takes is focus on what we’re practicing each time- intentionally slow down the exercise we’re performing and repeat many times, to the point where our body adopts the movement as natural and spontaneous.
And now time for objections and questions before the Court:
- I have no dance partner to practice. Consequently I don’t practice, blaming my bad luck!!!
Thou not despair! You can practice ALONE. Most of the times a partner might distract out attention from our personal training and concentration. Either because one needs more time to absorb a move, or because one feels guilty of their partner’s discomfort with the delay. On the other hand, rhythm, posture, basic moves and even certain steps, demand practice in solidarity.
Focus- the absolute trick – can happen only when you practice alone.
- But for how long?
For too long… the longer you practice a dance move or dance steps, the longer it will stay with you and your body will adopt it, it will become natural and spontaneous. Oops… someone might say that you are graceful! 😉
Inspecting exercises: little exercises (5’ max) a day, at a specific part of a certain move for a short time… come on, you can admit it: you’re exercising your shoulder blades a little while you’re standing in front of the photocopy machine at the office, right? and you’re practicing double spin while waiting for the toaster to pop up your toasts? Remember Richard Gere’s feet dancing secretly below his desk in “Shall we dance?” movie?
It’s very effective! It takes only 2’ a day and it’s far more better than the-impossible-to-find one hour within your weekdays.
Why? If you work long enough with something specific, soon you’ll lose focus. And then mistakes are made. But if you make the same exercise for 2’ fully concentrated, after a few hours or even a day’s pause, you’ll return to it and you’ll find your body performing it naturally.
STEP TWO: Thoughtless social dance. You’re at a party and time calls for execution, right? You’re happy with your improvement and the results of practicing but there’s no reason to loose all the fun social dancing has to offer in favor of technique. By definition social dancing is entertaining and concentration on technique might deprive you from the joy of dancing with a partner.
Most likely, you’ll not learn something in a party that you haven’t learned already by practicing alone.
While at a social dance venue, focus on your partner, the music and your fiends.
Don’t think about technique at parties. By putting your entertainment in jeopardy, you risk loosing your passion about dancing and your dance partner will notice. Be content with what you’ve achieved thus far by practicing and redirect your enthusiasm to your partner. Others don’t expect you to be perfect, they just want your attention and excitement.
2+1 ways towards success
- Practice alone shortly but frequently. Keep an everyday touch with dancing: movement becomes more natural and spontaneous while concentration and reflex skills are improved.
- While in a party, don’t think. Pay attention to your dance partner, listen to the music, have fun with your friends and forget about technique.
- Stay on the dance floor 😉