We have all heard the saying practice makes perfect. But just “showing up” and walking through your steps will not make you a better dancer. In this post you will learn 5 things that pro dancers think about when practicing so you can follow the same pattern.
First of all, there are two ways of practicing:
a. Full Out which basically means dancing as if you were on a competition floor with great posture, toned muscles in legs and arms, engaged face.
b. Marking it, is about walking through your choreographies with little on no toning in the body, no “intention” in the steps and relaxed feet and arms. It may help you remember your dance routine (steps and timing) but that’s pretty much it.
Out of the two, which one do you use mostly when you are at your dance practice? Be honest with yourself.
Here are the 5 ways of practicing like a pro dancer you can implement immediately:
Dancing in “6th gear”
When you practice with energy and full commitment to the steps, you will achieve and change your dancing a lot more. Your brain and muscles work on full power and you’re awake and concentrated.
Without doubt your partner or teacher will feel it too and they may feed from your energy. It’s important to add that I don’t mean being more physical or mascular with your dancing! At the beginning it may feel out of control, but this is the only way to learn to control your power.
It’s not sweat, it’s sexy glow
When you dance full out, your stamina and fitness levels improve. Whilst you at your dance practice, don’t be afraid to get out of breath and sweaty. There’s no dancer in the world who became great without breaking a sweat. No matter what you practice, keep pushing your body to its limits.
Comfort zone is boring
When human brain and body are sufficiently pushed, they can achieve unbelievable things. So you just need to find a right stimulus to force your body and go that direction.
When you practice full out, you will discover muscles you didn’t know existed and you will learn to control them. If you’re always in the relaxed state, you will never find out what your body is capable of.
Power of muscle memory
It takes about 3-6 weeks for your brain and body to develop a habit. With that in mind, we should be very careful with what and how we practice. Whichever way you move, your brain forms links with the muscles so that the more you do it, the quicker and more precise the reaction will be. Quite fascinating, don’t you think?
How to translate it into dancing?
Well, if you have no toning in your abs, your frame is always relaxed and feet are floppy, your body will know no different at a competition (even though you know it’s wrong).
So when you’re dancing full out, you teach your body to adapt to the movement and make it better, more precise and faster.
Everyday is an audition day
When you practice, you never know who is looking your way. And of course, they are looking at you so you’d better look the part. It’s not good to be remembered for floppy feet, spaghetti arms or hunchback.
If you have a chance to go to a competition, have a look at how some of the World’s best dancers warm up. When they “go through” their choreographies, they already commit to the movement. When you’re at the top, you just can’t afford to look bad at any moment! You, should have exactly the same attitude if you want to be a champion.
Over time, this way of practicing will become your basis and your body will not know any other way to deliver the movements. Be patient and determined. Put your mind and body into it every time.
Next time your teacher asks you to demonstrate something, impress them and start dancing your 100% best every single time for the duration of the lesson.