DANCE PRACTICE
How to Practice Dance Comfortably

kurt lichtmann 607.266.0282 kurt@ithacadance.com

1. Same evening after class - It is very important to REMEMBER what you have just been taught! Very soon after the class, at home (or even immediately after class in the parking lot!) spend 2 minutes (that is all you need!) going over as much as you remember, even just once. If you do not have the correct footwork, or never understood the correct footwork, it doesn't matter: just go over the moves, and any technique ideas, anything you remember. Verbalize any catch phrases aloud. Personally, writing notes in dance class has never helped me. It's in the doing.

2. The next day - spend 2-5 minutes going over it again. If you don't remember something, just go over what you do remember, even if half-baked, even without music, or even without rhythm. Use an imaginary partner if necessary. THEN, spend 3 minutes (one entire song) practicing basic footwork patterns, moving this way and that, and turning around the room SOLO (without a partner).

If you have time to do a little bit of real dancing with a partner, that is certainly good. It is very worthwhile to go over moves separate from the real footwork (use our famous "microsteps" approach). And don't beat it into the ground - you get much more growth practicing in 3 minute segments every other day than in practicing 1-2 hours once a week! Tunes are listed on the website, and on handouts we give in class.

3. Three days after class - ditto.

4. Five days after class - ditto.

5. Right before class - at home, or even when you are waiting for class to begin, go over it again.
     If there is music playing before class starts, how about dancing?

6. Argue with your partner? Not! Be nice. Take responsibility. Say, "What could I be doing that is making this not work?" Of course, if you discover something your partner is messing up that they don't know, then point it out - kindly, nicely! "You appear to be doing this instead of that..." Don't beat on your partner verbally! And point out good things your partner is doing: "That was good!"

7. Rhythm - a surprising number of people who enjoy dance do not really dnace to the rhythm of the music, even after many years of dance classes! The follower simply follows the leader's movement, even if it has nothing to do with the rhythm of the music - it works. So, if you cannot find the beginning of the phrase, or cannot find the beat, or are not moving to the rhythm of the music, please don't feel that it is hopeless! If you like the music, that is the main thing. If dancing to music as a kind of background energy applies to you - it's OK! Myself, I am quite fond of solid rhythm, and like to feel at one with the music, but we still love you. Comfortable leading and following technique is still important.

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