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March 22, 2014

The key to learning anything and becoming a better dancer!

I think it’s safe to say that most of us want to enjoy dancing. And in my opinion, the best way to increase our enjoyment is to get better at it!

For some of us, enjoying dance more means remembering our steps, for others it means having a better sense of balance and for lots of us, being more fluid and graceful would mean a lot more enjoyment. But how do we get better at these different things? Do you have a plan? Do you know what specific thing you would like to get better at today?

In this article, I’m going to show you the one thing you need to do to improve your dancing and having more fun! It’s a simple idea that you’ve probably heard before, “Repetition”! Or to put it a little differently; If you want to have more fun dancing, you need to start doing it repeatedly.

But this is repetition with a difference, not just mindless repetition (where you wish you were somewhere else whilst doing 1000 repetitions of x) but repetition where you’ll aim to improve what you’re doing EVERY TIME you make a repeat. Not the rote repetition we were used to in school (for memorising facts) but the kind of repetition that’ll enable you to put your foot exactly where you want it, when you want it, or move your arm just the way you’d like it to move. Be warned though, this might be a simple idea we’re going to work with but it isn’t the easy option! It’s not for the lazy or those looking for a quick fix and I’m afraid there’s no magic pill but if you’re willing to put a little work in, keep reading!

Repetition is great for helping us gain familiarity, for memorisation and body conditioning, but today we’re going to look at repetition as an opportunity to raise your standard and get better at what you do (and this is where your mind will really go to work).

 

How to use repetition.

 

Here we go;

  1. Choose one thing that you want to improve. (Is it balance? Perhaps it’s fluidity? Or something more specific?)
  2. Choose a simple dance movement or motif to do.
    1. I’ve provided a video below of me doing a simple plié and relevé  (sorry about the boomy sounding room!). Choose a simple move you’d like to do or follow my lead.
  3. Visualise. Do you remember this lesson on visualisation? Make sure you have a clear idea in your mind of what you’re going to do. If you’re using my video, watch it a few times first.
  4. Now do the movement once.
  5. When you’ve completed the movement, ask yourself these questions;
    1. How did I do?
    2. What went well?
    3. What would I do differently next time?
  6. Now decide what you’re going to do differently.
  7. Do the movement once.
  8. Now repeat steps 5-7.

It’s that simple, but you need to go through the process many, many times.  Ask yourself the question “What would I do differently next time?” EVERY TIME you intend to make a repetition! And if you’ve got to the point where you don’t know what you would do differently next time, make sure you turn up to class for more input!

Tell me below how you get on. What did you struggle with? What did you like? Have you noticed any improvement? What did you find helpful?
Is there something that you’ve been able to improve using this idea?

 

4 Comments on “The key to learning anything and becoming a better dancer!

Tanis Hinchcliffe
March 25, 2014 at 20:34

Thank you Simona for doing this page and video. I think it is a great start. I like the fact that you have started with something very simple, but basic to so many movements. And it is not as easy as we might think. Because it is simple, the plié and rise allow time to think and feel how the body is moving, and where the weight is.
I like the pink shoes, and although you might not want to wear trainers in every video, the pink is easy to see!

Reply
Simona
March 28, 2014 at 22:34

Thank you Tanis. Yes, simple but not necessarily easy! But of course, the more we do it the easier it will become. Glad you liked the shoes! 🙂

Reply
Robin
March 28, 2014 at 12:02

This is brilliant, Simona! A clear video which breaks down a core contemporary dance skill is so useful for elders returning or new to dance! More please – a progressive series perhaps!?

Elder dancers keen to progress on a solid foundation with attention to detail will find this really useful. This exercise can be practiced safely at home with minimum warm-up even in a small space. It’s fabulous for balance and movement to counts. The video can be reviewed often to make sure all the details are being practiced correctly. Maybe this video could be followed up with a second which extends the exercise from parallel to first and second positions. Videos like this will be useful during breaks in classes, holidays or anytime people want to give just a few minutes to dance practice.

Reply
Simona
March 28, 2014 at 22:36

Thank you Robin, really helpful to hear these suggestions and this is helpful. Yes, more to follow so watch this space…

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