How to get the most value out of your dance lesson?
Dancing is a skill that everyone has the ability to acquire. Every one of us however, has a different goal and a different vision for their dancing. Some want to simply master the basics to feel comfortable in a social setting, while others want to take it to the highest level and compete. But one thing that we all have in common, regardless of what our goals may be, we want to feel as much progress as we possibly can during each lesson.
Here are some suggestions that will help you get the most out of your lessons.
Set time aside to practice either at home, at your Arthur Murray studio, or even at the gym. Anywhere with a little empty space will do! You’d be surprised how 20 extra minutes of practice can improve your dancing and knowledge of patterns/techniques you are learning. Ask your teacher to give you homework and specific things you can practice on your own.
- Take Notes:
As you are practicing, take notes of any unclear concepts or anything you are having difficulties with. Memory is a tricky thing and you may forget some concepts by the time you have your next lesson. We highly suggest you bring a notebook or an iPad to take notes.
- Have a small snack:
Make sure you are well-energized for your lesson. Eating too much or too little before dancing is not good. As you may know, dancing is a sport, and very physical. You can’t drive your car without fuel, and the same goes for your body.
- Warm Up:
Arrive 15 minutes before your lesson to warm-up. Get your body moving with a couple of basics, Cuban motion exercises, rise and fall exercises etc. It is very important to ease oneself into any physical activity in order to prevent injury and perform to the best of your ability. Therefore arrive early and warm up, as opposed to using some of your lesson time getting your body warm.
- Take Back to Back lessons:
By taking two lessons, one after the other, one will learn and accomplish twice as much as they normally would. Taking 2 lessons on different days doesn’t allow the concepts to be as be fresh in your body and mind. Also most students feel that one lesson isn’t enough to get them “warmed up”. Two lessons will allow you to focus on information and practice it immediately after obtaining it.
- Attend Groups & Practice sessions:
This one is extremely important!! If you are just getting started with your dancing, groups will introduce you to new patterns so you can expand your repertoire. Practice sessions will teach you how to maneuver, listen to different types of music, and allow you to try out all the moves you have learned on your personal lesson. Although practice alone is great for working on personal dancing, it doesn’t account for traffic on the dance floor.
If you are more advanced, I recommend having a weekly practice goal.
For example, this week it might be Cuban motion so… whenever you are in a rhythm group class focus on incorporating your Cuban motion in all the patterns you are doing.
- Individual Full Potential lessons (For Couples):
Dancing is a great hobby especially for couples. Now they say opposites attract and if that is true, that can be a little challenging if those 2 opposites are acquiring a new skill together. Taking individual lessons is key to developing your own dancing to make dancing with your partner comfortable and enjoyable. You will get individual attention on areas you need to improve and some personalized styling to help decorate the dance. It also helps speed up the process of learning because you receive 100% of the attention rather than 50% of the focus.
- Coaching lessons:
A coaching lesson is when you have an extra instructor on the lesson. Imagine Tiger Woods personally giving you a lesson at the driving range! Your teacher is typically dancing with you and they might miss a detail or two that might be crucial to your dancing. It can be a certain footwork that you are doing or shaping or styling that are not noticeable to the instructor you are dancing with. When a coach comes in and is watching from the outside, they will be able to pick out those details and correct them. Coaches also are great at helping that creativity burst from you through routines or performances you may normally not feel you can do.
- Setting SMART GOALS:
Everyone works harder with a deadline at hand and Arthur Murray definitely knows that. Just like in school, everyone studies harder if they know there is a test coming up. If you’ve been a student of ours for a while you might have noticed that we have a lot of events throughout the year. One of the many reasons we have those events is to give our students a time and place to measure their progress. If you knew that you had to perform a spotlight at our party this Friday or dance at a Showcase or even a Medal Ball wouldn’t you push yourself more than usual to look your best?
I know I would. So make sure to set SMART Goals with your instructor.
I know there are more than just these 9 suggestions to get the most out of your personal lessons. My recommendation is that you focus on what makes you successful in your learning, and in your investments in your dancing futures!
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