You may have heard ye olde phrase "practice makes perfect," but try this on for size: "practice makes permanent". Think about it. You can practice or rehearse something until you are blue in the face, but if you practice incorrectly you may have just set yourself back.
Like your homework, it is important to practice your dancing outside of studio time. Rehearsing on your own helps you internalize and solidify movement, allow you to reach your goals faster, and gain confidence in your knowledge and abilities.
Here are some tips and tricks to help insure you are practicing correctly.
Ask your instructor for specific tasks to do on your own. I guarantee you they will be tickled pink by such a request! Instructors are always working on their lesson plans to help you reach your goals, and just like a four-tiered cake there may be some layers you can take home and work on yourself.
Take notes throughout your lesson, or even better, take a short video of new concepts, techniques, or steps you have just learned so you have a reference once at home. Carrying a small dance notebook is always a good idea, and most of us have a camera on our phones to make video-note taking a breeze!
Set aside specific rehearsal time. Whether you are practicing on your own or with a partner, your life's schedule will demand other items for your daily To-Do List so it is crucial you schedule in specific dance time for yourself and/or your partner to practice.
Steer clear of online videos for learning. Although it may seem like a great idea to get a jump start and learn your next move from your favorite YouTube dancer, it usually leads to disaster. Most videos are difficult to follow and you do not want to unintentionally pick up a bad habit to bring back to your studio.
Bring in your favorite music playlists and dance videos onto your next lesson. Collaborate with your instructor on the best suited songs to dance to at home, and which videos can be used as great guides and inspiration!
Keep in mind, the studio is your safe place to practice. Private and group dance lessons are specifically designed to give you time to rehearse with your instructor's guidance. Never feel pressured by outside factors when it comes to your learning. Everyone is on their own unique dance journey, and it is never too late to start!