Dancing Tip of the Week: Practice Makes Perfect
We’ve all heard the saying, “Practice makes perfect!” And when it comes to dancing, that’s absolutely correct! Many people talk about the concept of “muscle memory” when it comes to developing dancing skills. It’s the idea that through practice, the muscles will move automatically without having a lot of concentrated thought. An example of this is walking: a young toddler requires a lot of deliberate effort at first in order to step one foot in front of the other, but eventually gets to the point where she/he can walk without thinking about it. And we can do this with any physical skill we study so that way we can automatically ride that bike, swing a golf club, etc. There isn’t yet consensus about scientists about how exactly muscle memory works, but there is enough evidence that shows that it can occur.
In ballroom and partner dancing, there is always a great desire among students to get to that “automatic” dancing place. And it makes sense! Instead of worrying about the movements, it’s much more fun to be in the moment with your partner and enjoy each other’s company, rather than counting the beat or over-concentrating on dance steps. That’s why in dance classes, we spend time with repetition so that students feel like the dance steps come automatically. However, students who practice outside of their dance classes, even just for a few minutes each week, will feel their muscle memory improve greatly! There really isn’t such a thing as too much practice in dancing. However, we know that most of our clients are very busy, so even just 5 or 10 minutes of practicing each week (just a few minutes is really all you need!) will really help your dancing feel more fluid, comfortable, and automatic.
Note: keep in mind that you need to be performing your dance moves correctly for practicing to be effective. If you are unsure of your dance moves, it would be better to hold off on practicing and ask your dance instructor about it at your next class.
So, move that coffee table in your living room, turn on your favorite dance song and get practicing!