Get the Most Out of Your Dance Lessons

February 7, 2016 by

Optimize Your Dance Lessons

As a Bella Ballroom dance instructor, I’m thankful for the time I get to work with students every week as they make strides towards their dance ambitions. As adults, our schedules can become so full that it can be challenging to include the activities that we want to do for ourselves. For this, I value every minute of our dance lessons time! While many of our students enjoy their dance lesson time at face value, simply for the love of dance and the joy it brings them, many others also come to work on their personal dance goals or upcoming event or wedding choreography. In order to make the most of your dance lessons, read on for some guidance on how to fully optimize your dance class time:

dance lessons time in Orange CountyPre-Lesson

Arrive hydrated and with enough food in your system to have the energy needed for the duration of your dance class.

Arrive early. Arrive to Bella Ballroom 10 – 15 minutes before your actual dance lesson time. This will give you the time to do the following:

Get into the mindset needed to focus on your dance lessons and leave the rest of the world behind. Be not only physically present, but also mentally present. Think about the lesson time ahead of you and what you want to accomplish.

Put on your dance shoes and store your belongings.

Warm Up. Feel free to use any open dance floor space in the studio to practice your moves and warm up your body for the dancing ahead. 

During the Dance Lesson

If your dance instructor doesn’t already tell you, ask him or her what the goal of the current lesson will be. Get an understanding of what the day’s short-term objectives are and check in on how this dance lessons goals are meeting your larger long-term goals. The beginning of your class is a great time update your instructor with any changes or evolutions in your goals. Also, let your dance teacher know of any advancements or fallbacks you might have had between this lesson and your last lesson. If there is a special request or topic you’d like to work on, tell you teacher before you get started so they can plan your lesson perfectly.  Wedding couples working on their first dance should share any new information they may have learned since their last lesson including the size of their venue’s dance floor, wedding dress or shoe restrictions, music edits, etc.

Communicate with your dance teacher throughout the lesson when you need better understanding of what you’re learning. Ask questions and let your instructor know what you might not understand. Reaffirm your instructor’s feedback by letting them know that you love pointers on what you’re producing and learning.

At the end of class, take just a few minutes to write notes on what you learned that day. Ask your dance instructor to help you as they can help provide details you may have forgotten. Write down any material as well as what techniques you specifically need to work more on. Writing down notes will give you something to take home with you to study later, and the act of writing everything down will help the new material solidly in your brain.

If material is particularly difficult to write out, ask your dance instructor or another Bella Ballroom staff member to take video. Taking video can also help if you want to see what you look like for choreography or a dance technique that you’re working on. Video can also be helpful if you’d like to see where a movement goes within a song or music. Videos will provide the visual/audio connection that writing out notes can’t. 

Between Lessons

PRACTICE! The number one best way to get value out of your dance lessons is to practice between your lessons. When you practice, you can go to your lesson and quickly breeze through a review of the material from your last lesson and move on to new moves or techniques. Great dancing comes with time and repetition. Do yourself the favor or building up your muscle memory to work for you. Even if you’re unable to practice with your dance partner, go through the moves on your own. This will benefit your memory, balance, and independence so that when you’re able to dance with your partner again you’ll be a strong partner.

Study any videos or notes you may have taken at your last dance lesson. Many of my students will type up their hand written notes as soon as they home so that it’s more legible and as a way to revisit what they did in class before they forget. Watching videos will allow you to literally see yourself from a different angle and give you perspective on what you’re doing great at and what you may need to work more on.

After practicing, evaluate where you’re at and decide if there’s anything specific you need to address or work on in your next lesson. Get your dance goals together so you can present them to your instructor when you see them next.

Complete any “homework” your instructor may have assigned you. Maybe you still need to decide on your song for your upcoming Bella Ballroom showcase performance or your first dance. Maybe your instructor suggested that you read a dance blog that he or she thought you could benefit from, or watch dance scene to seek inspiration. Maybe they just asked you to listen to music and work on finding the beat. Whatever the “assignment” might be, your instructor’s advice will undoubtedly benefit you and your dance goals.

Article by Ziva