Many of you have decided to take lessons to learn to dance. For that I applaud you ! But just like anything, lessons are just that first step in your progress. Practicing what you have learned is the only way to truly develope your dancing. But what to practice? When to practice? And where to practice? Are just some of the questions that will arise. Well let me help to answer a few of those questions. Based on my expierence, the first thing to practice are your BASE components. Patterns are awesome, but its the componets found within the patterns that are most important. Chasse, or triple steps. Rock steps, or BREAKS. Even the basic box steps, etc, are the areas that should garner the most attention. And these componets do not need a partner, or space to practice. Getting these componets into your muscle memory will allow you to keep your mind free to concentrate on your patterns, and your ability to manuever around the dance floor. This leads to the next question, WHERE ! Well at Steel City Ballroom, active students are more than welcome to come in and practice at the studio. Your living room is fine, but a studio is better :) Group lessons that are below your level of dancing are also a fantastic way to practice. Not only will you already know the material being taught, but you will be able to develope your lead/follow by dancing with students under your level. And the bonus is you'll be helping them to get better at the same time ! Pretty cool to give back a little. But the best place to practice is at a dance ! Yes out in the real dance world ! That was the goal anyway, so go out and do it. Its perfectly fine to go out and dance a few patterns to a dance. You will get used to the crowded floors, and different levels that share the dancefloor that much quicker. And everytime you dance, you will add more material. But you will be out having fun with your dancing ! Enjoy what it is you can do comfortably, don't compare yourself to others. You have no idea how long those people have been dancing, whatever you do now is great, tomarrow you'll be better ! And so on and so on............ Everyday, WE get better at dancing! So this leaves when to practice. Well first I should say, not until you totally understand what it is you are practcing. No need to develope a bad habit by practicing something incorrectly. If you have a question, STOP !!!! Ask your instructor to make sure you are correct, Then practice away. I believe that practice should be fun, and for componets a few minutes a day is a great start. As for patterns, and timing, a few songs at a time is the way to go. But at a party, dance as much as you can. I hope this helps you, I know practice helps me :)
Hello to all the Dancers in the Pittsburgh Area, I would like to take this opportunity to talk about something that has become a bad word......... THE BASICS ! The term basic just brings out the bad thoughts that we are regressing, when in fact its through our basics that we can truly progress. The basic patterns that we learn are the fundamentals, or components to all of our advanced patterns. But more important, they are the very best patterns to use when you are working on technique. I am fortunate that I'm an instructor, because I'm always working with new students. So I do my basics hundreds of times a day. It gives me the daily opportunity to hone my technical skills, like rise and fall, shaping, Cuban motion, footwork, etc. When working on these intricate technical items, the more basic the patterns are, the better. The basic BOX step is probably the best tool there is to develop proper technique. The pattern is so ingrained in our muscle memory that it allows us to focus on the more important elements to our dancing. The advanced patterns are usually so intricate that it takes all of our focus to just do the pattern on time, so that leaves no time for the technique to be executed. Take a moment everyday to just dance your basics with the higher level of technique that you've been working on. You will quickly see that those basics, are now advanced patterns. Its always how you execute your patterns that determines your dance level, not where you patterns rank. I hope this helps.