I would like to make this a very short article. We all know the problem, you go to class, you learn a pattern or a footwork and the minute you leave the class it is out of your head again. That is most of the time pretty annoying, isn´t it? But I have some good news, there is a good way in keeping things in your head. But first the bad news:
No teacher can do it for you, even if they tell you and taking more classes does not make you automatically a better dancer!Sarah Balzat
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The truth about memorizing
Having a rich repertoire, becoming familiar with new bodymoves and new rhythmic patterns is fun but mastering them is also work. We all love the easy way but unfortunately dance is a journey that no one can do for you. There are a few simple tools that can help you to get better and help you to keep the patterns you have learned in class. It does not cost you a lot of money (Actually it saves you money) it is not a secret and it does only require one thing: TIME! The two things you can do to become better is:
Find a good class that is focusing on the techniques / skills that you wanna learn and take less classes!
Yeah, I am a teacher and for economical reasons I should tell you to take as much classes as possible but the truth is, that is not always right. More important is that the classes you take are intensive. They need to meet your personal goals for learning and they need to challenge you. The teacher should be able to focus on your needs and unless you are very advanced or just want to have fun, intensive classes are way better for learning than open classes. Talk to your teacher about your needs, to find out if this is the right class for you. Don´t forget the class is for you and your learning process.
Take less classes and spend more time on the most important thing: REPETITION!
I know I am repeating myself. Here is the point. Take one class less a week and take the same time at home with or without your partner to repeat the stuff you have learned in class. Find a partner or do it by yourself it is not important. The only thing that is important is that you REPEAT as much as you can, as often as you can.
You really wanna get better? Then you need to repeat even more, integrate this routine of REPETITION into your daily life. Take 5 Minutes per day to go through the things you wanna keep in your repertoire.
Sometimes we don´t have time between work, friends and the normal life that is going on around us. Some things we can always do: Listen to music. Not only the body can repeat, your mind is stronger than you think, even visualizing a pattern will help you to make it part of your body. Right before you go to sleep it is very effective to visualize the things you want to remember. Small steps make a difference. As long as you do it you will see some improvement.
A concious focus is key in the tool of repetition
Like mentioned before: repetition is the mother of all learning. But, yes there is a small detail that is very important. Repeating without consciousness won´t bring your learning process anywhere. Actually it can also teach you habits that won´t benefit your learning process at all and manifest unbeneficial habits in your body that make you drift away from improvement. Every unconscious repetition makes you travel two steps back from your goal. But, and yes, there is another positive BUT, if you repeat with a conscious focus you can lear EVERYTHING that you wanna learn.
Class is the place where you get the knowledge what detail is important for your improvement. Ask your teacher what would be the most important thing to work on and then, based on your teachers advise, repeat everything with a strong focus on HOW you do it.
Then there will be no limits in your improvement!
I wanna leave you with a very inspiring quote about Michael Jackson and a little video:
“He’s the best male dancer that’s ever appeared on music videos, ever in the history of music video and probably ever will be. Michael would work a move 20 to 100 times non stop, repeatedly, repeatedly until it was so in his body that he never had to think about it and consequently when it came out it always looked like it just flowed and his energy when he moves – it’s sort of like when you’re in the room with him and he moves you get — look, I have goosebumps right now just talking about this you know um, it’s something that you don’t quite know until you experience it.” – Vincent Paterson
“He’s the best male dancer that’s ever appeared on music videos, ever in the history of music video and probably ever will be. Michael would work a move 20 to 100 times non stop, repeatedly, repeatedly until it was so in his body that he never had to think about it and consequently when it came out it always looked like it just flowed and his energy when he moves – it’s sort of like when you’re in the room with him and he moves you get — look, I have goosebumps right now just talking about this you know um, it’s something that you don’t quite know until you experience it.”Vincent Paterson