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Articles of Interest

Articles of Interest » Better Learning and Better Dancing

Better Learning and Better Dancing

Dan Calloway (Daniel Calloway has been performing, competing professionally, coaching and adjudicating for over thirty years)

Better Learning and

Better Dancing

A new teacher learns almost immediately that dance students must not only be taught how to dance but also the best ways to learn. Ideal learning is fun, reasonably consistent and efficient, and especially productive. What are you missing in your approach to your dancing which could make a big difference in your fun and progress? Simple journaling makes a big difference in most students' progress, even for those who are not the note-taking type. Taking a moment after each lesson and after particularly significant practices to note the date and to name the relevant figures or a key technique greatly limits the number of times the same lesson has to be bought. Reading the progress journal shows how many a times a particular point has been repeated. This discovery normally goes a long way toward progressing past the problem.

The obvious rule of discipline dramatically improves a student's rate of learning. Learning anything without discipline is like sailing without a sail. Discipline could simply mean creating a realistic plan for the number and length of practice sessions per week, individually, with a partner, and in a group/party setting, and maintaining this plan with a reasonably high degree of consistency. Additionally, pre-estimating the approximate length of time devoted to a particular dance or practicing a technique in your practice also imposes a helpful overall structure to this critically valuable time.

Students also need to recognize the destructiveness of arguing. Many dancers do not realize the extent to which they are arguing with their partner or teacher and the huge waste of time which results. Give the proper respect to your team and, by all means, win the award as the person who partners best in attitude and productivity, not just the physical dancing.

Developing a good partnering attitude as a way of thinking can make everything more fun because the achievement of a conspicuously improved end product is so rewarding. These are all vital aspects which many of the best dancers have used to minimize frustration or stagnation from learning which most students experience needlessly. The suggestions made here are not nearly as important as the vast number of ideas not mentioned.

This article is intended primarily to stimulate ideas and help accelerate learning. Progress in learning is often unpredictable, positively and negatively. If you are reading this magazine you are almost certainly already addicted to the rewards and fun of partner dancing. Be creative beyond the techniques suggested in this article and see how to have even more fun and achieve even more of the rewards that come from improving your dancing