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How to design a 1-hour solo practice session?

April 3, 2017

Elena Anashina Photography

 

Practicing alone is a very important part of developing as a dancer but sometimes it's just hard. How to keep the solo practice sweet and short, yet productive and exciting?

 

You can do anything you like and repeat it as many times as you like. However, we all know that some may have shorter attention span than others. It's important to keep full focus when training, then your 1 hour practice may be worth more than 5 hours sometimes.

 

 

How to do it?

 

 

1. First of all, choose 1 or maximum 2 dances per session

 

2. Choose 1 subject to focus on during the practice. This could be timing, footwork, arm styling or anything else you have been working on recently with your teacher- just keep it clear and stick with it ("doing everything" is not going to be very productive)

 

3. Pick 2 or 3 sections in your choreography, analyse them and practice them bearing in mind the subject you chose

 

Example 1

Rumba

 

1. Warm up (7 minutes)

a. 2 minutes warming up the hips e.g. cucarachas

b. 3 minutes rumba walks

c. 2 minutes dance your choreography for this dance to music

 

Subject: timing (to memorize timing in specific sections)

 

2. Section 1-3 (15 mins each section - total 45 minutes)

a. no music, just counting out loud at faster pace 5 mins

b. 80% speed of music and counting out loud 5 mins

c. 100% speed of music 5 mins

 

Repeat the above exercises for each section

 

3. Connect the sections (5 minutes) to make sure there is a fluid transition between them. 

 

4. End the practice with 2 min plank to strengthen your core and press ups / pull ups / crunches. 

 

 

Example 2

Cha cha cha

 

1. Warm up (7 minutes)

a. 2 minutes warming up the hips and back e.g. cucarachas

b. 3 minutes walks and lock steps

c. 2 minutes dance your choreography for this dance to music

 

Subject: arm styling (to design arm movements in specific sections)

 

2. Section 1-3 (15 mins each section - total 45 minutes)

a. no music 5 mins

b. 80% speed of music 5 mins

c. 100% speed of music 5 mins

 

Repeat the above exercises for each section

 

3. Connect the sections (5 minutes) to make sure there is a fluid transition between them. 

 

4. End the practice with 2 min plank to strengthen your core and press ups / pull ups / crunches. 

 

As you can see there is a pattern to the above exercises. The idea is to keep them interesting and brief so that you always give 100%. As soon as your mind starts drifting away, it's time to change. I use a stopwatch to time the minutes and even if I have not completed everything, I move on to the next exercise. This way you will stay excited to do it again later. 

 

Spend some time designing your practices. The above examples are only suggestions. Feel free to experiment and implement your own ideas. The more time you spend planning your work, the more likely you are to achieve your objectives, stay focused and improve.

 

Time is precious for dancers and you should treat each moment practicing as an opportunity and chance to make you better.

Photo Credits: Elena Anashina Photography

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