How to practice when you don't have time to practice?
There are times when life gets in a way of our dancing and we simply can't do the practice we have already planned. So what small things can you do during the day that will still help you improve your dancing when time is limited? Here are 5 ideas for you:
1. Listen to music
When you are on a train, in a car or at a desk, put your headphones in, play your Ballroom and Latin music and close your eyes. This is your opportunity to go through your choreographies in your mind whilst counting the music. Visualize yourself on a competition floor.
Results: You get more familiar with your timings and and also you will remember specific songs and accents better. This will give you an advantage on a competition floor as you will already be familiar with the songs.
2. Watch a dance video on YouTube
These days all dancers have access to tremendous amount of information about dancing. Whether it is to watch dance videos from competitions and shows (we all spend hours doing that) or listen to some amazing lectures by our dance idols.
Spending 30 minutes listening to a lecture from Blackpool Congress can in fact give you a huge amount of information for free.
Here is one of the lectures from the Congress by Bryan Watson and Carmen.
Results: Free information and inspiration.
3. Prepare your practice plan for the whole week
Very often when dancers go to practice, they don't know what they are doing until they step on the practice floor.
Someone said to me before:
The more time you spend planning, the less time you spend executing.
When you have a chance, try to write down what you're going to do at practices. If you write it down before, you're more likely to achieve it. Also, you will stay focused to do what you have planned to do. Isn't it a nice feeling to "cross off" things on our to-do list? In fact, sometimes I just add things to my to-do list that I have already done so that I can just cross them off.
Results: Both you and your partner know what is expected of you at the practice and how much time you have for it. There will be no arguing on what should be done first (given you've agreed on the plan). For tips on how to write a plan read How to design a 1-hour solo practice session.
4. Message your 3 dance friends
When you have a minute drop a message to 3 of your dancing friends. Ask them how they are, how their practices are going and which competitions they are going to do next. You may now be thinking: How is it gonna help my dancing?
Results: Imagine if you keep in touch with people and you go to competitions where you see so many friendly faces, you will be greeted by them and have a chat with all of them. This will put you at ease and help to calm your nerves. This in turn can also help with your performance as the stage fright will be less.
5. Foot exercises
Did you know that you can improve your footwork whilst sitting down? Read my post How to get beautiful feet like a dancer.
Results: Stronger feet, better instep and arch.
These are very simple ideas to make sure that you can do something every day to keep improving whenever and wherever you are.
Remember, it is better to do little but frequently and consistently than a lot but only once in a while.
If you have some other ideas on how to practice when there is no time or space for it, please leave a comment below.
Also, please share the post if you think some of your busy dance friends need these ideas.
Photo Credits: Maggiore Fotografico