Practising at Home.

To our wonderfully enthusiastic dance fam,

With our first concert in a very long time just days away, you understandably might have a nervous MSF student at home who wants to put in some extra practice!

Here are a few quick tips for practising at home:

  • Use the music links we’ve provided!
  • Break the dance up into 3 or 4 sections. Practice the first section and once you’ve nailed it, move on to the next section.
  • If you find yourself forgetting parts or “going blank”; pause, breathe, close your eyes, and picture yourself back in the studio learning the choreography. Try to remember the verbal cues and instructions your teacher gave you. Try to picture your dance teacher demonstrating and you copying. Take your time – it will come back to you. Feel free to move on and come back to that part later.
  • Practice in short bursts rather than exhausting your body and brain by practising for long stretches of time. We don’t want our dancers to burn out.
  • Dancing is supposed to be fun… if you find yourself frustrated or stressed. Stop and take a break or call it a day. Maybe you are not in the right mindset for practicing at the moment.
  • If a particular step or section of your dance is troubling you, write it down and bring it to class so that you remember to tell your teacher about it.
  • Feel free to write things down in class too to help you remember at home.
  • Simply listening to your music is beneficial too. It will help you become familiar with the timing and musicality of your song. Often teachers will use the lyrics as “action words” to trigger a dance step, so listen closely to the words.
  • Try closing your eyes and visualizing your performance on stage too. 

We’ve had a few requests for practise videos recently, and we wanted to explain why we don’t typically distribute practice videos:

  • When learning in the classroom, students use the visual cues of the teacher, mirrors, assistant and classmates to learn the choreography. This is a combination of passive learning (watching, copying) and active learning (doing).
  • To prepare for a performance, our goal is for students to remember their dances confidently without the visual feedback of the teacher or mirrors, because they will not be onstage with them! 
  • Remembering your dance on your own requires muscle memory, and practicing at home is an opportunity to build this muscle memory. Just like building strength in a muscle, the best way to strengthen your muscle memory is to use it.
  • Videos often encourage “watching” rather than “doing” Practicing requires the dancer to be up on their feet with correct posture, using their body to execute the steps.
  • This is something that takes time to build, and after 2 years of relying on screens and 2 years of no events, it may take a bit longer and feel uncomfortable
  • Copying a video can be helpful to jog the memory, but it can also cause confusion. In most instances you’ll see a “flipped” version of the dance and may end up learning the opposite arms and legs or traveling in the wrong direction. 
  • Remember that while you won’t have your teacher or mirrors on stage you will have your classmates! We want our students to remember as much as they can on their own, this will differ depending on their age-group. When back with their team in the classroom or stage, things normally “click” back into place

We are very conscious that this upcoming performance is a first for many, and the first in a long time for others. We know that nerves can make us do funny things on stage, and that mistakes happen. It will not be perfect but it will be amazing nonetheless. 

We are truly proud of our students and the progress they have made so far this year – re-adjusting to studio life and working around the absences caused by covid and other illnesses this term. 

You are all very much capable and we can’t wait to see you all on stage!

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