Effective Practice: Mind Over Matter
Here at Quick Quick Slow ballroom dancing is our passion. But with great passion comes loads of hard work. To achieve and maintain the highest level of ability, constant practice becomes a necessity. To achieve and maintain effective practice techniques takes time, love, and a touch of obsession. There's a lot to be said of the expression that dancers "live, breathe, sleep, and eat dance". Most high-level professionals spend 50 to 60 hours a week devoted to dance-related activities - even some that don't involve physical practice or performance. Some studies have even shown that the more time you spend thinking about your craft the better your form will become.
So how can you improve your own dancing and practice effectively beyond the studio? Over the course of the next few blogs we'll be exploring a few of the more unusual techniques your practice routine could benefit from. These methods have been proven effective in scientific studies and can be applied not only to dance, but also music and sports. The first technique to attain improvement is best described by this blog's title, "mind over matter".
As we well know, practice is the repetition of a certain movement (or series of movements) with the goal of accomplishing something as close to perfection as humanly possible. Lately, however, a lot of attention has been given to visualization as a method of training - and with good reason. Several sports studies have concluded that visualization and mental practice is almost as effective as physical repetition. Along with these experiments, brain studies have shown that visualization produces the same mental commands as actions. That's right, mental imagery can actually improve your physical performance!
So next time you're feeling sluggish or unsure of yourself try imagining that perfect pirouette, seeing that footwork in your mind's eye. Imagine practicing in vivid detail. Studies suggest that once a physical motion has been learned it can be reinforced with visualization. So take ten minutes out of your day and do a mental walk-through of your favorite choreography. It might just put you over the edge!
Of course, nothing beats a good practice session with great teachers so be sure to book a class with us before we fill up. Contact us today!