Have you hit a plateau in your dancing? Do you feel like you take a class and then have difficulty remembering the steps you've learned? What is the key to retaining the information and applying it when you need it?

PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!!!!

Practice is an essential part of the learning process.

Muscle memory can only happen when you've done a movement often enough that your brain no longer needs to be fully engaged in the process. Your body just seems to do it without thinking about it! This can only occur if you've done the movement enough times that your body is able to internalize it.

We all want to get on the floor and get lost in the music, and our partner. If we are constantly having to think about what we are doing when we dance, we miss out on conversation and enjoyment of the music. Practice allows our minds and bodies to "absorb" the movements, so that we can do them without consciously going through the motions. Once you've reached this point, your dancing can really get to the next level.

DanceSport provides practice opportunities throughout the week and most private and group class programs include the practice parties (a $140 value). The best time to practice is right after you've learned something, and then a few days after as well. So, if you are learning Salsa, for example, attending the evening practice session on Tuesday (after your classes) and then attending the Thursday or Saturday Session will increase your retention of the patterns and fast track your learning experience.

That's not to say that additional practice isn't helpful. In fact, just a few minutes of daily practice done at home can be instrumental in getting you from the cognitive level of learning, to realizing that the steps are really in you. Listening to music that you dance to is another way to train your ear for dance, which can help your mind and body pick up the steps and the rhythm.

Practice Parties are also a great way to interact with your fellow students. Learn more about the dance community and become a part of it while putting your new knowledge into practice!