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Two Step Tidewater Sunday Dance News  

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 [Dance Tips - Menu]  

  (01/16/2009 wh)

Plateaus in learning

Most dancers who have taken lessons know about reaching plateaus in learning. For the new dancers this is very frustrating and sometimes leads to quitting dancing altogether.

 

We have a few suggestions that have helped in the past. As usual, there may be some other ideas out there from other dancers. Please share them & we will pass them on.

 

We define "reaching a plateau" as when you seem unable to learn more. When it seems to take forever to master a difficult pattern or technique. When you finally recognize that you are at that point, try the following.

 

1. The first impulse is to take a break from practice or lessons. We found that this is counter-productive as you can't begin to make progress if you eliminate the means to learn. Instead, we make a firmer commitment with ourselves to continue. If we don't then we are quitters.

 

2. Examine your learning methods. When we had a tough time with a move we tried to incorporate it into a short pattern. That way we got to practice more.

 

3. Book a lesson with another instructor or if you are learning off tapes borrow or purchase a different one on the same dance. We had several equally good dance instructors explain something but only one way made sense to us.

 

4. The technique of dancing can sometimes prove frustrating. Since so much dancing is interrelated try the move in a different dance. The technique used in the different dance may make it all seem clearer.

 

5. Sometimes there are too many distractions around making it difficult to concentrate. If you are taking private lessons during a busy time ask to switch to a not so popular hour. If you are using a studio for practicing alone try using a portable tape player and headphones while you practice. Also, it's not too difficult to learn to tune out distractions.

 

6. Try video taping your lesson. Ask the instructor to demonstrate the dance on tape. Compare yourself to the instructor. Slow motion playback reveals many problems.

 

7. Consider outside influences that are counter productive to learning. How is the drive to the studio? Are you too tense to learn? Is your lesson or practice time scheduled too soon after eating? On the other hand are you skipping lunch or dinner to practice? Are you too cold or too warm? Are your practice clothes and shoes comfortable? Do you like the music that you practice or learn to?

 

8. Are you getting in enough practice time between lessons? We can show and tell how to ride that bicycle forever and you won't learn until you get on it and practice. Unless you need practice for a competition or showcase, the social dance is a great practice opportunity. If you are working on a competition or showcase you have to get somewhere with plenty of room and few distractions. Judy and I used to practice on the aerobics floor at the YMCA. If you find somewhere other than a dance studio be prepared to explain why dance shoes don't mark up the floors.

 

9. Find a dance friend who will really listen to you. It helps to discuss that frustrating move with someone on your level. Just watch out for those who are more interested in themselves and turn every discussion in that direction.

 

10. And finally find the time to review what you have learned so far. We all find pleasure in renewing old friendships even if they are only dance moves.

 

 

Any other ideas???   Mail it to us:      <<--Return to Dance Tips Menu

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(www.twosteptidewater.com The Best smoke free Country & Western two step (2-step, Texas two-step), Ballroom, Latin, Disco (Hustle), West Coast Swing (WCS), Night Club two-step, Swing Dancing for all of South East Virginia (VA) or North East North Carolina beaches areas  (Norfolk VA, Virginia Beach VA, Chesapeake VA, Suffolk VA, Portsmouth VA, Newport News VA, Hampton va, Hampton Roads VA, Yorktown VA, Gloucester VA, Jamestown VA, Williamsburg VA, Hickory NC, and the beaches and outer banks of North Carolina (NC)