Practice: When and How to Do It

As a dancer, our biggest help and our biggest hurdle is practice.

When do we do it? For how long? What if our space isn’t big enough?

There are so many things in our lives that can prevent us from practicing, even when we know that we cannot grow as dancers without it. So how can we tear down those barriers that are preventing us from becoming the best we can be? Follow our tips below and watch how much quicker you progress.

Take Five Minutes – Just Five Minutes

Our lives are filled with so many mundane tasks that require little to no thought. But what if we took those tasks and turned them into moments to practice?

Brushing your teeth? Work on your basic Cha Cha footwork.

Waiting for the water to boil? Lead your partner through a few Rumba patterns.

Making copies? Focus on your Latin Motion.

Bathroom break? Ensure you are taking heel leads and pushing off your back foot.

Practice doesn’t need to be long; it just needs to be focused. Take those moments where you otherwise let your mind wander and use them to work on one technique or one pattern. And then you’re done. It is that easy.

Come Early – Stay Late

On those days where you have a lesson scheduled, come in a few minutes early. Give yourself some time to run through the patterns/techniques that you worked on in your last lesson. Focus especially on patterns that are too large for your space at home.

When your lesson has finished, take notes. Lots of them (well… as many as you need to be able to make sense of them later). And then, get back on the dance floor and work on the material you were just taught for a few extra minutes. This will help you cement that information faster than if you hadn’t taken the extra time.

Practice before and after lessons does not need to be long. Reviewing beforehand will mean less time reviewing with your instructor during your lesson, giving you more time to learn new material and ask questions that came up during practice.

Practice Parties – Use Them

Once a week, we have a Practice Party at the studio. As the name implies, this is one of the best times to practice everything you’ve been working on during lessons. And it comes with the benefit of having all the instructors nearby and willing to help. Plus, since you’ll be switching partners after each dance, you get to practice leading and following others. This helps your progress immensely!

Since Practice Parties are held on a weekly basis, you can treat them as a weekly commitment to practice. But they have the added benefit of getting you out of the house, surrounded by people who love dance as much as you do. What other commitment can make you smile and reduce your stress as much as this one?

Going on Vacation – No Problem!

But what if you’re going on vacation? You won’t be able to attend Practice Parties. You won’t have that time before and after lessons. You won’t even have those same mundane tasks that you can practice during. So when are you going to find time to practice?

Will you be in a car or on a plane? Practice you’re footwork while you’re in your seat, and visualize your patterns. (Unless you’re the driver – then don’t do that.)

Will you be spending time at the airport? Get out of your seat and work on your heel leads and pushing off your back foot.

Plus, you’ll still be brushing your teeth, and that is always a good time to practice footwork or Latin motion.

You can always make time to practice, and – like we’ve said before – it doesn’t have to be long. Take a look at the video below. This is Bill & Jamie Pettit practicing their Rumba while on an African safari.


“Some people seem to think that good dancers are born, but all the good dancers I have known are taught or trained.” – Fred Astaire

And that training involves practice. Lots of it. But do it in little installments and watch how quickly you can progress.