Part 3: Ways to Maximize Your At-Home Dance Practice

In the last two posts, I’ve shared memory tips to use during and immediately after class to improve your retention.

Man dancing by himself
Tip #1: Practice on your own. Photo: Clem Onojeghuo

3 Memory Tips to Use Between Dance Classes

Here are 3 things you can do in between classes to boost your dance memory.

Tip #1: Repetition, Repetition, Repetition

Even though you’re learning couple’s dancing, don’t underestimate the value of practicing without a partner.

Doing the movements on your own between classes helps solidify your memory, expose things you’re not clear on, and allows you to focus on footwork, balance and timing without the added variable of a partner.

And you don’t need to set aside a large chunk of time—just 5 or 10 minutes will do.

Tip #2: Do It in Your Imagination
Woman imaging dancing
Tip #2: Practice in your mind

When you don’t have the space or energy to actually do the movements, you can go through them in your mind.

When you practice your dance moves in your imagination, fill in as many details as possible—what feels like, what it looks like, the beat of the music, etc.

Many of my dance students have great success mentally rehearsing while walking their dog, riding on BART, lying in bed and even while lap swimming!

Tip #3: Make Up a Mnemonic

A mnemonic is anything that helps you retain information. These are usually in the form of a sentence or rhyme, such as “Every Good Boy Does Fine” (the order of notes in music) or “Righty, tighty; Lefty, loosey” (the direction to put something in or take it off).

LEARN scrabble pieces
Tip #3: Use a memory device

Mnemonics are great for remembering a repertoire of moves, technique tips to practice, or the order of steps in a routine. For example, you might create the mnemonic Circle and Turn the Wheel to get to Charleston to remember the new Lindy Hop moves you learned (Lindy Circle, Tuck Turn, the Wheel and Charleston).

Have fun with it—the best mnemonics are those that make you laugh!

Like most things, remembering moves is a skill that you can develop and gets easier over time. May these memory tips help you on your way to better retention and easier dancing.

Have other things you do to help you retain dance movements and technique? Please share by leaving a comment.

Want more tips on improving your retention of dance steps?

Read Part 1: How to Improve Your Memory During Class

Read Part 2: How to Improve Your Memory After Class

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