Quick practice update

The 10 minutes practice a day thing was working well – then I got over-enthusiastic and tried to do strength training as well.

Bad move!

Sore muscles killed my practice routine – and it’s taken me over a week to confess that, during which I haven’t really practiced 😦

On the plus side, I was truly amazed at the effect on both my dancing and my overall flexibility of only a few minutes practice (this included lunges and stretches, as well as dance moves).  And once I got started, it was really easy to find the time to move for more than just 10 minutes.  Although it probably says a lot about me that most of my practice was done after 10pm!

So, what have I learned from my lapse?

Well, a few things:

  1. Don’t mess too much with what works well
  2. It’s easy for me to get caught up by new ideas – which leads to…
  3. I’m rather too optimistic about how much energy I have (and how strong my muscles are).
  4. Oh, and, don’t teach belly rolls the day after starting sit-up stamina training…

So, now it’s back to the original plan – and this time I’ll try to stick with what works!



Life, dance and procrastination

Trying to fit life around dance, or dance around life, is always going to be a juggling act for me.  As well as my dancing commitments, I have work and family commitments to fit in each day.  This is not something I find particularly easy.

However, if I’m honest, the regular commitments – the ones that come with set times and obvious responsibilities – I do find straightforward.  I can get to work on time, I can pick up my kids on time, I can prepare for and lead a class on time.  Where I fall down is the commitments with non-set times, and most especially the ones where I have no one to answer to but myself.  Which is when the procrastination comes in.  Unfortunately, it is also when my own dance practice comes in.

Confession time: I really struggle to practice.  I have goals and aspirations for where I would like to take my dancing, but what I really aspire to (apart from being able to do back bends on the floor) is to have good practice habits.  To be honest, I don’t know here to start.  Whatever routines I have tried to set up I seem to end up sabotaging or the kids get sick or it’s school holidays again (school holidays are great for destroying my routines!), and I don’t know how to fix it.

I want to practice my dance every day.  By this I don’t mean, the listening to music in the car or while doing chores, I don’t mean the shimmying and grooving to whatever music happens to be playing at home (usually Queen – thanks kids!), and I certainly don’t mean reading dance blogs and watching Youtube.  Not that there is anything wrong with any of these things, but they do not count as the formal practice I need (and indeed crave).

I wish I could figure out my psychology enough to fix it.  Apparently, being answerable to myself just isn’t enough (though it can help me spend endless hours beating myself up for not doing the things I could have been doing in the time I was beating myself up!). But, maybe, just maybe, I can try making myself answerable to you, dear readers…

So (deep breath) I hereby commit myself to practicing at least 10 minutes everyday from today (even if I have to stay up later to do it – getting up earlier just ain’t gonna fly!)

And I will regularly report my progress with this to you (as well as finding the time and brain to write some other posts, too).

Right, off to dance now…

(BTW – thank you :-))

Just 15 minutes

I all too often seem to end up jamming my dance practice into small spots in my day.  At first I felt bad about this, but then I realised how just those 15 minutes were slowly building my skill and my body strength.  So here’s some tips for jamming your practice into small bits of time:

  • even 5 minutes dance is worth doing 🙂
  • do a warm up – e.g. I often do pulsed squats with arm circles, and then move into some hip circles and 8s before trying anything more demanding.  This keep my conditioning programme going and helps prevent me injuring myself.
  • focus on one or two key things – e.g. I’m trying to build my ATS body wave flexibility and strengthen my arm undulations.  In 15 minutes, I can work on both of these enough to keep me progressing.  At other times, I’ve run through dances a time or three (depending on the length).
  • You can still work up a sweat in a short time, so try to leave time for showering after!

And when you really don’t have any time to practice:

  • Play dance music to accompany housework – shimmy while you wash up or vacuum!  As well as giving you a  chance to move, this can also be a good way to accustom yourself to your music – the more you hear it, the better you’ll know it.
  • Play dance music in your car – another good way to learn your music.  But remember: no undulating while driving!
  • Run through a move, combo or a choreography in your head before going to sleep – amazingly, this can be an excellent learning aid.  Make sure you focus on performing the move/s correctly; you don’t want to reinforce bad habits.

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