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Starting serious training
Posted by mynameisnaomi
3/29/2016  9:32:00 AM
Hi everyone,
My partner and I have been dancing together now for seven years on a amateur level. We would really like to start training more serious. We have one group lesson a week from a ex-proffessional dancer (1,5 hours) and we train at least one night a week (1,5 hours).
We have been training for a while now, but we're not making great progress.
How can we bring structure in our training? What is the best way to set goals? And do you have any overall tips for training in Ballroom and Latin?
Great thanks in advance!
Re: Starting serious training
Posted by olderpartner
3/31/2016  11:07:00 AM
You don't offer a lot of specifics about what you do in your training, what your expectations are or how you define progress. However, perhaps the nature of "serious training" is worth expanding.

Firstly, I have not found that typical group instruction develops great technique. It often seems to rush students through figures in order to foster interest. That is not to say group instruction cannot develop technique because it can, if the group is comprised of individuals intent on improving.

My dancing improves most quickly when I work solo with immediate critical feedback from my instructor and repetition, repetition, repetition. Another improvement strategy I employ is to learn my partner's figures and technique so I can appreciate how we affect each other. I break down each figure into its elements, slow everything down so every nuance can be understood, then gradually restore the tempo.

For me, setting goals demands setting deadlines. The objectives may change. For example, at one time I needed to develop stamina. My deadline was a competition date. The focus of my training was to develop great frame and posture and maintain it over the extended period of a day's competition. My training period was about six months, dancing in partnership was less than one-third of my training time and I achieved a top dancer award at the comp.

One way I use to develop performance is to train for show dances. Choreography takes me out of the realm of standard figures and seems to strengthen skills that cross over from dance to dance.

Perhaps this will give you some things to consider.
Re: Starting serious training
Posted by mynameisnaomi
4/4/2016  2:34:00 PM
Thank you very much! Me and my partner are now looking for possibilities for a private lesson.
Our next competition (of our local danceschool) is in 7 weeks, so there we have our deadline.
We really need to focus on our Latin dances: chacha en samba. I think your tip to break down each figure into it's elements and train every bit of it, can really help us with that. Thanks for your effort!
Re: Starting serious training
Posted by ladydance
3/31/2016  1:30:00 PM
I echo what olderpartner says. If you can afford it, take private lessons. The instructor will tell you what you specifically need to work on. You don't say which dances are a priority for you so perhaps you need to concentrate on one or two dances in one style.
Re: Starting serious training
Posted by TundraDancingGal
4/1/2016  2:00:00 PM
I can't really afford private lessons but I do it!! (Yeah, dancing can make you a bit crazy; I'm very frugal so I cut back elsewhere and as it's so good for my emotional and physical health, hubby supports it). We did group for almost two years, last summer I started private. I was only going to take 3-4 lessons but my understanding of dance and skill level increased so much that I'd have a very hard time dropping them. If things were really tight, I'd cut back a bit, but that's it. We take group for the social aspect and we do learn some things, but it's night and day from a private lesson. I read something like 1 private equals 6 group lessons.

I agree about the goals, I never thought I'd perform, but when my instructor suggested doing a showcase, I realized it would help me focus and have set goals. Now I'm preparing for an actual competition. I NEVER thought I'd do that. I focus on smooth, but enjoy rhythm too. My showcase was Rhumba, my comp will be Tango, Fox Trot and Waltz. If you're serious, private lessons are necessary.

But what do you mean by "serious training" and "amateur level"? Have you been competing? If so, how's that been going? Or do you mean you enjoy social dancing? I started dancing in my late 50's so I'll never be at a high level, but I keep improving. I'd actually say I can see the difference from the start of a class to the end. That's what a good teacher and real commitment can do. Again, it's incremental, but every things builds to the next thing.
Re: Starting serious training
Posted by mynameisnaomi
4/4/2016  2:44:00 PM
Thanks for your tips and your story! I dance in The Netherlands. I'm in my twenties and I've been dancing 7 years just for the social aspect. We've danced on an occasional WDC in Nieuwegein and some national competitions, where we were competing as pre-amateurs in poule B. But we would really like to start dancing on National Amateur level.
Since two years we have an amazing teacher who really helps us to improve. Too bad we have to share her with 10 other couples. But we're looking for possibilities for a private lesson.
Do you have any experiences with training with some other people from your class?
Re: Starting serious training
Posted by mynameisnaomi
4/4/2016  2:47:00 PM
We are looking for soms private lessons now, thank you for your advice! Our priority is Latin: we dance the rumba, chacha en jive in our competitions. We are naturally better in Ballroom, but we would also like to practice Ballroom more.
I think you have a point saying that we have to concentrate on one or two dances in one style, I'll dissertate that with my partner.
Re: Starting serious training
Posted by olderpartner
4/4/2016  9:51:00 PM

Firstly, your youth should give you some advantage, particularly if you are in good physical shape. Competition provides motivational deadlines and checkpoints at which you can monitor your development more through the use of video than results, at least initially.

You mention cha cha and samba, two dances that demand rather different technique and both of which provide opportunity for performance showmanship. However, these two aspects tend to work against one another at first so try to find a balance and compare current video against previous to see if you have gained toward your goals. Eventually, it will pay off in your standings.

Also, don't compartmentalize latin and standard too completely. There are some nearly universal technical elements. For example, such apparently simple exercises such as trying to perfect cha cha New Yorkers and spot turns can develop foot movements that improve foxtrot and waltz.

Another thing to be aware of is that training with your competition partner may not improve your lead and follow. It is possible to create a partnership which has two people doing two well synchronized routines. While this can work there are performance nuances and subtle timing variations that well connected partnerships demonstrate.

Good luck with your growth. Remember you should never stop learning.
Re: Starting serious training
Posted by mynameisnaomi
4/25/2016  3:19:00 PM
I will keep this in mind, thank you very very much!
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