“Practice makes perfect” is of course a complete crock. Perfection is an elusive, frustrating ideal that often stands in the way of artistic progress and enjoyment. However “practice can lead to deeper enjoyment and also means spending more time doing what you love”, well, that’s something I can get behind.
As adults we often equate practice with homework.. Practice, like homework, is something you HAVE to do outside of class if you want to improve and it’s usually something you leave till the night before, you cram, you stress and you end up fooling no-one when it comes to crunch time. Man, I can’t think of a better way to spend your time, can you?
There’s a piece of advice I’m often giving aspiring writers (if you didn’t know, that’s something else I do) and it’s something that works just as well for dancers, “Enjoy the process.”. Practice isn’t something you HAVE to do and OH IF ONLY I DIDN’T HAVE TO PRACTICE!!! Practice is an opportunity to do more of what you love. You either stepped into one of our dance classes with a passion to dance or you definitely left our class with one. You had an experience that made you want to do more of this. Dance is amazing, it really is. To move your body to music is one of the most freeing experiences you’ll come across in your whole life. So what does that make practice? MORE opportunity to feel as incredible as you do in class or on the dance floor. Enjoy your practice, look forward to it. Your practice is freedom from work, stress and all of your life’s woes. And you don’t need your partner to do it.
When you start out in our classes you’re given two of the major rhythms; a short rhythm (6 count) and a longer rhythm (8 count). Lindy Hop is a 2 count dance so you can mix it up however you like when you’re on your own. You can do a lot of triple steps, a lot of step steps, or you can do the classic 8 and 6 you learnt in class. Either way you don’t need a partner for this and often it’s better not to. When you’re at home (or sneaking in practice under the desk at work… Not in the car though, triple stepping on the accelerator causes car accidents) you can practice your basic rhythms to music and guess what, it’s not “practice” it’s DANCE. When you’re doing your basic rhythms by yourself you’re still dancing, you’re still feeling that freedom you get to feel on the dance floor.
“Practice” as much as you can but remember to treat your practice as a treat not a chore. Putting on music and moving is such an incredible feeling PLUS it helps you improve in your Lindy Hop. When you’re starting out it makes a MASSIVE difference. So from now on, between social nights and class nights, give yourself a treat and dance at home. Call it practice or whatever you like but either way, enjoy the process of moving and learning to love it even more.