Often we have troubles practicing outside of class because of space restrictions. Our homes are to small (especially if you’re working on modern or swing) and they often have the wrong type of floor. This can restrict the way we move, which in turn can develop bad habits and undo the development achieved in class.
Therefore, it’s good to have another suitable place that you can practice at when not in class.
Here’s some ideas.
- Local College/University – I work at one so this is a good one for me; I have access. However, such places often have large rooms with suitable floors. You can often just walk on to a campus, find a place, and start practicing.
- Work – you might work in a place that has a place that is open enough and has the right surface.
- Local sports stadiums – I have practiced on squash courts, basketball courts and volleyball courts. Most indoor sports have a floor that is ideal for dance. Sometimes you need to hire them and sometimes you will find that there are periods when they are free. You can also hire half a court to keep costs down too.
- Local halls – they almost always have the kind of floor that you need and are often available during the week. Hunt around to see what’s available at a time and place that suits. Think of Scout halls, Masonic halls, school halls, Church halls etc.
- Local bars and clubs at low business times – I used to go to a local bar with a group of fellow students after a group lesson each week. This was a Tuesday night, and not many people were about. Also, most bars have some kind of a dance floor. As long as you’re buying drinks, they won’t ask you to leave. Others often like watching you too – free entertainment so it’s a win-win.
- Your dance studio – most dance studios like seeing students come in to practice in their free time. I used to do that with a fellow student after our private lessons (we happened to have our private lessons at the same time). This is a really good way to meet other people too. If you’re learning dance to meet others, then you can also suggest you go out for lunch (or coffee or whatever) after the extra practice and then after that back to your place. It worked for me!
Some of these ideas require payment. In these cases, you might want to team up with other students and share the cost. Not only does this make it cheaper, but you can motivate each other to show up and practice regularly – we do not like letting others down. Also, it helps you make better friends in dance, which is always nice. Finally, when you practice with another student, without a dance teacher, you can very quickly reveal some misunderstanding that you have. If you and your fellow students disagree on how something is meant to be done, then try it your way and then their way to see if any of them work. If one does, then you’ve likely found it. If none of them or more than one seems to work, then it’s time to talk to your teacher again. This experience will allow for a much more informed conversation between you and your teacher. Recall the post about what teachers wanted and how most of them wanted to see more practice and a cooperative relationship with their students?
Also, some of these locations are public, and you might find it embarrasing to practice in such places. If you do not yet have a strong identity as a dancer, then this might be confronting. However, if you can get over it, then it actually makes for good practice dancing in front of others. If it is at work, then it will certainly help develop this identity. Everyone at my work now knows that I dance, and I am known as a dancer. This provides that extra motivation to me to be good a dancer.
So there are some ideas for places to practice outside of dance class and how you can use them to be a better dancer and increase your circle of dance friends. Do you have any other ideas for places where you can practice dance?