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 Practice Makes Perfect - Or Does It..?


The #1 most cited advice to how to become a better salsa dancer is "Practice, practice, practice!". And of course there is a big truth in that statement. Without practice there is no way for you to become better. In fact, it will always take a lot more practice to improve something than you think in the beginning.

But this advice leaves out a very important thing: It's not the fact THAT you practise, but HOW and WHAT you practice, that will make all the difference!

If you repeat and repeat a certain thing only to find out in the end that you practiced it wrongly is a waste of time and very difficult to reverse. You have just been enforcing bad habits. It is always much easier to learn something new then to re-learn something you've habitualized.


Understand What You're Doing

Always have a clear idea of what you want to achieve. If you're not sure what you're supposed to do ask your teacher or find more information. Make sure you have a good understanding of the movement you're trying to do and compare it to what you're doing wrong. Where exactly lies the problem? What detail do you need to do to change or improve? Don't just blindly repeat an exercise; repetition is your friend only when your doing it right or at least better. Evaluate your progress and see if your getting closer to your goal, if not, change something.


Information Overload

We all reach points where suddenly things are not working anymore and are actually getting worse. That's the point where you should stop doing what you're doing, or at least move on to something else. Your mind simply can't take in any more information, and your body needs a rest to integrate the movement. Often we don't feel that point before we're way past it, pushing on frustratedly. Try to become good at recognizing those points, it will make your practice a lot easier.

Things will most definetly take more time than you expected, so go easy on yourself when you don't see results at first. That doesn't nessacarily mean that things are not working. Your body normally needs more time than your mind to "get it", since it will have to learn to unconsciously execute as opposed to merely understand.
 


Salsa Practice Tips


Slow down!

Most people tend to rush through a step or movement again and again, wondering why things are not improving. You really have to slow it down, much more than you think. If you feel like you're doing it in slow motion you're getting close. You have to give yourself the time to really be aware of the little details that you're doing.
When we do something in the tempo we're used to, the body goes on autopilot and we will just repeat what we normally do, and we will be unable to change anything.


One Thing At A Time

Dancing is multitasking, but when you practice that is not always a good idea. Pick one thing to work on, then move on to the next. Don't get confused with too many corrections at the same time. Sort out the different elements and then work on them one after the other.


Practice Less But More Often

Trying to squeeze an hour of practice into your day is admirable, but for most people just not possible. If you actually manage to you often find you don't know what to do with that hour unless you have a practice plan. It's much more advisable to take 10-15 min (or even just 1 or 2 if that's all you have) and then pick one thing you want to work on.


Integrate Your Salsa Practice Into Your Daily Routines

Try to practice cuban motion when you're brushing your teeth or walk to the fridge, do a spin on the bathroom floor everytime you go to the toilet. Check your posture and balance when you're waiting for the bus. There are many ways you can incorporate your salsa pratice into your daily actions.


Find A Practice Partner

If possible try to team up with someone who also wants to improve their salsa dancing. Make sure both of you are getting to work on the things you want to. Give each other constructive but honest feedback, and try to avoid compensating for each others mistakes.

 

Go To >> Part 3 Of The Salsa Practice Guide:

How To Get The Most Out Of Classes 

 


Practice Makes Permanent 

What's New

New Article:

Contradictory Advice:
When Teachers Tell You Different Things

Salsa Practice Guide


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5-part article series
to help you learn and practice your salsa skills.