How to Build a Killer Dance Practice Schedule, and Actually Stick to It
If you’re reading this, you’re probably interested in and passionate about dance. Unfortunately, this passion doesn’t always translate into practice, and we’re all guilty of it. And it’s not because you’re lazy or lack a work ethic (okay maybe sometimes it’s because you’re a little lazy), but the reality is that very few of us are able to pursue dance full time. We’re usually barely squeezing in some creative time between responsibilities to attend a quick class or workshop, leaving no time to actually practice and improve in different areas of dance. If you want to learn, grow, and eventually master your craft, however, there is no way around practicing regularly. If you’re struggling with getting into a routine, check out these tips on how to create a killer practice schedule for yourself, and actually stick to it!
We know this sounds obvious, but creating a schedule in advance for the week ahead will make it so much easier for you to turn your practice routine into a habit. Make a list of and plan everything from the practice space you’ll use, the technique you’ll practice in each session, right down to the outfit you’re going to wear each day. Once you have everything laid out for you, all you have to do is show up on the day of - no excuses!
Set realistic goals
Know your limits and plan accordingly. Being ambitious with your goals isn’t always bad, but if you keep missing your targets when you’re just getting started, you’re going to feel disheartened and unmotivated. Setting realistic goals that you can meet will encourage you to stick with your plan and keeping moving forward. Once you’ve achieved a steady rhythm, you can slowly increase the intensity and frequency of your practice sessions.
Find a dance buddy
Partner up with someone who will hold you accountable. It’s a lot harder to bail on a practice session when you know the other person is going to show up and keep working on themselves while you sit on your couch and watch TV. If shame isn’t enough to keep you in check, put some money on the line. For every practice session that either of you bails on, you have to pay the other $10 bucks - see how quickly that gets you on a regular schedule!
Switch it up
The key to staying motivated is to incorporate a variety of different practice sessions into your routine. Focus on flexibility one day, technique another, and maybe expressions another! There are a lot of different aspects to work on if you want to grow as a dancer, and switching between different activities will not only keep things interesting, it will also help you have more fun and prevent it from feeling like a chore. If you know you have a crazy busy day at your day-job that’s going to leave you exhausted, rather than planning for a drilling session where you’re trying to master new choreo, you can do a fun freestyle dance session that night instead!
Don’t skip your rest days! Letting yourself burnout is only going to set you further back in your goals. Keep an eye out for any of these warning signs and listen to your body: a constant feeling of fatigue, excessive sweating, loss of desire and enthusiasm for dance, breakdown of technique, or poor concentration.