Practising dance is hard. Being stuck in isolation (even if you’re just practising physical distancing), can make it more difficult. Every day at home starts to look the same and the idea of getting off the couch gets more difficult. There are many ways to combat this but we’re going to look at the three big ones here.
1. Turn up – 5 minutes at a time
Practising doesn’t need to happen in a formal situation with a ritual to begin and a long time set aside. It can happen in 5 minutes with little to no setup other than turning on the music!
Yes! Turn on the music, dance. Done.
I can hear your questions…
“But, I need the right music to practise with.” – Isn’t it already on your phone? (Or if you’re like me, any song will do really).
“But, what if I don’t have space?” – Any space will do. The kitchen, push back the couch a little, even the hall way.
“Sure, but I need to spend longer than 5 minutes to really give it a good go!” – No you don’t.
5 minutes is so small, so laughable, that anyone can do it. You could do it now in the time it takes you to read this post.
Maybe you’ll only do 5 minutes. Maybe it’ll creep into 10 minutes, or 15! But either way, by turning up and doing those 5 minutes, you’ve done 5 minutes. You’ve practised. You could do 12 of these in a day and have done an hour’s practise over the day. Wow!
2. Turn up – Connect with a friend
Do you have a dance sibling? Someone with whom you can rely on to help pull you up by the bootstraps when you’re feeling at your wits end. Maybe they’re not a dancer, but they keep you accountable when you can’t do that yourself.
They help you set a goal. For a week, for the day, for the next 2 hours. They check in to see how you’re doing.
Maybe it’s more than one person. Maybe it’s two or three different people and each of them checks in at different times, or you reach out to at different times to check in depending on how you’re going.
Yesterday, I danced for 30 minutes with one of mine. She lives some 16,500km away from me. We’re both working on the same piece of music. We connected online and danced for 30 minutes practising that song. We compared a few notes on things, but then quickly got down to dancing. Today I talked to another briefly online. We check in on each other – not just in dance, but in life too as we know the power that one has over the other.
If you are a part of a group who meet regularly, then you should make the attempt to put your head in that meet up. Attend rehearsal, even if you don’t dance, connect to the session, say hi to your troupe mates and leader. Very few leaders would say no to you checking in. Even if you’re not able to dance, you’re still able to follow what’s happening, hear the corrections, and then apply them when you do your own (5 min) practise.
3. Turn up – Have some fun
Why does practise need to be a “dirty word”? Why not make it fun?
If you’re going to take the time to turn up, you might as well make it enjoyable.
If you’re running choreography or drilling, why not use some fun music that you enjoy. Or maybe you get to noodle around before and after you do the work you need to do. Choreography doesn’t need to be work. Drilling doesn’t need to be work. It can all be fun if you want it to be. To borrow words from Mary Poppins “In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun and – SNAP – the job’s a game!”
Take a class. Run the choreography. Practise your improvisation. It doesn’t matter what it is, turn up and make it fun.
In the end it doesn’t matter what you’re practising. What you’re working on. You love to dance, or you wouldn’t be doing it. When life gets tough, it’s easy to put aside the things that keep you mentally healthy and only do the essentials. The absolute bare essentials. But if you want to keep doing those essentials, you also need to do the things that keep you mentally there too – like dancing.
So take 5 minutes. Practise while the kettle is boiling. Play one song that you like the sound of and have a dance. Don’t make it a chore and things are always better when you’ve got a friend to help you get there.
Most of all, you can do it.
After all, all you need to do is turn up. The rest will write itself.
APB Dance classes are a fun escape from your normal life. Every week we cover a different move and explore different combinations with some upbeat and funky music. Check out what we’ve got happening now!