Over the past couple of editions of “Mark’s Lead,” I’ve introduced a few ideas about how to experience the lessons and optimize your learning. Today, we’ll continue on that theme with an idea that will accelerate your learning and enable you to quickly advance in your dance skill. Ready for this? Here’s the secret:
Yes, you read that correctly. Learn less in each lesson to learn more overall. Here’s how it works: If, like most of us, you are not really that adept at memorizing choreography, plus technique, plus styling details… plus… plus… plus… it’s easy to become overwhelmed in the Repertoire class. I do introduce new choreography, drill essential technique, suggest styling, and a ton of other things. If you attempt to learn it all, it can indeed be overwhelming, possibly confusing, and potentially damaging to your confidence as a dancer and dance student. So, a good response is to focus on only one major thing at each lesson.
That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t encourage you to try your best to learn the move if you happen to be working on perfecting your turn technique. But paying close attention to one element on which you particularly want to concentrate each lesson will enable your full learning focus to be brought to bear on that improvement.
The same is true for your social dancing, be it in a club or at a great, beginner-friendly venue like Toronto Salsa Practice (every Saturday at 3:30 at the church). At each outing, choose one element on which you want to focus to improve and be very deliberate about creating opportunities to dance that element. It could be a particular technique, or it could be a specific choreography combination. Whatever it is, put your full attention on it, repeat it as often as you’re reasonably able, and watch your dancing improve with each outing.