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Anyone Can be a Good Dancer. Practice Makes Perfect!


If you read the biographies of any famous dancers, singers, actors, musicians or sports people, you'll find they all had one thing in common - a willingness to practice their freak'n socks off to achieve their goals. If you practice and practice, you might not necessarily become the next Anna Pavlova or Paula Abdul, but you will become a good dancer.


Talent vs Practice


Scientists have often debated the extent to which genetics determines our ability. But whatever your natural talent, it's now widely recognised that practice and repetition are vital for mastering any type of complex skill, including dancing.

A book titled Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise published in 2016 argued that: "the belief that one's abilities are limited by one's genetically prescribed characteristics....manifests itself in all sorts of 'I can't' or 'I'm not' statements." The authors (a psychologist and a science writer) state the key to brilliant performance is "thousands and thousands of hours of hard, focused work."

While others are more cautious in attributing success to practice alone, (arguing that genetics and environmental factors play some role), they do not dispute the absolute importance of lots and lots of practice and hard work for achieving success.

Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.

-Stephen King


Why do You Need to Practice? Ask your Brain...


We now know that our brains are incredibly plastic. Even if some of us aren't spring chickens anymore; when we practice a skill our brains actually become stronger and faster, and better able to perform that skill.

When you practice, your brain produces more myelin around the little axons, (axons being the bit which extends out of your neurons). What this means in a nutshell is that as you practice, your brain gets faster at transmitting signals between neurons, and the task becomes easier and easier to perform.


Does the Quality of the Practice Matter?


Yes! It absolutely does. There are a couple of factors that will help your practice sessions translate into improved performance, whether on the stage or in the dance studio:

  • Short and frequent practice sessions deliver the best results: This is what's known as distributed practice. Studies have found that spreading out your practice sessions, whether you're learning new choreography or finessing technique, will give you the best results.
  • Your practice needs to be quality practice: It's no good practicing half-heartedly. Your practice must be a reflection of how you want to perform. If you practice dance moves with the wrong technique you are teaching your brain the wrong technique and hard-wiring that incorrect information in there.
  • You might benefit from practicing before you sleep: A study published in 2012 in peer-reviewed journal PLOS One found that adolescents best retained information if they learned it straight before going to sleep. From a totally scientific perspective, this indicates your brain is better at creating new memories if it gets a nap afterwards as a thank you for its hard work!

Our experienced teachers can help you practice till it's perfect! Contact Dance Discovery today.