Baila Vancouver Dance Blog

makingthingsworkI find that when experienced beginners or intermediate students come to take my group or private lessons they often share how things are just not working and most of them conclude that it must be them. They must be a slow learner or they must have two left feet. In reality that is rare. Enquiring into how to make things work is a valuable journey.
Here are 3 suggestions of where to start looking and some solutions you may want to try:

Get more information: You may be missing a key piece of technique that would make your dancing flow more easily.

Solution: Take lessons with many different instructors and class sizes. Diversify to get more perspectives. Repeat beginner levels i.e. Bootcamps, workshops, and group lessons. You may have missed something that was said in class. Vancouver has many amazing teachers and we each have our own way to explain and help our students grow.

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Get more coaching: You might need personal attention, where an instructor spends a lot of time with you. Even if you are a good student and pay attention in class, dancing with your instructor and one on one attention is invaluable and a really good way to leap forward.

Solution: Private Lessons or attend a specialized class with a limited number of spots so you have the instructor’s attention for longer periods of time.

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Get more practice: Repetition is one of the fastest ways to get better. 10,000 reps are needed to solidify movements in your body.

Solution: Choose non-intimidating environments to practice like Sunday Afternoon Socials and Monday Practicas and dance every single song.

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This is a constant tug-of-war I have with my students…them not wanting to make too many mistakes and me needing the mistakes to see where they are at in their progress. Interesting! There is a magic number or a magic process that usually works for mistakes and knowing where you are at in your learning.Take your time to learn

So for example, let’s talk about a common move and mistake  ” Giving a signal”

1st Attempt at Signal: Student might give a signal that is not very easy to understand or in the wrong way. You are processing the new information so be easy on yourself.

2nd Attempt at Signal:  This mistake is usually a  delayed response…so they do it kinda right but a little too late or something is not quite right.  The brain is still processing and they might be thinking too much.  So I will usually offer a new analogy or tip that will make it more clear in the mind.

3rd Attempt at Signal: This time the student made the same mistake as before but was aware of the mistake or what he/she was doing wrong. ” I know what i did wrong”  or ” I knew I was doing it wrong as I am doing it but could not stop it” are comments I usually hear.

4th Attempt at Signal: This is when it actually goes pretty smooth of course not perfect but huge progess has been made.

I have observed that when people are learning any new element the body usually goes through this process, time and time again. 

" Have Fun While Learning"When I now request the student to try the signal and the feet we go through the same process again. When I strike up a conversation while doing the move we go through the same process again and so on…so it is quite fascinating that most people try to avoid making mistakes while from my teaching perspective you need them to bring awareness to the situation and allow your body to assimilate and pass the bridge from understanding to knowing. 

have not met a successful person in their endeavour who has not admitted to making more mistakes than anybody else in their field and attributing their success to that.

Mistakes are for the ones who really want to reach extraordinary levels of success not available to the average perfectionist”  ~Nina Perez~

Written by Nina Perez director of Baila Vancouver Dance School. Expert Dance Instructor in Argentine Tango, Salsa, and all the latin social dances. For more information

Follow Me on Twitter: @NinaPerezDance


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