Dance is an art form that has been celebrated for centuries. It is more than just a series of steps set to music. It's a language, a form of expression, and a journey of self-discovery.
As the owner and director of the largest street Latin dance school in Singapore, I've had the privilege of witnessing countless students embark on this transformative journey.
However, in recent times, I've noticed a concerning trend in the dance community. Some are marketing the idea that a single class can lead to immediate improvement in technique.
While it's essential to communicate the value of dance classes, it's equally crucial to set realistic expectations for students. It is also important that students understand that they will not magically improve by just attending a class.
Let's debunk the myth of the "magic dance class" and explore the true essence of a journey to dance mastery.
1. The Biological Element of Dance Learning
Dance, at its core, is a harmonious blend of mind and body. When we learn a new dance move, our brain works tirelessly to send the right signals to the appropriate muscles. This intricate process ensures that we execute the movement correctly. However, this doesn't happen overnight.
Our bodies rely on what is commonly referred to as 'muscle memory.' Contrary to its name, muscle memory isn't stored in our muscles but in our brains. When we repeat a movement, our brain creates a neural pathway. The more we practice, the stronger this pathway becomes, allowing us to perform the movement with increased precision and ease, and at some point of time without having to think to much about what we are doing.
2. The Role of Repetition in Dance Mastery
There's a reason why the adage "practice makes perfect" has stood the test of time. Repetition is the cornerstone of any learning process, dance included. When we repeat a dance move, we're not just going through the motions; we're reinforcing the neural pathways in our brain, making it easier for us to execute the movement in the future.
Expecting to master a dance move after a single class is akin to expecting to play a musical instrument flawlessly after one lesson. Mastery requires time, patience, and consistent practice.
The repetition must be done with the correct moves or else, you will be practising wrong things and will be reinforcing your mistakes. This is where guided instruction is crucial.
3. The Value of Guided Instruction
While repetition is vital, it's equally important to ensure that we are practicing correctly. This is where the role of a dance instructor becomes invaluable. A skilled instructor provides feedback, corrects mistakes, and offers guidance, ensuring that students are not just repeating but repeating correctly.
Once you get all the information you need and you understand how to practise on your own then it is safe to do it yourself.
I can take the example of lifting weight. At the beginning it is crucial to have a personal trainer help us understanding and mastering the move before it is safe to go ahead and train on our own.
A Dance Journey is a Marathon, Not a Sprint
The allure of instant gratification is undeniable. However, in the world of dance, there's no magic class or pill that can replace the value of consistent guidance and repetition. As students, it's essential to approach dance with an open mind, understanding that improvement is a gradual process. And as educators, it's our responsibility to set realistic expectations, guiding our students every step of the way.
Remember, dance is not just about the destination but the journey. Embrace every step, every stumble, and every triumph, for they are all integral parts of the beautiful dance of life.
Start your dance Journey in Singapore at Caliente!