Do You Know How Many Hours Should You Practice?
In this article, you’ll discover what to consider when planning your practice hours, taking your skill level and goals into consideration.
Practice What You Learn
As with any sport, your time spent practicing is as important as the information you receive from your teachers. It’s unreasonable to expect great results if you neglect training with a coach, but you can neither expect to reach the top position in a competition if you don’t practice further on your own.
This, though, is the only generalized statement I can make on the subject; the following advice is personalized.
Recreational or Competitive
First things first: define your approach to dancing.
Do you dance only for the fun of it? Perhaps you like to attend a few classes per week just as a recreational hobby. If that is the case, then the program you find at your local dance school is perfect for you. With a couple of lessons per week, you’ll receive basic notions that will introduce you to different dances at your own pace. You can enjoy time away from your everyday routine.
If you’ve moved further and have begun more regular practice, maybe you’re thinking of participating in competitions in the future… If dancesport is your primary activity, keep reading!
Different Levels, Different Needs
Let’s outline what I mean by the four following competitive stages:
- The beginner is a dancer who—no matter the age group—is at the starting point of their competitive career.
- Intermediate is the stage when you’ve danced in several competitions and have started to receive good results. You practice regularly.
- An advanced dancer dedicates all their time to dancesport, apart from school or work. They’re aiming for very high results.
- Pro dancers have made dancesport their life—it’s as simple as that.
For the beginner dancer, it’s very important to avoid overload. The body and the mind are not yet ready for a huge amount of technical information or physical hours on the dance floor. Keep it simple and work gradually.
At first, you mostly need to develop your coordination and learn the basic principles of each dance. Thus, just a couple of hours of dance per day, 3 or 4 times a week is a good starting point.
Estimation: 6-8 hours per week
The intermediate dancer must surely practice more than a beginner. At this stage, your confidence on the floor makes the biggest impact on your performance. By now, you should have the correct technique, physical endurance, good floor craft, and a relatively good connection with your partner.
You can only achieve these skills through many hours of practice, including stamina training and specific group lessons intended to make your skills more competitive.
Estimation: 8-12 hours per week
For the advanced dancer, there is nothing else but dancing. Of course, you attend school or to work, but otherwise, your focus is on the development of your dance career.
It’s difficult to estimate how much time you should spend practicing if you’re at this stage; it looks different for everyone. Nevertheless, I can say that you should practice every day, with only one day off per week—ideally about 3-4 hours per day.
Your program should include:
- private lessons
- practice sessions
- stamina practice
- group lessons
How you use this time and how effective it will be for you is up to you and your coaches. Ask for suggestions and try to find which kind of practice gives you the best results.
Estimation: 15-24 hours per week
The pro dancer really needs no suggestions. If dancesport is your life, you basically eat, sleep, and breathe dancing. Everything rotates around it; the schedule of your lessons is the schedule of your day. You eat when you have a break and you sleep when you aren’t in the dance studio.
At this point, what matters most is the effectiveness of the training. Choosing the right kind of practice, working out the correct concepts, and establishing the perfect relationship with your partner are much more crucial than the clocked time.
Estimation: ∞ hours per life
Every dancer has different habits and different needs. Take the time to find what works best for you!
PREMIUN COUPLES INTERNATIONAL PROGRAM* Media Sponsoring for Juvenile & Junior International Couples
DANCESPORT NEWS. info is strongly determined to support the Juvenile 1 and 2 and Junior 1 and 2 couples who have more projection for an international dancesport career.
To do this, we put at your disposal, following some criteria, a SPONSORING based on media support and a series of aids that will allow you to find more sponsors (clothes, footwear, travel, training expenses, etc.) to cover the international competitive activity.
We, with our SPONSOTIZATION linked to a personalized Media Plan for each couple, help make that happen, but we also get involved with our contacts to get other sponsors directly for those couples.
Our Media Plan consists in the first place, once the proposal of a couple by our technical team is accepted, to allow it to become part of that DANCESPORT COUPLES PREMIUM CLUB, which will mean a MEDIATIC MONITORING of that couple: Competitions, Results, interview, etc.
We will make POST weekly/MONTHLY of each PREMIUM COUPLE (posts, news, interview, articles that will generate thousands of impacts or readings), to inform and make known their trajectory and facilitate the search of SPONSORS and the performance before them. Not only in DANCESPORT NEWS but also in all social nets.
That media support through these POSTS will allow thousands of VIEWS for the couple and performance for the SPONSORS.
The approximate REQUIREMENTS to be accepted the CANDIDATURA a PREMIUM COUPLE is:
– Belonging to the age group Juvenile 1, Juvenile 2, Junior 1, Junior 2.
-To have or pretend to have a marked international competitive activity.
-To have projection: for this we need a technical report from a minimum of 2 coaches with national / international license.
-If they are elected, commit to inform regularly and with more information (photos, information, etc.) of their activities, training, competitions. etc.) so that there is always enough material to generate articles or news about the couple.
-Only there will be 1 couple by age category and country (DANCESPORT NEWS reserves the right to make an exception) to obtain 100% our mediatic sponsoring. Another possibilities for 50% mediatic sponsoring are possible.
– Wear in your competition dress as well as in his tracksuit both he and she, the LOGO of DANCESPORT NEWS.
-Once a year (probably in January at the beginning of new season) we will have a meeting -CAMP- of 3-5 days all the PREMIUM COUPLE, in a place that will be determined with sufficient anticipation making it coincide with an international competition. In this CAMP the children will have the accommodation expenses covered by DANCESPORTNEWS. It will serve to make an INTERNATIONAL PREMIUM COUPLES TEAM, where it will also generate camaraderie and playful activities like costume party, visits to theme parks, etc. (parents and trainers of course may come).
The parents / coaches of the interested couples should send a TECHNICAL DOSSIER with a series of characteristics. You can request more information by email to firstname.lastname@example.org putting in the SUBJECT «INTERNATIONAL PREMIUM PROGRAM COUPLES».
THE SPEED AND THE «SPECIAL EFFECTS» ENEMIES OF ADVANCEMENT IN DANCESPORT. ANALOGIES PIANO vs TENNIS vs DANCESPORT
Go ahead the recognition that, even enthusiastic follower and apprentice of this our magnificent discipline, the DANCESPORT, I do not pretend because I can not teach anyone. But I can collaborate, I think, promoting reflection.
In other disciplines that I do know more thoroughly, such as Piano and Tennis, share the same basic principles to which I am going to refer for DANCESPORT: the PRECIPITATION at the time of proceeding to the stage of making the movements in a FAST, EXPLOSIVE way, without -not much less-, being the chosen moment mostly the appropriate one.
I see in Dancesport what I see also in many pianists and tennis players apprentices or in delevoping process They want to be fully employed immediately, and play as a professional.
That is precisely the seriuos mistake of which I humbly claim attention. SPEED -for developing athletes- is the ENEMY not only of PERFECTION, but also of PROGRESSION.
With the SPEED, EVERYTHING is PRECIPITATIVE, and the technique is «DIRTIED AND DAMAGED».
In the learning of a movement it is necessary to take to the limit the CONCEPT OF NEAT REPETITION, knowing what one does, controlling the movement deforms slowly and mentally «recording in the mind its execution». For this it is necessary to develop the movements in a SLOW, PAUSED manner and NOT PRECIPITATE THE QUICK EXECUTION PHASE UNTIL YOU HAVE SET THE MOVEMENT TECHNIQUE TO THE SACITY AND BEYOND, THROUGH THE REPETITION!
Speed can only and should arrive at Dancesport as a result of control and mastery of the technique.
DIDACTICS AND METHODOLOGY IN THE PIANO´S WORLD
I will start by trying to explain using what happens with the practice of piano.
Imagine a piece of high speed. For example, the Revolutionary Study of Chopin, in C minor Op. No. 10.
It is an EPIC piece, highly complex, mainly due to its high speed. The composer said that Tempo should be ALLEGRO CON FUOCO !!! Alegro with fire! (It is called Revolutionary because the author transmitted in the piece his willingness to support the Revolution of the Polish Cadets against the Russian authority in which he could not participate because of his health problems).
The complexity of the piece is to play it at such speed, taking into account also that the protagonist of the piece is mostly the left hand that has literally «to fly» with millimeter precision playing dozens of notes in fractions of a second.
The Musical Tempos marked by a composer in a musical work, from slow to fast, may be the following:
Largo 40-60 beats per minute (usually black (quarter) note).
Chopin’s piece, being ALLEGRO CON FUOCO, is within the maximum range of ALLEGRO, that is, over 168 blacks (quarter) per minute.
Normally a Pulsation is equivalent to the duration of a quarter note in a compass. The Revolutionary Study of Chopin is written in a Compass 2/4, that is, each compass lasts 2 blacks. And if we look at the Score almost all the notes are SEMIQUAVER (Semi-eighth notes)
In one minute of ALLEGRO CON FUOCO, 84 measures, 168 blacks, 772 SEMIQUAVERS notes.
This means that approximately 11-12 different notes per second are pressed with different fingers!
For their learning, good connoisseurs of the learning methodology know that not only do they have to learn at low speed. You have to «FASTEN» the learning also at low speed and repeat and repeat hundreds of times until you generate «an independent finger memory» in the fingers of each hand, an «automatic and precise automatism».
Low speed is for example half, 168 would be 84 blacks per minute.
Evgeny Kissin, great russian concert pianist, always betting on the best technique refined since childhood, when he already gave concerts and highlighted
(Piano: Evgeny Kissin. For me one of the best perfomances of these piece).
In the second phase, that speed must be increased slowly:
The next week’s trials at 90 speed always starting at 84 the first few times.
The next week to 96 always starting at 84. And so on until reaching 168 several months later.
But the piano players know that even if they are able to play the piece at maximum speed, they should always try it at low speed and play it only a couple of times at maximum. Why? Because the repeated practice at maximum speed messes up the interpretation in the medium term.
DIDACTICS AND METHODOLOGY IN TENNIS WORLD
Not willing to extend too much.
But I am going to refer here to another important collateral aspect in the development of children as future tennis players and we are going to draw an analogy with the development of dancers in Dancesport.
The importance of the technique at early ages.
Tennis is a technical discipline, but in my opinion less than the Dancesport. The difficulty of tennis is to «adapt» body to an external element: the ball. Although for different types of hits (drive and backhand) and subtypes (cut, flat, topspin), and several kind of grips, finally only 4-5 are the «hinges corporations that have to adjust to accommodate the ball and perform the chosen hit».
I sincerely believe, however, that in Dancesport the number of «body hinges» is much greater. Even some of those «hinges» are almost unknown in the movements of a normal life. The Dancesport BIOMECHANICS is extremely complex.
Therefore, I consider that DANCESPORT is the most technical discipline of all the sports I know.
Like all competitive sports, children want to win, parents want their children win, but coaches want to train future champions. However, they are pushed by the «resultadist dynamics». And many of them give in and allow the young players away from the technical purism in order to get good results instantly: win the games.
In fact, until 10-11 years playing competitive games, at least very often, it is worse than better, because to win you end up hitting the ball in a less orthodox way, moving away from the technique that is less still entrenched in the boy.
-Bread for today, hunger for tomorrow-.
The purified Technique is the only KEY or GUARANTEE that the advance in a discipline is infinite.
Only the refined technique will allow the more you train the better you play.
When a tennis player for the sake of winning forgets to hit with the correct technique even if he fails, he will win that match and many more in the next few years, BUT A MOMENT WILL ARRIVE AND THERE will be no evolution.
However, other players who lost but who continued to invest in PURISM Y TECHNIQUE, will reach that level and surpass those who bet on RESULTS and will see them years later «through the rear-view mirror».
In the present, International Dancesport has recognized worldwide the dedication to the refined technique naming Latin World Champions to Armen Tsaturyan & Svetlana Gudyno (main trainer Ilya Danilov) and in Standard dances to Dmitry Zharkov and Olga Kulikova.
Both couples are from Russian school, strongly characterized by betting on the most refined technique and working hard from early ages. That’s where the quality of dance and results comes from.
DANCESPORT & TECHNIQUE
In DANCESPORT, in my opinion, the same thing happens.
In early phases it is ESSENTIAL TO BET FOR THE PURISM, BY THE TECHNIQUE.
Since you start dancing with 4-5-6-7 (Juvenile) years until you are at least 16 years old and you reach YOUTH the priority should be «sow and then collect».
However, in most cases it is not like that.
As DANCESPORT is a competitive sport and you want to win, young dancers tend to perform movements with great energy and speed, without realizing that SPEED MASKS TECHNICAL FAULTS AND PROVIDES THEM AT A TIME.
We see many parents excited about their children seeing «the amount» of dance but not the «quality», because not only do they not understand it, but as a consequence, they are not able to see it. And they encourage their children to make an effort by dancing «loud» «fast» and if it is with «special effects» then better yet. «Bread for today, hunger for tomorrow».
At early ages it is impossible to combine speed and energy, with technique, quality and precision in movement. And it happens just like in the world of tennis. There comes a time that no matter how hard you train, for many hours that you dedicate to it, you will reach a level from there, there will be no possible evolution: bad technique makes further progress impossible. You have reached the border of your capacity because of your lack of technical qualification.
Other dancers in their initial stages, perhaps pressured by the parents or environment, before learning the basics begin to exaggerate the postures and gestures (special effects). It is something that anticipates what is substantial and what makes the focus lose.
I have to admit that I have fallen as a father in that temptation sometimes, but I have the great good fortune to have a son´s teacher who has even more clear than me the principle that I am proposing.
I am aware that in some competitions we have won some couples who danced with a lot of energy (Latin) or that fell more than us but they dismounted up and we did not (standard) and I have not gotten it well, but thanks to our coach we are beginning to collect the fruits of these appropriate didactic and methodology. Be patient, run away from the speed of the moment and bet all the chips of the casino by the Technique. So the future can be yours. Thank you Valera Zaiko for having it so clear and so methodical with my son!
Alex Gascón & Alexandra Zaiko, several times Spanish juvenile and Junior 1 champions and several International Open WDSF Latin & Standard champions.
If you are parents and want the best for your children as dancers of Dancesport, my advice is that you invest everything you can in good teachers and classes.
by Frank Gascón
Next article I will try to investigate and write about «The Ages Learning; Phases».