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How Many Hours Should You Practice?

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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.

Beginner 

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

Intermediate

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

Advanced

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

Pro 

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!

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Interview: Wojciech Furman Brings The Fighting Monkey Practice Concepts In Dancesport

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Matteo: How did you get in touch with dancesport?

Wojciech: I’m connected with dancesport at a very young age. It was more or less a 16 years journey. But actually, for me it has never ended. I competed mainly on a national level and then started teaching Standard. 

I didn’t achieve any spectacular results as a competitive dancer. Probably the best one was the Semifinal U21 at the Polish Championships or the Final in Junior 10 dances at the Polish Open Championships. Nevertheless, I fell deeply in love with dancesport and teaching was like a rebirth of this relationship.

Interview: Wojciech Furman Brings The Fighting Monkey Practice Concepts In Dancesport

Matteo: You started to develop a new kind of training for dancers. Where did it come from and why do you believe it’s effective in dancesport?

Wojciech: It came from my huge fascination with Fighting Monkey Practice by Jozef Frucek and Linda Kapetanea. 

«Fighting Monkey is an applied practice for human development through movement».

The learning process in dancesport is quite academic, but the world of movement has much more to offer. In short terms, the training process should be maximally effective, providing immediate results. 

I understand the reason and I’m not here to judge, but I think that this orientation has its consequences. As the creator of the BMC (Body Mind Centering) said: “What you look for and the way you look for it will determine the kind of answer you get”. 

Speaking about consequences, there is a moment when it could be very hard to take your dancing to the next level with that approach. There is a moment where nobody can teach you literally the complexity that is happening inside of your body

What I’m trying to do is to propose a certain frame, establish situations and circumstances in which you can evolve. My experience in contemporary dance and movement culture along with being inspired by Fighting Monkey naturally led me to this idea of adapting this practice to dancesport reality. 

Check out this video to watch an introduction to one of the Fighting Monkey Concepts:

Matteo: Can you give us some examples of the exercises included in your training?

Wojciech: The training is quite complex, plastic, alive, evolving with me, my ideas and my observations. It’s quite complex to write in the details about it, but I’ll try to give a general overview of it.

Interview: Wojciech Furman Brings The Fighting Monkey Practice Concepts In Dancesport

Let’s start from abstract tools: 

  • the practice ball – a tennis ball on a string 
  • wooden sticks or small wooden blocks. 

Other methods I use are body-body games/tasks and coordination drills. I also work a little with a topic of observing your structure, your current state through fixed, mindful movements, which comes from Fighting Monkey section called “zero forms”. 

Fighting Monkey practice lets you observe your mechanics in order to improve your structural integrity and neutral communication. It’s meant to refine your performance through irregularity and complexity – exactly what you see on the dance floor. 

Paraphrasing the Fighting Monkey creator: we want to build a body structure that is interconnected in an adaptable way by establishing open connections that are ready to transport information to the entire structure of yourself and your partner.

Matteo: How do dancers react to this kind of training? Do they see improvements once they do your exercises regularly?

Interview: Wojciech Furman Brings The Fighting Monkey Practice Concepts In Dancesport

Wojciech: So far, I only worked with couples in a workshop format. This means that I don’t supervise them after. What’s crucial is that I need, especially from dance trainers, a bit of trust in something that is unknown or different. 

Those who believed me so far and gave me the opportunity to apply these ideas really made me proud. It also gave me the possibility to develop and improve the overall project even more.

I made a study on a small group of dancers as a part of my Bachelor thesis. They attended a workshop with me and after, I asked them some questions in an anonymous form. 

Let me share some of the findings with you:

  • Do you think that this kind of training has an impact on better awareness of mechanics of your body in ballroom dancing?
    • 100% of positive feedback (71% definitely yes, 29% rather yes).
  • Do you think that this training has an impact on better sensing and organizing your body in ballroom dancing?
    • 100% of positive feedback (43% definitely yes, 57% rather yes).
  • Do you think that this kind of training has a positive impact on technical aspects/movement qualities required in ballroom dancing?
    • 86% of positive feedback (43% definitely yes, 43% rather yes).

 

There was also an open question: “What are your feelings about training inspired by Fighting Monkey Practice in Ballroom Dancing?

Here some of the answers: 

«Fighting Monkey’s practice will help me for sure in perfecting ballroom dancing. Despite difficult tasks, I’m happy about taking part in these classes. I know that they’ve brought me a lot of benefits. I will happily take part in the next Fighting Monkey workshops.»

«I think that it can really develop a dancer’s skill. The training gives you the feeling of being focused on yourself and your body from a different perspective than in a typical training. It teaches you the control but also the freedom of the movement.»

«Positive. It connects all aspects in one. A lot of tools that don’t diverge from the main style.»

Matteo: Would you suggest any dance teacher to include in their teaching system this kind of training? 

Wojciech: Surely! My ideas are not here to change a technique but to explore it, to expand it, to rethink it. 

I encourage teachers and dancers to explore it as a community. At the same time, give a sense of independence to your students. Fighting Monkey serves as a platform which gives you a quality of observation, so you can get valuable feedback. 

Another important aspect is prehabilitation – building “earthquake architecture”, offering a proprioceptive variability to your joints and state of play to your mind. Like this, you’ll avoid burn out and keep your freshness. Diversity breeds immunity

Interview: Wojciech Furman Brings The Fighting Monkey Practice Concepts In Dancesport

Matteo: On what should dancers focus their training to get the most out of it and to develop constantly, without any “ups and downs”?

Wojciech: Firstly, as far as I know, it’s impossible to develop without “ups and downs”. Let’s be honest and just take your time. Secondly, to get the most out of your training is not the same as developing constantly without “ups and downs”. 

Jozef likes to tell the story about going on a journey up a mountain, let me quote it from the brand new, unpublished to the public, Fighting Monkey book:

“How will we go about this journey? We like to move forward in a good pace, happy to see results, we like to be first, special, different and better than others. I hardly ever hear anyone saying “I take my time”. It does not matter how long it takes. Yet, we are in a hurry, stressfully looking for maps to advance faster. We want to get there now, and to do so we are told that we need to be efficient. But in order to be efficient we need the maps of other people, fast highways that others have created for us, highways that take the straightest possible way. Without rest, we just go. We try to stay focused, invest time, know what we are doing, look for how to get to the top of that mountain as soon as possible. I call it “flower practice”. Results are quick, beautiful with many colors and shapes, often very impressive, but the flower fades away also very quickly. We all know it. No, you can not hack the system and speed up things, it will result in failure, severe injury, and deficiency.[…]”.

I like this perspective that the great athletes are great not because of their “effectiveness”, but because of the love for what they do. This love made them want to explore, to look out for the best solutions, and to dig deeper.

I know that all of this may sound poetic, but that’s a good thing, as I don’t want to be only physical and I hope dancers wish this too. We are all artists in the end.

What I would like to suggest to all dancesport enthusiasts is to not be afraid to explore and to improvise. You should shut down the automatic pilot and don’t settle on the answers that were handed to you – always question yourself. Like so maybe, you’ll enhance your dance and refine your performance.

Explore more about Fighting Monkey in dancesport:

  • Tennis ball exercise.
  • Wood sticks and tennis ball exercise.
  • Latin-American dancers practice Fighting Monkeys concepts.
  • Tennis ball exercise on one leg.
  • More exercises with tennis balls and wood sticks.

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30 Funny Dancesport Realities

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1. Dancing in heels should count as a superpower.

2. Your partner’s face is immune to ponytail whipping.

3. Ruined bedsheets by fake tan. 

4. There is no such thing as too much gel of hairspray

5. You learned to do a full face make-up way before any of your non-dancer friends.

6. You can always pull off a sleeked back hair. 

7. When you learn all the names from the Swarowsky stones palette. 

8. Your teacher uses noises instead of counting.

9. “Let’s do it one more time” is a huge lie. 

10. Your dance wardrobe is bigger than the “street clothes” wardrobe. 

11. Finding stones in weird places. 

12. Definitely “and” is a number! 

13. Choreographing every song you listen to.

14. Practicing your connection when you open every door.

15. Feeling your center every time you stand still.

16. Being ace at faking confidence. 

17. Everyone telling you that you seem arrogant. 

18. When everyone assumes you are dating your dance partner. 

19. You know what “Davai” means even if you’re not Russian. 

20. You learned how to treat a lady from a young age. 

21. You say 5,6,7,8 instead of “ready, set, go”.

22. When the teacher puts you in a position and it feels weird, but you actually look amazing. 

23. You cannot walk without moving my hips.

24. Quickstep can be a combat sport. 

25. People whp you follow on Instagram: 5% friends, 5% family, 90% other dancers.

26. That mini heart-attack when you don’t find your partner before the Round.

27. Total brain freeze when the teacher asks “What’s the count there?”

28. Latin dancers do not simply practice without watering their shoes every 5 minutes.

29. Always misplacing your shoe brush. 

30. Restoning missing stones on your dress/shirt is pure relaxation.

 

                                                                                     OR

Just spending 3+ hours on @dancesportlife page when you should be studying instead!

 

 

Leave us in the comment section below what are your most relatable dancesport realities!

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German Open Championships 2019

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The biggest and most awaited World DanceSport Federation (WDSF) event of the year has now been archived with more than 4,000 registrations, 58 present nations, and 45 different competitions. Once again, the 33rd edition of the German Open Championships 2019 gave people unique sentiments to remember for a long time.

The Professional Division

The competition week started with the WDSF PD Super Grand Prix Latin. Gabriele Goffredo and Anna Matus confirmed to the world that they are, without a doubt, number one in their category, boasting a near ten-point gap between them and Marts Smolko and Tina Bazykina, the runners up.

German Open Championships 2019

Not only was a night full of energy and sparkles, but of strong emotions too, as Alexandr Shmonin and Maria Shmonina announced their retirement from their competitive careers.

Day after day, the feelings grew to their highest peak, when Dmitry Zharkov and Olga Kulikova performed outstandingly on the floor of the Beethoven Saal – the same floor that saw them win the Amateur title twice, in both 2017 and 2018. 

German Open Championships 2019

“Today we felt really free mentally, and it made us fly. The main importance to us was to dance: to dance really from the bottom of our hearts, and we loved it!”
Dmitry Zharkov & Olga Kulikova
-after winning their first PD Super Grand Prix Standard

The Amateur Competitions

Standard

The amazing performances of the pros fired up the Amateurs’ atmosphere in the last two days of the German Open Championships 2019. It’s tough to surprise the public with marvelous dancing after a lineup of professionals. Nevertheless, the top amateur couples weren’t worried at all.

On Friday, the title of the Grand Slam Standard Champions went to Evaldas Sodeika and Ieva Zukauskaite, who earned a standing ovation after their spectacular Quickstep. Therefore, the adjudicators noted it more than a full point higher than that of the runners-up, Francesco Galuppo & Debora Pacini

German Open Championships 2019

The real fight, though, was between Moshenin-Spitsyna and Glukhov-Glazunova for the bronze medal. In the end, Evgeny Moshenin and Dana Spitsyna got the third place by only 0.169 points!

Latin

At the German Open Championships, Saturday night rhymes with latin night! 

This time was a special edition for the home public; two German couples claimed the highest podium steps. Nonetheless, Marius-Andrei Balan and Khrystyna Moshenska confirmed their title with their unique and passionate dancing. Still, Timur Imametdinov and Nina Bezzubova – the silver medalists – put on a stunning show as well. 

German Open Championships 2019

Why are the German Open Championships so special?

The German Open Championships holds a very special place in dancers’ hearts. It might be because of the beautiful venue, the orchestra, or the importance that this event has gained over the course of its rich history. 

Whatever the reason, what really matters to those who love dancesport is being part of it and experiencing the feelings that can only be given to you by the German Open Championships.

The Medal Table

 

   🥇

   🥈

   🥉

1. Russian Federation

      17

       9

       9

2. Germany

        5

       6

       3

3. Moldova

        5

       4

       2

4. Italy 

        3

       4

       6

5. P. R. China

        3

       5

       0

6. Romania

        1

       4

       4

7. Latvia 

        2 

       2

       2

8. France

        1 

       2

       2

9. Lithuania

        1

       1

       3

10. Slovakia

        2

       1

       0

11. Japan

        0

       2

       2

12. Norway

        2

       0

       0

13. Spain

        1 

       0

       2

14. Canada

        0

       1 

       2

15. Finland

        0

       2

       0

16. USA

        1   

       0

       0

17. Netherlands  

        0

       0

       2

17. Spain

        0

       0

       2

19. Austria

        0

       0 

       1

19. Bulgaria

        0

       0

       1

19. Thailand

        0

       0

       1

Useful Links

  • Official GOC website
  • German Open Championships 2019 Results
  • WDSF Official Results
 
If you are really curious to find out more about some of the names mentioned in this article, make sure to check Dancesportlife’s interviews at the Bucharest Grand Slam.

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