How You Should Practice After Learning A Piece

Beginner Guides

How You Should Practice After Learning A Piece

Charise Roberts
January 23, 2024
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It’s the end of the night. You just came back from a refreshing dance class – learning, performing, and hanging out with your dance friends.

But the experience doesn’t end there – You can keep learning from a dance class even after it’s over!

Here are some tips on how you should practice after learning a piece, in order to get the most growth possible.

1. Break down the music

Choreographers emphasize specific points in the music when they dance.

For example, a move could be hitting a bass that’s buried within snares, or follow the melody of the singer’s voice.

Learn about ALL the elements that make up a song here: The Ultimate Guide To Musicality

When you listen to the song in class, you might not be able to hear the same things that the choreographer heard and danced to.

To practice after learning a piece, find the song after the class, put on some earphones (it helps to find those hidden sounds), and dissect the song carefully.

You will be able to hear every single part of the song and bunderstand how to translate it visually.

Once you have a better understanding of the music, you will also be more comfortable with the dance.

2. Take it section by section

It’s totally fine if you can’t get it the piece on the first day you learn it, or even the second day when you practice it.

You’re practicing for yourself, not competing with anyone! Review the piece section by section, slowly going through each picture and pathway.

Then, pick up the tempo when you feel comfortable enough to do so.

This is how you “clean yourself.” Get more tips on How To Be A Cleaner Dancer

You only get an hour to learn in class, but when you practice after learning a piece, you can give yourself all the time you need to really absorb and perfect the movement.

Remember the choreographer’s tips to practice based on their notes. Keep a positive mind and stay at it no matter how many times it takes.

Repetition is the key to “getting it.”

3. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable

You might learn moves in class that feel foreign and uncomfortable. However, that should not be the cue to just half-do them until you reach a combo you like.

Challenge yourself! You will never be able to grow if you stay chillin’ in your comfort zone.

As you keep practicing new and unfamiliar movements, you will gain a better sense of confidence in your body and you will gradually learn to trust your body more.

This video talks about committing to each move you do, no matter how uncomfortable it first feels. Watch and take note!

4. Recognize the color of the piece

No, not the color of the choreographer’s shirt, but the textures of the choreographer’s movements.

Different intentions and vibes can completely change the way the dance is perceived, so pay close attention to how the choreographer describes each and every move.

Rather than just seeing and knowing what the move is, it’s better to experience it.

If the choreographer wants to express happiness, then it doesn’t make sense for you to practice it expressing pain.

For example, Bam Martin’s hood “color” is a lot different from Deziree Del Rosario’s intimate “color,”

And Jeffrey Caluag’s powerful, hype “color” is so different from Julian Sena’s upbeat, funky “color.”

Usually, the choreographer will explain the story behind the piece.

To practice after learning a piece, keep that story in mind as you are practicing to dance it as if you’re part of that story.

5. Have a recording of the choreographer doing the piece

It’s always helpful to have a guide when you practice. Bakers have recipes as guidelines that help them make the perfect cake.

If they just threw a bunch of random ingredients together, then the cake wouldn’t be so good...

When you’re trying to practice a piece, it helps to have that recipe book, too – a video!

Find or take a recording of the choreographer doing their own piece at the end of the class.

(***But remember to always ask the choreographer if it’s okay to record them – etiquette first!) Take a recording of yourself doing the piece, too!

Especially if you don’t have a mirror or just a tiny one at home – recording yourself can help you see how you are executing the piece in comparison with the choreographer.

The goal is not to be a carbon copy of the choreographer, but to have a reference for their execution, musicality, and performance.

As you observe yourself dancing, you will get a better sense of your strengths and weaknesses, which will help you target what to practice.

There is always more to learn from a class than during the 1.5 hours it is taught.

Take it upon yourself to make the most out of each experience by practicing after learning a piece! We hope these tips help you grow more and more and more!

How do you practice after taking a class? Comment below and share your tips!