It’s great to see students all over the world taking the initiative to practice on their own. Practice of personal movement skills is part of a balanced diet of partner dance learning and skill development, regardless of your ambition level.
We are strong advocates of “homework”: once you learn your skills in your lesson, you need hours of repetition time in order to automate it into your body.
BUT: Practice does not make perfect; practice makes permanent, which means that your dance practice homework is only worth it if it is authentic, meaningful, and appropriate for you.
As a certified educator and coach, I’m going to get a little nerdy here and talk about how learning works and how drills can make or break your dance.
We train both dancers and teachers in the Swing Literacy programs how to think critically and analyze the drills and advice they hear, rather than accepting them at face value.
Around the world, when it comes to drills, we’ve seen (and heard about) the good, the bad, and the ugly. Here’s how to think critically about the drills you are considering. Be sure to read to the end for a juicy treat!
What exactly a drill IS:
A drill is the repetitive practice of an isolated element of a larger game or activity.
Drills isolate a particular movement or skill from its context in order to create manipulatable conditions that allow for focus and feedback without distractions.