When All You Have is Solo Practice

More than a week has gone by since I won my World Champion title. I’m still smiling about it, but I have come back down to Earth from Cloud Nine. The grass looks greener on this side. As eager as I am to get going on the next chapter of my dance journey, I’m forced to wait. Teacher had to cancel my lesson this past week and then he left for Nationals. Hopefully, nothing will get in the way of my lesson this coming week, especially since I only have one per week now.

This delay also means that I have two weekends of solo practice with no lessons in between. I like being able to check in with Teacher at our lessons during the week to keep him up-to-date on what I’m practicing and resolve any questions or issues. The lessons and solo practice build on each other, which is partly how I’ve made so much progress with only one major practice session per week. I discuss this idea in the Solo Practice Guide. It’s important to keep your teacher involved in your solo practice. They can guide you on what to focus on, review any trouble spots during lessons, and use lessons to expand and build on what you’ve been practicing. Your time with your teacher and your time spent practicing on your own should be not isolated aspects of your dance training. They’re like two sides of the same coin.

It can be challenging when all you have is solo practice because your teacher is unavailable. I was thinking about what I should practice tomorrow for the last couple days, and admittedly, I felt a little stumped. I would do what I normally do: review my choreography as a warm-up round and then focus on the technique or styling of one or two of the dances, but now that I have a World title in closed silver, I’m pretty sure we’re retiring these routines and moving up. So what do I practice?

I need new material to work with, but until my next lesson with Teacher, I obviously don’t know what our new routines will be. Then I realized I actually do have plenty of material because I have DancesportPlace.com*. Their video library is full of different topics to explore. I was browsing videos today under the American Smooth category and I’ve been inspired to work on my body awareness and alignment tomorrow. I’ll still use my silver routines to warm up and get my body dancing, and then it will be a lot of slow motion drills to really tap into and align the different parts of my body.

Some of the videos I watched:

I’m used to having specific routines to practice, but there is more to dancing than choreography! I’m glad I have Dancesport Place* to reference and gain ideas on what I can focus on while I wait for my next lesson with Teacher. I may also go back into my archive of videos I recorded of Teacher demonstrating drills during our lessons. When I really stop to think about it, I have so many options for tomorrow’s practice!

That covers the logistics, and now a note on the mental landscape, since there’s always something going on there. I don’t know about you, but for me, any longer than a week between lessons is too long. I start going through ballroom withdrawal, even with my solo practice, because ballroom is a partner dance and I miss dancing with my partner. It gets easier to become bored or unmotivated to practice when I haven’t had a lesson in awhile. To combat that, I try to take the longer view. I have goals and dreams that go beyond having a lesson and dancing with Teacher every week. Those bigger reasons for dancing help me keep going when I’m on my own for an extended period of time. It always comes back to the “why”! This week, I also substituted in a couple Zumba classes, so I could let loose and have some fun dancing, rather than only having my solo practice as my dance time.

I’ve also thought about trying to get out to do more social dancing in the next few months while I only have one lesson per week. We’ll see. I admit I have mixed feelings about it. It was different when I was part of a more social studio that had frequent practice parties. It felt like meeting up with a bunch of friends. Now I’d have to go to other studios in the area and sometimes I feel like I’m crashing someone else’s party. It’s all in my introverted, socially awkward head, but I’ve also been to parties where no one asked me to dance probably because I was the stranger in a crowd of friends. Maybe that will be a topic for another blog post, but like I said, we’ll see. I certainly won’t stay the stranger if I keep going back!

I have to mention too that I’ve been amazed at the fact that I haven’t experienced any post-comp blues since Embassy! Winning could actually have made the crash worse because I’d be falling from a greater height. But nothing. Instead I’ve experienced this nice, gentle float back down to an Earth with a bluer sky and greener pastures. My demons must be so annoyed. 😉


*P.S. – I’m an affiliate partner of DancesportPlace.com so if you follow my link and take action, I’ll earn a commission at no additional cost to you. I really do love their videos! I wouldn’t partner with something or someone I don’t believe in.

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