Timeline of a Dance Lesson You Haven’t Practiced For

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Stephen Marino

Here you are, at the studio again. It seems like just yesterday you were here. Unfortunately, you weren’t here yesterday, or the day before that, or really any time since your last lesson. And there’s that competition coming up in three weeks that you’re kind of ready for. But here you are: about to hit the dance floor, unpracticed, since your previous lesson.

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WITHIN SECONDS:

Your coach knows what’s up when you look too apprehensive about a “warm-up dance”.

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WITHIN A MINUTE:

Whether you’re dancing with your pro or for your pro with your partner, the word “unrehearsed” is screaming from your body language and choreography. Nothing is quite bad, but your movement is not as smooth as usual and nothing is improved for sure.

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AFTER ONE MINUTE:

Considering this is one of your first infractions against the rules of dancing [practicing is a must], your teacher lets you finish the dance (partly out of spite and partly to see how bad it can get for reference).

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WITHIN TWO MINUTES:

You cringe and wait quietly as your coach turns off the music and slowly runs her hands down her face while looking at the ceiling, takes a very deep breath, and collects her thoughts, which are:

How many words can I use for “collecting”? Gathering, pulling, squeezing, draw in, something about magnets attracting each other… Okay, I got a few.
Can I make it sound new and fun? Or at least not boring?
How many exercises have I made him do to practice it? I still got a couple left.
“Okay, let’s get started!” she cheerfully says, albeit villainously planning torture for the next 43 minutes.

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12 MINUTES INTO YOUR LESSON:

You are sweating profusely as your teacher has found a “fun new exercise” that “really wakes up your muscles” [that you would have used if you would have practiced in the last 6 days] and yet you’re barely moving. She keeps saying “One More Time”, but you think it’s a little bit of a carrot-on-a-string trick after hearing that seven times.

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AFTER 27 MINUTES:

You’re really regretting watching that fourth episode of Game of Thrones and blowing off practice instead of getting off the couch and hitting the boards as you repeat the hardest part of your routine for the twelfth time.

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MINUTE 38:

Your pro is amazed at her own creativity in getting some great movement out of her non-practicing, rascally student. While she’s rather peeved that she couldn’t move on to the new material you had been almost ready for last week [and would have been ready for if you had rehearsed], she feels like you really understand that one technique she’s been pounding into you, how she can tell when you don’t practice, and how important it is to practice if you want to progress.

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42 MINUTES LATER:

Your teacher is very succinctly reviewing the techniques and exercises you performed on your lesson and she is explicitly telling you what to practice before your next lesson with her.

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AFTER 45 MINUTES:

You thank your coach profusely, head over to a seat to take notes, but mostly importantly, schedule your practice sessions for the next two weeks. Even if it’s 15 minutes here and there, you know you can get some focused time to review the material you just worked on.

Author: Kate Bratt [Riot & Frolic]
Photography: Stephen Marino Photography
Exclusively for Dance Comp Review

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