Do you ever arrive at a dance eager to do what you learned at your last lesson—only to discover that you can’t remember what you did? All of us, at one time or another, forget things. We even forget things that we are excited about, like new moves or styling variations. But, it’s possible to remember more without having to review more, as long as you review at the right times. In this article we will give you 5 tips to help you remember your patterns.
5 Tips to help remember your patterns
#1 – Take Notes or a Video
It’s often helpful to have a small notepad with you so that you can jot down some notes about the patterns you just learned. What is name of the pattern? What are the lead and follow techniques? What is the count for each dance pattern? By writing down some notes, your mind creates a stronger memory for that dance pattern. A quick cell phone video will also be a big help. Lots of students this trick to remember patterns. Learn how to use technology to improve your dancing.
#2 – Practice New Dance Steps Immediately and Often
Chances are that if you do not review your new patterns immediately after a lesson or at least on the same day, you will most likely forget it. Right after class is over, take a few min break then come back to the pattern and try it again. This will help groove the memory for easy recall. A few time per week try to walk through your pattern at least once to keep the memory fresh.
#3 – Use Visualization
Many Olympic athletes routinely use visualization to perfect their sports performance and you can do the same for your dancing. Simply relax, play some music and start to visualize in detail how you are going to dance to the music. Think about those cool moves that you just learned and visualize yourself dancing those dance steps to the music. Visualization is an extremely powerful technique that allows you to rehearse your patterns in your head before you ever step out on the dance floor.
#4 – Remember the Basic in Your Pattern
Each move has a basic. Is you new move based off of a push, pass, tuck or turn? Remember what basic the pattern is built on and then try to find the thing that makes that move different. What makes this move unique. If you can remember that key difference it will be easier to recall and then lead the new pattern! Do you know your basic patterns? Review them here
#5 – Teach Someone Else
This isn’t for everyone but teaching someone else or practicing with a partner is a great way to remember! When you are teaching, you are forced to think back and remember all of those lead and follow techniques that you were taught in class. By verbally teaching a dance move, your mind quickly transitions from the mindset of “I can’t remember the dance move” to “I remember the dance move and can teach it to someone else”. This is a powerful shift in thinking
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There has been a lot of psychological research on memory. There are several kinds of memory: working memory, which is what you’re thinking about right now in order to read this post; short-term memory, which is the stuff you’re holding in the your mind right now (like why you chose to read this post), and long-term memory, which is material you can retrieve when you need it. Learning is a process of moving information from your working memory into short-term memory and then consolidating it in your long-term memory.
Although everyone knows that reviewing information helps build your long-term memory, a lot of people don’t know that you can move information into long-term memory more efficiently if you review at the right times. This concept, known as “spaced repetition,” is used in a wide variety of domains, from foreign language to animal training. This post will show you how you can use spaced repetition to remember more in dancing. The key times are: 10 minutes, one hour, one day, five days, and one month.
10 Minutes: The First Reminder
If you’ve been working on a movement in class or a private lesson, you won’t forget it instantly. But, your memory will start to fade unless you reactivate that knowledge. You should do a quick review about 10 minutes after you are done practicing. In other words, right before you leave the studio or right after you get home, go through what you worked on. Practicing in class, taking a 10-minute break, and then reviewing requires you to refresh your short-term and working memory, which makes it more likely that the information will stay in your long-term memory.
One Hour: Building a Memory
After an hour, your brain has drifted onto something else. As a result, reviewing after an hour forces your brain to retrieve the information from your long-term memory. One hour is still recent enough that even a weak memory won’t have faded entirely, so reviewing now reinforces your new knowledge. The result is that you go from having a weak long-term memory, which is in the process of fading, to a newly strengthened long-term memory.
One Day: Making It Stand Out
By the end of the first day, you will have had at least three exposures to the material: once when you first learned it, once during your 10-minute review, and once at your one-hour review. At this point, the long-term memory is there. The big question is whether you will be able to retrieve the information easily. Another review sometime during the next day makes the information stand out from everything else you did the day that you first learned the material. Doing a one-day review thus makes it much easier to recall what you learned. For most people, doing these four reviews is enough to establish the memory solidly.
Five Days and One Month: Keeping It Alive
The reviews at the five-day mark and the one-month mark are much more flexible because you already have established a strong long-term memory. These reviews make sure that you keep using that memory so it doesn’t fade away. By reviewing your new knowledge periodically, you make sure that the memory stays alive.
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