Making Smaller Circles

September 9, 2015

One of the biggest stumbling blocks to regular practice is boredom. After doing a move 10 or 15 times, you feel like you know it and are ready to move on. Yet pros know that 15 repetitions is barel...

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Faster Learning

Keep a Practice Log

February 4, 2015

There’s a famous business adage that “what gets measured, gets managed.” If you really want to take your practice to the next level, keeping a log of what you did will help you make your sessions m...

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Faster Learning

Good Enough to Practice

October 15, 2014

Most of us think about practice as something we do in order to get good. We practice skills that we don’t have, with the end goal of being able to perform the skill. The truth is, this is only half...

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Faster Learning

After the Workshop

July 2, 2014

You just got home from a great workshop! Right now, you are inspired. You don’t want this workshop to be just like all the others, when in a week you go to social dance and can barely remember what...

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Faster Learning

Ubersense

June 11, 2014

If you want to get serious about evaluating how your dancing looks, then you should check out Ubersense. It’s a free iOS application that lets you take video and break down your movement all on you...

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Faster Learning

Find Your Checkpoints

April 30, 2014

There are some habits that creep out while dancing. It might be your posture—your shoulders eventually roll forward no matter how tall you stood at the start of the dance. Or it might be that you...

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Faster Learning

Start Small

February 19, 2014

How often have you told yourself that you were going to make a change in your life, and then two months later you’re back where you started? All of us have the experience of wanting to do something...

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Faster Learning

Practice the Hard Stuff

October 30, 2013

Have you ever danced at an event and seen someone do something that they couldn’t do just a month or two ago? Our community is full of dancers who seem to improve every chance you seen them out on ...

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Faster Learning

The Kobe Work Ethic

October 2, 2013

Kobe Bryant is—without question—one of the best basketball players of all time. How did he get so good? And can his success teach us anything about become excellent in dance? The Overachiever B...

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Faster Learning

Have you ever watched your dancing and thought, “I didn’t think my [body part] was in such a weird place!”? It’s very common to find your hands, feet, head—and almost any other part of your body...

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Faster Learning

Fail Better

May 1, 2013

In a novella by Nobel Prize-winning author Samuel Beckett, one of the characters shares a thought on failure: Try again. Fail again. Fail better. When we practice, it is tempting to see failure as,...

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Faster Learning

The Cycle of Mastery

January 30, 2013

Learning a complicated ability like dancing west coast swing is not a linear process. Your learning will go through a cycle of mastery, in which you learn a concept and then repeatedly come back to...

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Faster Learning

New Year's Resolutions

December 26, 2012

As the new year approaches, many people make resolutions to change something about their life. Whether your resolution is to dance more or lose weight, there are some simple criteria that can help ...

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Faster Learning

Back to Basics

December 12, 2012

It is no accident that expert performers spend hours practicing the fundamentals of their craft. Every day, NBA players shoot free throws, instrumentalists play their scales, and MLB players take b...

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Faster Learning,

From Error to Bugs

November 21, 2012

Most of us have an error model for our mistakes: we erred, and thus the action did not achieve the intended result. An example of the error model would be a piano student who plays an incorrect not...

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Faster Learning

The Myth of the Natural

October 17, 2012

When your own dancing hits a plateau, it’s easy to become frustrated and jealous about the people who just “get it.” Every community seems to have someone who is a natural. This might be the person...

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Faster Learning

As a general rule: anything that you can do in one direction, you should be able to do in the other direction. However, each of us will have a natural side for most skills that is more comfortable....

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Faster Learning

Why Practice Works

March 20, 2012

Have you ever wondered why practice works? For complex skills like hitting a baseball, analyzing a chess board, or dancing, your brain needs to coordinate a lot of activity between the areas of the...

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Faster Learning