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5 Ways To Help Your Dancers At Home Practice

13 May 2016 4:05 PMLauren Nairne
5 Ways To Help Your Dancers At Home Practice


Often parents can feel helpless when it comes to watching their kids practice at home. You know what you want to see, but you often don't feel that you have enough of an idea about how you can help them benefit from at home practice.  


Whether it's solo practice, group rehearsal or stretching, there are a few things you can do as a parent to make sure that your dancer gets the most out of flipping and kicking her way around your lounge room.


  1. Make sure they actually practice at home!


It's one thing to talk about practice, but it's entirely another to make sure they are actually doing the practice. You spend thousands of $$ on dance fees, costumes and attire. If your dancer is serious about competition, dance and a career in the arts, at home practice is an important part of their training. Encourage them to just do a tiny bit each day, stretching in front of the TV or running each solo once; every little bit helps. Don't force them. If they don't want to do it, chances are the little effort they are going to put in will make their practice insignificant in any case.


  1. Give them the tools they need to practice properly


They will need space to practice solos and routines. Don't expect them to practice around the coffee table or jetè around the cat... Give them space! They will also need something to play their music. An in ear iPod, although it will be more pleasant for your family, it's not ideal to dance with earphones in.  


  1. Ask your teacher what to look for or ways you can help


Maybe there is a particular step that your dancer is working on specifically or something they need to practice to improve. Without being a 'know it all', asking your teacher ways you can lend a hand or things you need to look for, can help your dancer’s home practice. But... Be careful not to be over critical or step over the line from parent to teacher. Your job is to assist the teacher, making their job easier. Your job IS NOT to be the teacher.  


  1. Know the basics


Stretched feet, straight legs, pulled up knees, nice face and energy are all basic fundamentals that you can start to look for, notice and critique (nicely) when your dancer is practicing. If you have watched lessons, or read previous adjudication papers, you will probably have some ideas about ways or areas your dancer can improve. Sometimes all they need is a gentle reminder to pull up their knees in their leg mount, every little reminder will help.


  1. Safety is KEY


Especially when it comes to stretching or acrobatics at home. My basic rule is, if it's not something they do in class they shouldn't be doing it at home. Over stretching, extreme stretches and/or unassisted acrobatics are all things that should be practiced with the watchful eye of a trained professional. YouTube can be a dangerous thing when kids watch and copy moves, stretches or positions they have seen on social media. Go with your gut, if something seems dangerous or doesn't look right, chances are it's probably not. If in doubt always choose an appropriate time and ask your teacher's advice.


Remember, it's not always about how high your dancer's leg is or how flexi your jump may appear. It's about quality technique, passion and execution. Leg mounts are only nice when executed with perfect alignment, pointed toes, pulled up knees and firm balance. If your leg is up around your ears but your underneath leg is bent, your back hunched and your toes flexed it's really not worth doing them at all!