Using a Checklist to Supercharge your Dancesport Practice – by Cassie Tucker

Cassie with one of her superstar 'practicers', Luke, during an Award Performance.

"Using a checklist to maximise your Dancesport practice"

 

DK Ballroom Instructor Cassie Tucker describes how a checklist can help you practice

 

"Supercharge Your Practice by using a Checklist: Part 1 - Solo Practice

Practicing Dancesport is the biggest contributor to improvement.  In fact, for every one hour lesson you have with your instructor, you should be practicing for at least three to solidify the new information.  How often have you proudly told your friends of the three-hour practice session you had at the studio?  Now be honest; how long was actual practice?

This is where practicing with clear intention is important; and a great tool for achieving this is a checklist.  

A checklist is an action plan that clearly lays out what you want to practice and how much time to allocate to each task.  

There are two measurables you can use:

  1. Time 
  2. Repetitions

Time indicates how long in minutes you want to practice each task for.  Repetitions determine how many times you will repeat a task. 

For example, a solo practice checklist for practicing a composite medal consisting of Waltz, Saunter Caprice and Jive may look something like this:

Start time: 3pm

[ ]  Warm up (15 mins)

 

Waltz

[ ]  Dance entire routine through to music (3 x songs or 10 mins)

[ ]  Dance entire routine slowly, focussing on footwork and neat closes (x 5)

[ ]  Dance entire routine through slowly, focussing on soft knees (x 5)

[ ]  Dance entire routine slowly, focussing on posture (x 5)

[ ]  Fall away reverse slip pivot (x 15)

[ ]  Consolidate and dance routine through to music (2 x songs or 6 mins)

 

Saunter Caprice

[ ]  Dance entire routine through to music (2 x songs or 6 mins)

[ ]  Dance entire routine through slowly, focussing on footwork (x 5)

[ ]  Dance entire routine through slowly, focussing on use of ankles and knees (x 5)

[ ]  Practice arm choreography without footwork (x 10)

[ ]  Practice arm choreography with footwork (x 10)

[ ]  Consolidate and dance entire routine through to music (3 x songs or 10 mins)

 

Jive

[ ]  Dance entire routine slowly without music (x 5)

[ ]  Dance entire routine slowly, focusing on rock action and putting the heel down (x 5)

[ ]  Practice chugging, focussing on timing and alignments (x 15)

[ ]  Consolidate and practice entire routine to slow music (2 x songs or 6 mins)

[ ]  Practice entire routine to fast music (2 x songs or 6 mins)

Finish 

[ ]  Dance something to music for fun (Tangoette, New Vogue Quickstep, Carousel etc).

 

This example Dancesport practice schedule would take about 2.5 - 3 hours to complete.  Don’t panic!  It does not need to be finished in a single Dancesport practice session.  You could spread it over a week and easily add or remove tasks based on what you want to achieve.

But here is the good part:  Upon completing the above checklist, you would have danced each of your routines at least 25 times!  Your footwork would have improved, your knees and ankles would be stronger and your posture and coordination would be enhanced.  I bet your confidence would get a healthy boost too.  And the best part?  That deep satisfaction you get from ticking those tasks of that checklist!"

Cassie