Whether you have a long break or you simply don’t have access to a studio, if you’ve clicked on this article, you are most likely at home and you want to keep up with your dance training. I have been there many times, and over the years I found strategies and helpful pieces of advice that turned my time at home into a great opportunity to progress in my dancing. I’m sharing with you all I learned in this article, so keep reading!
Before you start, take some time to reflect on your mindset. How do you feel about training at home? I used to beat myself up and think about all the downsides of not being able to take class in a studio with a teacher over a long period of time. I never got anywhere by focusing on everything that was impossible: I would quickly lose motivation, procrastinate and I wouldn’t enjoy my time at all.
I began to enjoy the process and make more progress than I ever expected to once I started looking at all I could do while I was at home. This mentality switch is called “adopting a growth mindset”. I really recommend you watch this video, where Stéphanie and Ondine go more in depth on the topic: it will help you stay motivated and accountable.
Set your objectives
While I enjoy training simply for the pleasure I have when I dance, I enjoy it even more when I have a bigger purpose and a goal to achieve. No matter how motivated I am, when I dance at home, I feel the temptation to only do the exercises I am good at or skip the whole barre and mark variations in my living room for fun. There’s nothing bad with it, but if I want to progress I need to train properly and consistently.
Having a clear direction to go towards is strictly linked with motivation. I learned this in my coaching sessions and since then, I always set a couple of short term objectives to give my at-home dancing a meaning and a clear direction.
Make it easy!
Once I set my objectives, I plan my training schedule. It’s so much easier to choose what I am going to do in advance: I make use of my time and avoid getting overwhelmed by decision-making.
I pick the conditioning programs, the classes and all the other activities that will help me accomplish my goal. I make my plan flexible and realistic: there’s no need to be strict on myself, choose a schedule I can’t stick to and give up mid-way through.
Refine your technique
The greatest opportunity I have when training at home is time to refine my technique and master the fundamentals. I can work at my own pace and find the cues that help me the most. I expand my knowledge by watching technique explanations videos and I take the time to apply what I learn to my dancing.
I always feel stronger and notice improvements in my dancing when I go back to the studios after working on my foundations. Wasn’t it the legendary Michail Barysnikov who said “Fundamentals are the building blocks of fun”?
Enrich your repertoire
Just because I am at home, it does not mean that I can’t dance repertoire! One thing I love doing is to pick a couple of sections from full-length ballets, memorize the choreography and mark it in my living room. I pay attention to the details, the musicality and work on my marking habits at the same time. It’s a lot of fun! And who knows… one day I could get cast and I will already know the role!