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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Dear Janet

Below is a request I got for some dance advice from a family member in Chicago. I figure I would post in case anyone is or has been in the same situation.
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Dear Janet,

Hope you're keeping warm in Canada and that everything is going well. I wanted to ask your advice.

I'm taking a hula class and I sometimes I have a hard time picking up the choreography right then and there during class. The teacher usually shows us the choreography verse by verse. When she adds a new step, she always has us start at the beginning of the song and then add on the new step. Sometimes I get it and sometimes I don't. I think I'm concentrating so much on the first part that by the time we reach the new part of the choreography my mind draws a blank.

Once I get home and practice it for awhile I can remember it. Can you give me any tips on how to remember the new dance steps while in class?
Maybe I'm just getting old and I need to take gingko biloba for my memory, LOL.

Thanks!

Cindy

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Dear Cindy,

Great to hear your taking up hula classes. Thanks to the hula ami, my life has spiraled into what it is today:)

First of all...do you think too much? lol. It often happens that when your concentrating so hard on a dance move, everything else gets blocked out including the next move. I would suggest really taking your time with each individual move, knowing how it feels, what part of the music it goes to..etc. You have to ensure that your movement is CONNECTED to the part of the song and to your body. This takes a lot of time and practice but as you do it, you'll find your 'thoughts' actually start to vanish.

Also..this may not be the case, but do you feel comfortable enough in your class environment? Since you say you can get it at home but not in class, I'm questioning if you feel okay in your class environment -- not worried or intimidated about what others may think of you, if they are getting it quicker than you etc. If that is the case, then your thoughts cannot be on the next dance move but on everything else around you instead. This one is a tricky mind game that many dancers face. In that situation, you need to make sure you focus on YOU, your progress and not anyone elses. Because at the end of the day, it's really just class!!

All in all, be patient with yourself through the process because as you do it more, you'll discover what the EXACT barrierrs are. I applaud you for even asking for advice because many people won't and will simply end up getting frustrated and eventually give up.

Keep practicing and you'll gain more confidence with every move. Stay Connected and remember to ENJOY!!:)

Hope that helps!

Janet

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Dear Janet,

I had hula class on Tuesday and it was satisfying for ME. I focused on my own dancing, feeling the music and thought of the new dance steps without thinking too hard just like you said. I tried not to focus on what the teacher might call me out for and just focused on having FUN with it. It was!!!! And you know what? I think that when I relaxed and not cared what anyone else thought I danced better. The teacher even noticed that I was getting the steps and would point at me and say, "Yes! You got it!" I'll admit that I liked the teacher's positive reinforcement....who wouldn't? I didn't gloat in class but afterwards at home I was like, "YAY!!!"

So from now on I'm going to try to remember to focus on my own dancing, have confidence in my abilities to dance and not care what other's around me think, and most importantly HAVE FUN with it!

Thank you for the advice and encouragement. I've got more questions to ask you but I gotta take care of the kids :-)

Love ya,

Cindy

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