Practice. I talk about it all the time. Science has shown that short, daily practices are more beneficial than one longer weekly practice. Most dancers who are serious about their art practice every day. But does it have to be EVERY day?
How often do you really need to practice?
Let me tell you a little secret… I’m only practicing five days a week right now. I’ve been trying to get weekends back into the rotation, but I’m usually more focused on whatever my other plans are, and sometimes it doesn’t happen. In fact, most times it doesn’t happen. And I’m OK with that.
You know what’s best for you. Maybe seven days a week feels great. Maybe you want just one day off. Maybe, like me, you find it hard to maintain a practice habit on non-structured weekend days. Maybe you want to practice every other day and go to the gym for conditioning on opposite days. Or maybe you only practice on the weekends, or once a week. Whatever works for your schedule and your dance goals is fine. If you find you’re not reaching your goals on an acceptable timeline, maybe you need to practice more often or for longer durations — or maybe you just need to change how you’re practicing.
It’s OK to miss a day
No matter what your habit is, I promise you the world isn’t going to end if you miss a day of practice.
Even if you’re dedicated to dancing every single day, and you miss once, do you know what happens? You start right back up the next day.
As long as you only miss every now and then, and you get right back in the saddle, your dance is not going to suffer. Your fellow dancers are not going to be disappointed in you.
Don’t get caught up on perfection
I think we tend to fetishize the idea of daily practice. There’s something to be said for the dedication it takes to do the same thing every day, no matter what happens. But sometimes life gets in the way. Do you really think that you’re going to benefit from, say, forcing yourself to get up and dance even though you have food poisoning and your abs feel like water?
We are not solely defined by our art form. While dancing every day may be the best thing for our dance, it isn’t always the best thing for our lives. Sometimes we need a day (or more) to recover from illness or injury. Or we may need to focus on other things in our lives, such as moving, getting married, or the holidays.
It’s Up to You!
The holidays are upon us. Thanksgiving is the day after tomorrow. Will you practice on Thanksgiving, or will you completely give your day over to the holiday? There is no wrong answer. Do what is best for you. You may feel better if you carve out these moments just for you and your dance. Or you may feel like you have to get up at 5am just to have that time, and maybe you’d rather sleep. That’s OK too.
I’m giving you permission to do what you feel like. Sure, I don’t have any authority over anything, but if you needed someone to back you up on your decision, I’m here for you. Want to skip practice on Thanksgiving? Go for it. Want to keep your regular practice date? Awesome! Want to cancel the holiday and spend all day dancing and working on a costume? That sounds fabulous.
Go forth and enjoy the holiday!