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How to Get More Out of Workshops

Posted: 04/03/2018

Taking workshops allows you to learn things that may not fit into regular classes - workshops can go into a lot more detail on one or a few topics, or teach you a challenging routine.Workshops, and particularly workshop weekends (or a workshop day after a competition), will usually challenge you more than classes do - so how do you get the most out of them?

Where's Your Dancing At?

Understanding your own abilities will help you to pick which workshops will be challenging for you - it's good to be challenged as long as it's achievable and you're learning!Workshops are typically designed to give you things to take away and work on, so don't expect to get it all working well during the workshop - it'll take more practice later!However, pushing too far beyond your current experience means you're less likely to learn as much; even if you do manage your way through tricky moves, if you can't use them after the workshop, where's the value?

Different Teaching Styles

Different teachers have different teaching styles, and even philosophies of dance - and the way they dance may work better for you and your body than how your regular teachers explain things.It's good to try workshops with a variety of teachers when you can, and try to value and understand what they do differently - sometimes it's their style, sometimes it'll be a small difference that makes a big change to your dancing!

Which Workshops to Take?

For workshop weekends, particularly if you're visiting a dance camp where there are several workshops at once, you have options! So which workshops to do?
Firstly, you don't have to do all of them.Picking a few workshops that you'll get a lot out of is better than burning yourself out trying to do too much! Particularly if this is your first big weekend, remember to pace yourself.
If you're a beginner, going to an intermediate workshop probably isn't a good idea; however, the reverse isn't necessarily true!Taking some workshops at an easier level can be useful as well - if what's being taught is less challenging, you'll have more capability to understand the finer details of what and how the teacher is explaining.
And finally, technique workshops trump moves workshops.Most leaders think they need to learn more moves (the rest used to think that), but you learn plenty of moves at regular classes.The better your technique, the easier you'll find it to come up with moves, and to adapt moves to suit you and your partner.One caveat: workshops can use a lot of move-teaching to get to a technique - e.g. if you want to learn aerials then an aerials workshop is, of course, a good idea.Similarly, some dance camps will include a workshop or two where you learn a short routine which you have the option to perform that night - memorizing routines and getting up in front of a crowd to perform are both skills you may want to develop!

Keep It!

After the workshop, think about which parts you want to keep and write them down, record yourself explaining it, or at least explain all of the points you want to remember to a friend - putting it into your own words will help it to set!uIt might be a move or styling option that worked really well for you, it might be a technique change you want to drill, it might have been something the teacher said that resonated with you.Often there's a chance to video a performance of the workshop, but that's only a demonstration of the moves, and may not be the key details you want to stick with you.
Then take it home, and work on building those changes into your dancing!

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