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Why Irish dancers shouldn't practice for one hour

Nov 28, 2023

‘I want to give my dancing 100%’ 


On a weekly basis we hear dancers who are totally dedicated to their dancing and want to do everything they can to improve. This is amazing and we are always inspired by their dedication and passion for their Irish dancing. 


However, sometimes dancers believe that to give 100% to their dancing they have to be practising for an hour - two hours every night. 


If you’re a dancer under the age of 16, you should NOT be practising for an hour at home each night!!


(Read that again…)


You NEED to be practising at home in shorter bursts of 20-40 minutes at a time in order to improve. 


From the ages of 8-16 the average length of focus a young person has is between 16 and 48 minutes. This means that if you’re setting yourself or your dancer up for 1 hour of practice at home they are most likely only getting value out of 16-48 minutes of this (the younger the dancer, the lower the focus span).


Our advice is to focus on quality practice, rather than quantity. It may sound impressive to say that you have practised for an hour each night at home, but there’s a much smarter way to do this. 


Next time you are going to practise at home make sure you are warmed up and ready to dance before you start working on your technique. Make your warm up fun! Warming up can sometimes be boring and dancers can skip it or not do it properly but our warm up is so important!


Next, pick the step you want to work on today. Work on this chosen step for 20 - 30 minutes focusing on your technique, your placement, your rhythm. It may be helpful to record the step at the start of the practice and record it again at the end of the session, so that you can see where you need to improve and how much better it looks after 20 - 30 minutes. 


Cool down and reflect on how valuable that practice session was, and how it has improved your dancing. Plan what step you want to work on tomorrow and then repeat this process. Practising this way will help you to consistently improve your dancing without overworking yourself or burning yourself out - or losing concentration halfway through! 


Our MWM Gold Club has our MWM Feis Day warm up which would be perfect to start your session with. You can sign up for that here.

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