It's PRACTICE time at the flamenco school Amor de Dios in Madrid, Spain.
After speaking with the front desk to rent a small studio I headed to studio 15. As mentioned in Four Steps into Amor de Dios, in order to improve your dancing you can't just take classes, you also need to practice. Practicing additionally allows you to take full advantage of any group classes you are taking because you will improve your technique and learn choreography at a faster rate. This will in turn allow the teacher to correct you at a higher more refined level, perhaps they can move on to helping you with sound quality or artistic expression.
Getting into the studio to practice is not always an easy task. Sometimes we struggle with finding the drive, focus and importance of our time alone in the studio.
The key is to foster a love for practicing. The more time we dedicate to practicing, the more we can fine tune a practice method that works for us. This will encourages us to continue to improve and create for years to come.
Below is my list of tactics;
1) Stay motivated: Be creative.
I suggest that you bring some great music. I like to have both flamenco and non flamenco music options. Bring some music you have been wanting to listen to, or save listening to that new album until you get into the studio. Song lengths can also be a great way to commit to certain exercises. For instance, try that heal drill for the entire length of Buika's "Triunfo", and turn drills for all of Duquende's "Lo Bueno y Lo Malo".
2) Manage your time: Make a plan that works for YOU.
I like to have a tactic of how to manage my time. This time in the studio I had one hour and I committed to;
- 5 min walking without shoes to feel by weight and ground myself
-10 min castenets
-5 min turns
-10 min footwork
-5 min turns
-15 min new creation
-5 min turns
-5 min footwork
The above schedule worked for me because;
-I felt a need to switch my focus often to stay on task
-I was able to get through a variety of items
-I spaced out the time dedicated to turning drills to not get too dizzy
Note - If you end up spending more time on something than expected, don't worry. Work with how you are feeling and what inspires you. The important thing is that you are practicing.
3) Challenge yourself at your own pace: You decide.
When you practice alone you have the time to focus on specific items at your chosen pace and level. It is important to clean the things that you know you keep doing incorrectly in class. Take the time needed to feel weight transfer, tension in the body, and to play with accuracy and speed.
4) Create new work: Give time to creation.
Allot time to creation. Try things and be bold, remember that this is when the magic happens. If needed, record yourself for future reference.
5) Create long term and short term goals : Working with deadlines.
I find that I always work best with goals and deadlines. Try making yourself some realistic yet challenging goals set within a timeline. For example, by the end of the month you want to have clear precise sound in a certain heal drill at a certain speed? Make a practice schedule and stick to it to achieve success. Reward yourself for meeting your goals and then set new ones.