Ballroom Dance > How many hours of practice is needed?

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by soulfire12, Jul 7, 2012.

  1. soulfire12

    soulfire12 New Member

    Hi Friends,
    I was just wondering how many hours of practice is generally needed for practice so that the grace is easily maintained?
  2. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    I think that depends upon a variety of factors including what level one is already at, how effectively one practices, how many lessons one takes a week...and welcome to df
  3. old dog

    old dog Member

    Another welcome to Dance-Forums, soulfire12!

    Agree with fascination... there are many factors related to how much practice is "needed." A lot depends on your personal goals for your dancing. Do you compete? Are you a social dancer? I'll assume you are fairly new to dancing.

    I note from your post you are interested in "grace" on the dance floor. Gracefulness when moving across the dance floor attached to a partner is generally not something that comes quickly nor easily for many of us, but, I dare say, it is a quality to which almost all of us aspire.

    Gracefulness, confidence, consistency in dance not only make us look good, and feel better but also make us a better partner. The only sure way to achieve this is with good instruction, focused practice and hours of moving with a partner under varying conditions. Exactly how much of any of this will work for you is impossible to say.

    Maybe a place to start would be to plan to practice at least two hours for each hour of instruction. (Of course some of us practice a lot more, some much less.) Discuss this with your dance teacher who might be able to suggest something based on what they know of your personal circumstances.

    Finally, I might suggest that you watch for couples at dances who impress you with their gracefulness (both social and competitive dancers). Talk to them about what it took for them to achieve and maintain this. Most dancers are quite willing to share something of their personal dance journey.

    Best of luck to you in your quest for "grace" in your dancing.
  4. ajiboyet

    ajiboyet Well-Known Member

    It also depends on what YOUR definition of "grace" is.
  5. canismajor41

    canismajor41 Active Member

    "Not many people have grace."
    "Well, you know, grace is a tough one. I like to think I have a little grace. Not as much as Jackie O...."

    "You can't have a little grace. You either have grace or you don't."
    "Okay, fine. I have no grace."

    "And you can't acquire grace."
    "Well, I have no intention of getting grace."

    "Grace isn't something you can pick up at the market."
    "Alright, alright, look, I don't have grace, I don't want grace, I don't even say grace, okay?"

    "Thank you for coming in." "Yeah yeah right."

    - A personnel interviewer and Elaine, in Seinfeld's "The Chaperone"

    Sorry - I couldn't help myself....
  6. suburbaknght

    suburbaknght Well-Known Member

    When I first moved out I asked my father how much I should budget for food. Instead of answering he asked me, "How well do you want to eat?"
  7. middy

    middy Well-Known Member

    Short answer: a lot.

    Long answer: Depends on how much "natural" grace and coordination you have, how much previous dance experience you have (jazz, ballet, whatever), how good you are at leading or following, how good your instruction is, along with many other factors.

    If you are a brand new beginner and are about average on the learning curve, I think it would take maybe a year or two of regular dancing (let's say one or two group lessons a week) to feel comfortable and competent, and perhaps fairly graceful? A bit faster if you are a follow, compared to a lead. And of course if you catch the bug and practice more often (say 3-4 times a week), you'd progress a lot faster than that.
  8. Josh

    Josh Active Member

    Very wise man and a good answer :)
  9. Titoxd

    Titoxd Member

    Malcolm Gladwell once wrote that it takes 10,000 hours to achieve true excellence...

    While I do not think it takes 10,000 hours to be graceful, I would say it took me about a year of private lessons (on top of 5 years of group classes) for me to feel like I look "decent" on the dance floor.
  10. freeageless

    freeageless Active Member

    Interesting. I assume perhaps incorrectly that you are a male lead. I say interesting, because in a prior thread most of the men stated that it took them two to three years of dance experience to feel comfortable asking women to dance.
  11. Bailamosdance

    Bailamosdance Well-Known Member

    I too felt it took over 5 years... But in our case perhaps the bar was higher? The old joke? Beginner level, then intermediate level was 4 months lol....
  12. Titoxd

    Titoxd Member

    Yep, male lead.

    It did take me somewhere around two years to feel comfortable asking ladies to dance. (I started on the Salsa scene, then jumped ship to Ballroom after a year, so it's one year on the ballroom scene if we're counting it that way.) At the time, I was taking group classes at my university exclusively (no private lessons; I only started taking them with regularity about a year ago). Since the classes were rather massive—with 90 people being common in them—that also helped remove some of the uncertainty in asking girls, since I knew they were more or less at the same skill level as I did. That helped me ask ladies at social dances more easily.
  13. freeageless

    freeageless Active Member

    Wow. I sure hope it doesn't take over 5 years. By this December, I will have completed about 2 years of ballroom dance classes. I was thinking thank goodness-there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Just one more year of these ballroom dance classes, and I will feel comfortable at the dances asking women to dance. ;):(
  14. debmc

    debmc Well-Known Member

    I think the best way to feel comfortable dancing at socials... is to go out there and dance at socials! I started dancing at socials about 4 months into group lessons.. I certainly was not that good, but it helped to jump in and people knew I was new, and everyone was cool about it. So my advice is not to wait... but start dancing at socials in the dances you know as soon as you can.
  15. frotes

    frotes Member

    I was pretty shy at socials the first few months I started out but that was mainly because I didn't know the dances well enough so I felt bad about asking people to suffer through doing a lot of basics with me. Especially coming from 2-3 months of salsa/bachata as my first dance experience in my life, into all the different dances of ballroom was a bit overwhelming.

    But that just motivated me more to really work harder at each dance and it didn't take me long to start getting a few dances under my belt that I felt comfortable with. So I would just ask ladies to dance for those and wait out the others. And that list of comfortable dances keeps growing.

    I guess for me, my comfort level with asking ladies to dance had nothing to do with the "asking ladies" part but with how comfortable I myself was with a particular dance.
  16. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    I've been dancing for 7 1/2 years, I've had more instruction than the vast majority of people in attendance at any venue I might chose, and I STILL feel shy and just have to ignore yourself and deal with it...for some of us, it is a part of our personality that never fully goes away
    SwayWithMe likes this.
  17. Gorme

    Gorme Active Member

    I started going to social parties the moment I started learning to dance. I was taking private lesson and group class at the same time. It wasn't until after one year that I felt comfortable with asking some people to dance. After the second year, I felt confident in asking anyone to dance.
  18. Jananananana

    Jananananana Active Member

    My rule of thumb is practice 3 hours for each hour of practice time.

    This is my classroom rule of thumb, too. For each hour in the classroom, spend three hours on the material.

    In reality, DP and I spend more like 10 hours per lesson hour practicing.

    We practice around 10-12 hours a week. (When things get busy we take "break" weeks when we practice about 3-4 hours a week.)

    Really, it depends on what you want to achieve and what you can and are willing to invest.

    It also depends on what you're dancing: pro-am? am-am? pro-pro? social dancing and no competition?
  19. bia

    bia Well-Known Member

    I'm curious about the relationship between practice time, rate of improvement, and dance level. Why I'm asking -- DH and I have established a routine of practice and lessons that is sustainable given our other choices in life and that over the last couple of years is giving us slow but steady improvement in syllabus competition in a single style. I know that we could improve faster with more practice and lessons -- in the years I've been dancing, I've seen a number of dance friends whiz on by me in dance skill, and I know the primary difference between us is in dedication rather than "natural" talent. And I'm fine with that; we're doing what works for us, and as long as we see improvement, we're happy. That said, I would really love to be a legitimate open-level competitor someday. As we move up, are we eventually going to see our improvement stall out entirely unless we increase the time we give? Or can a sustained moderate commitment get us there eventually?

    Ultimately, we'll just keep going with what works for us for now until we find it not working anymore. But I'm curious what others' experiences have been.
    SwayWithMe likes this.
  20. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    first of all, and this is just my opinion, I think that is dependent upon the following;

    1)exactly how minimal that slow but steady practicing and improvement happens to be
    2) the quality of your instruction as well as the me, quality of instruction and ability to integrate it on your own is the essential determinant
    3)how flexible you are about the notion of eventually getting there....eventual is a very vague eventual a few years? is it a decade?
    Gorme and Terpsichorean Clod like this.

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