TAFY

The Arts For Youth

PJ Practice

Mika Morford

During the weeks leading up to a performance, we encourage students to practice their routines as much as possible. Muscle memory is dependent upon frequent repetition. A truly great performance comes from knowing the choreography, confidently executing the skills, and passionately portraying the message of the music or movement. We have found that our students are most successful when they practice daily. We encourage them to run through each dance 3 times each day once they begin learning choreography:

  1. Without music, taking the time to recall choreography or practice specific skills, if needed.
  2. With music, counting along (out loud) to the beat. A family member can also count for them. It's not easy to count and dance for an entire piece. 
  3. With music, counting along (in their head) to the beat. They should emphasize stage presence, emotion, and energy. 

We call this "PJ Practice" as most families find it convenient to schedule this with their bedtime routine. (i.e. Brush teeth, get in PJs, practice dance, head to bed), although any time of day is fine. We love to see pictures and videos of our students practicing and encourage parents to reward positive practice sessions with lots of praise. Every performer goes through times when they do not feel like practicing. The best thing to do stay positive. We never shame or scold our students for lack of practice. Our studio is a happy place and we want them to associate dance class with joy and excitement. As in all things, you will get out of it what you put into it. Dancers who practice often are much more likely to enjoy their experiences in class and on stage and will move up to intermediate and advanced classes sooner. 

Twice a year, we host a studio wide reward party to celebrate our successes and incentivize dancers to work hard throughout each session of classes.