15 Ways to Practice Dance at Home
Your teachers insist on it, and you know it’ll make you a better dancer, but how often do you actually practice dance at home?
I know I don’t practice nearly as often as I’d like.
There are so many reasons not to practice dance at home. You’re too busy, you don’t have enough space, the neighbors would hear, you’ve got x, y, and z to take care of, there’s a new episode of your favorite TV show…
Despite all these deterrents, if you really want to take your dancing to the next level, practicing at home is a great the way to do it. Try these 15 ideas to find what works for you and form a habit you can stick with.
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Follow-Along Class Videos
Follow-along videos are a great way to practice dance at home! From short combos to full-length classes, there’s a full supply of free dance videos online.
You might not have room for a whole dance studio in your basement, but you probably have a chair and enough room to do some pliés and rond de jambes! Start your day with a quick barre in your kitchen or go for a longer session to stay active during time off.
Or if you want to splurge on the real thing, you could buy a portable barre like this:*
Portable Dance Floor
If you’re a tapper or Irish step dancer, having a portable dance floor is a must! All you need is a couple square feet of wood or other suitable surface that you don’t mind getting scratched up. Buy a simple piece of plywood at a hardware store, or get fancy with one of these:* *
Practice Acro with Walls, Beds, and Mats
Hopefully you already know to be very very careful when practicing acro at home. Have someone spot you, and give yourself way more room than you think you need. Use a wall for handstands, headstands, and backbends, and use your bed to get over the fear of flipping over. (This video helped me get over my fear of flipping over in front walkovers using a bed.)
DO NOT use chairs, tables, or anything unstable to practice acro. Even large sofas can fall over if you put your weight in the right spot. Don’t take the risk of injuring yourself, a family member, or a pet with falling furniture. Use objects that will not move, like walls, or practice your acro outside.
A small acro mat like this might be a good investment!
Practice Dance Outside
Weather permitting, your yard or driveway is a great place to practice dance at home. Use the open space to practice leaps or acro tricks (with a mat!), bring your portable dance floor outside so you don’t tap out your family’s eardrums, or do a workout in the driveway. Just make sure you’re wearing sneakers or other shoes with a lot of support. Asphalt is not a forgiving surface!
Follow-Along Workout Videos for Dancers
Just like online dance classes, you can find tons of workout videos catered to whatever specifications you need. Here are some of the ones I follow:
Anna McNulty (Great stretching videos, too!)
Alivia D’Andrea (Also has great stretching videos and lifestyle/motivational content)
And there are so many more out there!
Watch Rehearsal Videos
So it’s not really practicing, but actually watching your rehearsal videos (not just saying you did when the teacher asks) will give you a leg up on your classmates (pun intended, heehee). It might not feel like much, but even just marking with the video, or listening to the music and doing the dance in your head, can do wonders for your memory recall.
It’s simple: prop your phone up and record yourself dancing, then watch the video and give yourself feedback. You could do this for individual tricks, or just jam to your favorite song and work on your improv. You may end up with a really cool video to post on your social media!
I use a Gorillapod with a phone attachment to record myself and works very well! Check out those products below:* *
Deep Stretching Session
Get a good warm up in, then take some slow, deep stretches to wake up all your muscles. Touch on a variety of areas, cycling through different parts of the body so that you never stretch the same muscle twice in a row. Try to hold each stretch for a minute. Play music, breathe deeply, and try to relax.
Go for a Run Around Your Neighborhood
Some people say running is bad for dancers, but I saw a huge improvement in my dancing when I was running regularly. Namely, I was able to jump higher, and overall my movements had more “pop.” You don’t have to train for a marathon. Just set a timer and jog around the block, making sure to stretch out your quads, hamstrings, calves, and hip flexors after.
Blast Your Tunes with a Portable Bluetooth Speaker
I just have to give a shoutout to my favorite Bluetooth speaker. The Oontz Angle 3 Ultra*. (This is my genuine, not sponsored opinion!) It’s perfect for practicing dance at home, teaching a class, or really any scenario where you need music to fill a room. If you don’t like dancing with headphones in your ears, connect your phone to a speaker like this so you can move freely.*
One more point and then I’ll stop gushing. This speaker is so lightweight! I carry it around in my dance bag and it’s come in handy so many times. Check it out for yourself here*.
Or Keep Your Music to Yourself with Headphones
As much as I love my Oontz, I don’t like other people to overhear my music unless I’m teaching a class. If you’re the same way, headphones are the way to go. Go wireless for a tangle-free experience, or stick with the old phone-in-the-pocket method.
Practice Improv in Unusual Spaces
Develop your artistry and creativity by practicing dance improvisation at home. Take an unusual space, like your closet or a staircase, and see what kind of dance you can make there. Play a little bit, then try recording yourself. You might end up with a cool video to post on your social media! (Don’t feel pressured to post just because you took a video, though. Improv is about your own experience!)
Have you been wanting to learn isolations like those above? Watch some tutorials, then stand in front of a mirror and try it yourself. This is a great thing to practice if your space is truly limited, because you don’t usually need to move your feet!
Fit Little Exercises into Your Daily Routine
Do relevés while brushing your teeth, stretch for 10 minutes before going to bed, or do some crunches while you wait for the water to boil. If you’re very busy, as most people are, this may be all you can fit into your schedule. And that’s okay! A little bit is better than nothing, and you may find creative ways to squeeze in more than you thought you could.
How do you practice dance at home? Which of these 15 ideas are you most excited to try? Leave a comment here or on our social channels.