2016 will be the year of the dancer. It’s fun, healthy, social and a great way to spend your free time. Put down your remote and put on your dance shoes!

For the month of January we will have a new way to get the most out of your dance every week. So check back for some tips on how to become the best dancer possible.

Getting the most out of practice parties.

Practice parties are the games you spend you lessons practicing for. It’s the time to put your dancing to the test and see what’s working and what’s not – while partying with friends, sometimes in funny costumes. So let’s see how to make the parties the best experience possible.

Practice with multiple partners.

Dancing with your teachers is great, but maybe not the most telling example of where you are in your dancing.

Try dancing with as many different partners as possible to get a better idea of what you can lead and follow best. Then you can tell your teacher on your next lesson, “Hey, I never seem able to tell the lady I was leading a tuck turn in swing. What can I do?”

Music to your teachers’ ears…

Learn floor craft.

When you go out social dancing, usually other people show up. So you need to practice keeping it cool and being able to dance with others around you. Parties are a great time to practice because we’re all on the same page learning how to dance. It’s a no pressure situation to perfect maneuvering around other dancers without stopping.

Develop musicality.

We play a variety of music at the parties to develop your ear for dancing. Can you start dancing on time? Can you recognize the dance without someone telling you? Do you hear a different dance than everyone else? It’s all good fun and good practice. Maybe you can even switch dances within the same song. Now that’s cool.

Practice your patterns.

Learning new patterns or sequences? Getting ready for a showcase or spotlight? Practice dancing your routines or patterns with different partners to different music to truly master the material.

As you plan your best dance experience for 2016, always ask your teachers for ideas like these to get more out of your program.