So you think you can learn how to dance
I’ve been learning how to dance in quarantine.
There’s no better time to pick up arbitrary, unexpected skills. I’ve also been flirting with the dangerous idea that work isn’t everything in life, so I’m dedicating some time to amassing more strange skills.
Here’s my routine:
- 5 minutes- Refresh with this video by Shuffle Dance Academy
- 15 minutes- Practice the three basic shuffle moves from the above video with a metronome. Work up from 95 bpm to as high as you can maintain form. Focus on transitioning smoothly between the three moves
- 10 minutes- Practice those three basic shuffle moves with actual songs. There’s an excellent 100 bpm Spotify playlist that fits this purpose quite well
- 10 mintues- try some actual choreography. I adore fun Asian guys (natch) with smiles that light up rooms, so I follow Eunho Kim and Junsun Yoo from 1Million Dance Studio. Here’s a rambunctious and delightful choreography to My House by Flo Rida. I love how his intro is him pretending to come into someone’s house for the first time
- Every 2-3 sessions record on video and watch back afterward. The goal here is to learn as best I can with my body feeling the moves, then record and watch it and try to associate how my feeling of the moves correlates with how the moves actually look. Then, find diffs between look and feel, and try to incorporate it again with the body
This routine will likely change, but the core of this learning routine is similar to how I learn in general:
- Deliberate Practice- practicing the basic moves at the edge of my ability, then ratcheting the speed back down helps to feel comfortable
- Keep It Fun- the second this becomes drudge or I become self-conscious, I know I’m going to abandon it
- Employ Double-Loop Learning- in normal learning this refers to getting an outside system to be able to validate your progress and learning against. This could be a lab buddy, a professional coach, or a chess algorithm. The important thing is that it’s not just you judging your own progress. In dancing this tends to be mirrors in the studio, and I puzzled for a while on how to set up a live camera feed so I could watch myself in HD as I danced with minimal lag. But then I realized a simple “try-watch-try” is sufficient for the level of dance I want to get to