How Many Hours Should You Practice?
In this article, you’ll discover what to consider when planning your practice hours, taking your skill level and goals into consideration.
Practice What You Learn
As with any sport, your time spent practicing is as important as the information you receive from your teachers. It’s unreasonable to expect great results if you neglect training with a coach, but you can neither expect to reach the top position in a competition if you don’t practice further on your own.
This, though, is the only generalized statement I can make on the subject; the following advice is personalized.
Recreational or Competitive
First things first: define your approach to dancing.
Do you dance only for the fun of it? Perhaps you like to attend a few classes per week just as a recreational hobby. If that is the case, then the program you find at your local dance school is perfect for you. With a couple of lessons per week, you’ll receive basic notions that will introduce you to different dances at your own pace. You can enjoy time away from your everyday routine.
If you’ve moved further and have begun more regular practice, maybe you’re thinking of participating in competitions in the future… If dancesport is your primary activity, keep reading!
Different Levels, Different Needs
Let’s outline what I mean by the four following competitive stages:
- The beginner is a dancer who—no matter the age group—is at the starting point of their competitive career.
- Intermediate is the stage when you’ve danced in several competitions and have started to receive good results. You practice regularly.
- An advanced dancer dedicates all their time to dancesport, apart from school or work. They’re aiming for very high results.
- Pro dancers have made dancesport their life—it’s as simple as that.
For the beginner dancer, it’s very important to avoid overload. The body and the mind are not yet ready for a huge amount of technical information or physical hours on the dance floor. Keep it simple and work gradually.
At first, you mostly need to develop your coordination and learn the basic principles of each dance. Thus, just a couple of hours of dance per day, 3 or 4 times a week is a good starting point.
Estimation: 6-8 hours per week
The intermediate dancer must surely practice more than a beginner. At this stage, your confidence on the floor makes the biggest impact on your performance. By now, you should have the correct technique, physical endurance, good floor craft, and a relatively good connection with your partner.
You can only achieve these skills through many hours of practice, including stamina training and specific group lessons intended to make your skills more competitive.
Estimation: 8-12 hours per week
For the advanced dancer, there is nothing else but dancing. Of course, you attend school or to work, but otherwise, your focus is on the development of your dance career.
It’s difficult to estimate how much time you should spend practicing if you’re at this stage; it looks different for everyone. Nevertheless, I can say that you should practice every day, with only one day off per week—ideally about 3-4 hours per day.
Your program should include:
- private lessons
- practice sessions
- stamina practice
- group lessons
How you use this time and how effective it will be for you is up to you and your coaches. Ask for suggestions and try to find which kind of practice gives you the best results.
Estimation: 15-24 hours per week
The pro dancer really needs no suggestions. If dancesport is your life, you basically eat, sleep, and breathe dancing. Everything rotates around it; the schedule of your lessons is the schedule of your day. You eat when you have a break and you sleep when you aren’t in the dance studio.
At this point, what matters most is the effectiveness of the training. Choosing the right kind of practice, working out the correct concepts, and establishing the perfect relationship with your partner are much more crucial than the clocked time.
Estimation: ∞ hours per life
Every dancer has different habits and different needs. Take the time to find what works best for you!
Italian, dancing since the age of 5 and currently based in Moscow. With his partner Ekaterina Utkina, he is in the top 50 WDSF Adult Standard World Ranking, representing the Russian Federation.