Building a Practice Culture at CTS

In Contributors by Kim Snyders

Are you having social dancefloor anxiety? Just not getting that one move right? Becoming a more confident Lindy Hopper doesn’t happen overnight. It takes practice, practice and some more practice.
At Cape Town Swing, we want to help nurture everyone’s growth in both confidence and skills as dancers with regular practice sessions.

Why is practice so important?

We’ve all heard it: “Practice makes perfect”. As cliché as it may sound, it goes a long way in levelling up your Lindy Hop skills. Extra practice time between your CTS classes is also an essential supplement to dance lessons. Exercising a technique repeatedly creates neurological muscle memory, so eventually, that tricky swing-out variation or fiddly solo jazz move will become easier and more instinctive on the dance floor. Whether it’s a routine, a specific step, musicality or a better partner connection, adequate and deliberate practice time will help you look and feel more confident on the dance floor.

Tips for practice

  • Be deliberate. Decide what you want to cover in the session, and if you have a partner, make sure you’re on the same page. Start with one or two things to work on at each practice session and set specific goals you want to achieve.
  • Limit your practice time to a maximum of an hour. This will make it more manageable and help you maintain focus during your dedicated practice time.
  • Record yourself. A recording will help you identify your strong and weak points and what you should be focusing on. It is also a great way to track your progress and create body awareness.
  • Practice your solo jazz! It’s not only great for solo routines but also for incorporating extra flair in your partnered dancing.
  • Go to socials. It’s a great way to practice your social dancing skills, and dancing with different partners teaches you how to adapt to different dance styles and cues. You get to experience different takes on the same move and it’s a great place to pick up some new tricks.
  • Practice spaces. Do your research or scout the venue beforehand if you’re unsure about the space. Be respectful and courteous in all spaces you use for practice. If you’re in someone’s personal space, respect their boundaries and stick to what was agreed upon. 
  • Agree on feedback. It’s strongly encouraged to ask your practice partner for feedback but first come to an understanding on whether it’s wanted. If you’re not clear on that, maintain the “no unsolicited advice” approach. When giving or receiving advice, be gentle and respectful.   
  • Having a practice buddy helps keep you accountable. Looking for a partner? Ask fellow dancers in your class if they’d like to practice what you’ve learnt in class. 
  • Watch our teacher recap videos of the classes and explore the wonderful trove on YouTube.
Our prettiest practice and social spot- Cape Point Vineyards in Noordhoek. Every second Thursday while the summer market’s on.

Open Practice

Finding the right space, time and partners to practice can prove challenging and that’s why we’ve introduced our weekly Open Practice sessions. We have three different locations – each with plenty of practice space. Keep an eye out for our polls on the Open Practice days for potential practice partners. 

Locations:

  • Observatory Community Centre* (Wednesdays 7:15 – 8:15 pm)
  • Cape Town High School, Gardens* (Friday 7:15 – 8:15 pm)
  • Bandstand, De Waal Park, Molteno Rd, CBD (Saturdays 3:00 – 5:00 pm and Sundays 12:00 – 2:00 pm)

*Cost: R30 for non-members and free for members

Please Note: These are self-organising slots which means you’ll need to arrange your own partner, music and speaker. There’s also no teacher, so come prepared with your own plan for the session. Inevitably, there might be more than one person or couple practising, so let’s be accommodating and share the space accordingly.

We had so much fun dancing with Clara Montocchio and the band at Time Out Market, V&A Waterfront.
About the Author

Kim Snyders

Kim was introduced to lindy hop by a dear friend in 2023, who described it as "the perfect therapy for the senses". Not one to like standing out from the crowd, she was a little apprehensive of this very ‘showy’ dance. This was soon replaced by the excitement and vigour that comes with joining the scene. Kim is part of the Safer Spaces team at CTS.