I have witnessed several times over the years how quickly and easily our muscles adapt to repetitive dance movements.

Excerpts from the article: Dancing, yoga, gymnastics and weight training are examples of other activities that require enhanced muscle memory. We can make the learning process easier and help establish muscle memory by using a few simple techniques

Mysteries of Muscle Memory

By Ramona Klein

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When you learned to write, you trained the muscles in your arm and hand to create letters. It took time and concentration to do this, but with repetition it became automatic. Your hand developed muscle memory; when you write your name, your muscles remember how to move without focusing on the process.

Dancing, yoga, gymnastics and weight training are examples of other activities that require enhanced muscle memory. We can make the learning process easier and help establish muscle memory by using a few simple techniques:

* Visual images
 
* Repetition

* Slow motion

* Micromovement


Imagery

Using a visual image is an effective way to train your body to perform a new dance step or exercise. The best visual images are those which are familiar and detailed.

In dance, visualizing a movement helps you perform the step. For example, if a dancer wants to make an S-curving motion with her body, she can visualize a fish swimming, a camel walking, or a snake crawling. Since the best visual images are familiar and detailed, visualizing the color, texture, shape and markings of the image make it more vivid and effective. Likewise, visualizing yourself correctly repeating a new dance step or exercise makes the learning process easier.

Many people find geometric shapes helpful. For example, you can imagine drawing a big circle to make learning a belly dance hip circle or circle step easier. A square is a useful image for learning a box step or hip square.

Repetition & slow motion

Repetition helps fix a new exercise or dance movement in your mind, so that the next time you perform it, you remember it more easily and perform it with less effort. Slow repetitions of a new exercise or dance step enable you to feel every nuance of the movement.

Rushing through a movement before you've completely mastered it skips over the important process of sensing every nuance of the movement; beginning dance students and exercisers often need to be reminded to slow down. Going slowly helps your muscles recognize precisely what the movement should feel like when performed correctly.

Micromovement

Micromovement means performing a movement in a very tiny way, using the least range of motion possible. For example, if you were writing the letter "O" ten inches high and then writing "o" in a script so tiny it could barely be seen, your "O" would require a much larger hand movement than tiny letter "o", the micromovement. Using a tiny range of motion helps you sense subtle muscle movements which are occurring, but micromovements must be performed with awareness to get the full benefit. Going slowly helps.

Have fun with learning!

Select the movement or exercise you are working on, then answer the following:

Imagery: what animal, shape or object does it remind you of?

Repetition: what kind of music would help you when practicing this movement?

Slow motion: how many counts does it take you to complete one repetition?
 
Micromovement:what is the smallest range of motion you can use for the movement?

Ramona is the author of Dynamic Belly Dance, the Joyful Journey of Dancemaking and Performing. See free belly dance videos, read book excerpts and order an autographed copy at http://www.DynamicBellyDance.com

Article Source:http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Ramona_Klein

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"When I dance, the sun sails safely through the night;

When I dance, the future is formed by my feet;

When I dance,the stars move through the heavens;

When I dance, Venus shimmers the desert;

When I dance, dust becomes silver, stones are made of gold!"

Cosi Fabian

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