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Adult Dancers, Know Thyself: Understanding Your Learning Style

Updated: Aug 28, 2023

Are you an adult dancer who's been twirling, leaping, and tapping for a while now? Do you feel like you've hit a plateau and can't seem to improve your skills? Or maybe you're a beginner who's just discovered the joys of dance and wants to make the most out of your learning experience? Either way, you're in the right place!

In this post, I'll cover different learning style to help you identify the learning styles that work for you, plus how to use this knowledge to empower you to get more from yoru dance training.

What are learning styles?

Learning styles are the different ways in which individuals prefer to learn new information. The concept of learning styles originated from the work of David Kolb, who identified four learning styles - visual, auditory, reading/writing, and kinesthetic. Kolb’s model is referred to as the VARK model. Sometimes visual is referred to as spatial learning, auditory as aural or auditory-musical, reading and writing as verbal or linguistic, and kinaesthetic as physical.

Later researchers added additional learning styles, including logical/mathematical, social, and solitary.

As an adult dancer, you likely have a dominant learning style that you've relied on since childhood. Some dancers learn best by listening and absorbing information through their ears, known as auditory learning. Others may find that they need to see information visually in order to truly understand it, known as visual learning. And then there are those who prefer to learn by doing and feeling, known as kinesthetic learning.

Researchers have discovered that individuals typically have one or two dominant learning styles, which they rely on to absorb new information effectively. However, your learning style can shift depending on the situation, so it's essential to remain adaptable and open to new approaches.

As a dancer, it's vital to use all available learning modalities to absorb new information and refine your skills. Whether it's listening to music, watching a performance, or practicing a new routine, using all of your senses can help you become a more well-rounded and effective dancer. So don't be afraid to mix things up and try new methods to find what works best for you!

Different types of learners

Let's dive into the traits and some tips for different types of learners. Keep in mind that more than one learning style may work for you. It is likely that you'll learn better if you consciously cultivate more than one learning style. However, you may feel more engaged and motivated when using your dominant learning style.

Visual learners

Traits of visual learners

  • process information by seeing things

  • prefer to learn through visual aids such as videos, diagrams, and images

  • enjoy watching others perform a dance and learn by mimicking the movements they see.

  • love to watch and observe, taking in information through images, diagrams, and videos.

Tips for visual learners

  • you'll benefit from watching your teacher and other dancers in class

  • you'll likely pick up on the nuances of each movement more quickly than other learners.

  • in class, try to place yourself where you have a clear view of your teacher and other dancers.

  • use a mirror or watch videos of yourself dancing (watching yourself perform the movements can also help you understand the mechanics of the dance)

  • when practicing at home, use videos or diagrams to reinforce what you learned in class.

Auditory learners

Traits of auditory learners

  • process information through sound

  • prefer to learn through sound and verbal communication

  • enjoy listening to music and dance instructions,

  • often repeat the instructions to themselves.

  • respond best to verbal instructions and benefit from hearing things repeated out loud

Tips for auditory learners

  • you may want to listen to music and instructions.

  • you probably remember what your teacher says in class more easily than other learners

  • in class, make sure you are close enough to your teacher so you can hear them clearly. Ask questions when you need clarification and repeat the instructions back to your teacher. This will reinforce what you just learned.

  • when practicing at home, try recording your teacher's instructions and listen to them while you practice. This will help you remember what you learned in class and reinforce your understanding of the movements.

Reading/writing learners

Traits of reading/writing learners

  • process information through reading and writing

  • prefer to learn through reading texts and writing notes

  • enjoy taking notes and reviewing them to help retain information

  • learn by analyzing and organizing information.

Tips for reading/writing learners

  • you may struggle to pick up on dance movements as quickly as other learners, but you may excel at understanding the terminology and mechanics behind the movements

  • in class, take detailed notes and ask your teacher for written resources to help reinforce your understanding.

  • when practicing at home, read and research the movements and their history. Write down notes and observations about what you're practicing to help retain the information

  • read books, articles and other written material about the dance content you are learning

  • you can also try writing out the sequence of steps in your own words to help reinforce your understanding.

Kinaesthetic learners

Traits of kinaesthetic learners

  • process information through movement

  • prefer to learn through physical movement.

  • enjoy practicing dance movements repeatedly until they master them.

  • learn by doing and benefit from hands-on experience.

Tips for kineasthetic learners

  • you'll likely pick up on the movements more quickly than other learners, but you may struggle to remember the sequence of steps.

  • in class, ask your teacher if you can try the movements on your own before doing them as a group. This will help you get a feel for the movement and understand the mechanics behind it.

  • when practicing at home, focus on repetition. The more you repeat the movements, the more they'll become ingrained in your muscle memory.

  • you can also try practicing the movements at different speeds to help reinforce your understanding.

Key takeaways

Identifying your learning style as a dancer can significantly improve your training and performance. By understanding your preferred learning style, you can tailor your approach to dance training and ensure that you are learning in a way that is most effective for you. Remember that more than one learning style may work for you, and it's beneficial to consciously cultivate different learning styles. By implementing the tips provided in this post, you can maximize your learning experience and take your dancing to the next level. So don't be afraid to experiment with different learning styles and techniques, and keep pushing yourself to improve and grow as a dancer.


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