Dance class can help you get in shape and stay fit. It’s ideal if you can dance at least three times a week. Once-a-week dance classes are typically inadequate for getting you the amount of exercise you need to stay in shape. Unless you make an effort to practice what you’ve learned during the week, you’re also unlikely to remember what you’ve learned in class. This brief guide will help you stay in shape between dance classes and practice what you’ve learned so you can maximize the time and money you spend on dance classes.

1. Write Down What You’ve Learned in Class

As soon as possible after class, make a list of all the exercises you learned while you were in class. Write down as many details as you can remember. Picture yourself doing the exercises as you write them down.

2. Schedule Workout Time Every Week

It’s ideal if you can pick a set time every day for your dance workout. Many dancers wake up early on a daily basis and dance before school or work. If that isn’t possible, you could do it after work. If daily dance workouts aren’t possible, try for every other day.

3. Stretch

You need to warm up at the beginning of every dance workout. If you’re taking ballet classes, you probably begin class by warming up at the barre. You can substitute the back of a chair or bench for the barre. If you’re taking modern dance, perhaps your instructor begins with head rolls, shoulder rolls and plies. If you’re taking contemporary dance classes, it’s possible that your warmup begins with gentle stretching or aerobics. Whatever your typical stretching routine is, go through as much of it as you can remember to get your workout started. If you want to learn more, you may be interested in checking out the resources at The School of Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre.

4. Give Yourself a Mini Dance Class

After you’ve warmed up, it’s time to get into repeating the more complicated dance steps and routines you practiced in your classes. If you’re taking ballet classes, you probably want to practice your rondes de jambes, grand battements, pirouettes, grand jetes and tour jetes at this point in your workout. If you’re taking modern dance, it’s time to practice your splits, leaps, kicks and lunges. If you can’t remember what you should be working on, refer to the notes you made after your last few classes.

5. End With a Cooldown

You never want to abruptly end a workout without cooling down. Stretch gently, breathe deeply and think about what you’ve accomplished.

If you make an effort to do all or most of these things, you’ll have a much better chance of staying in shape between dance classes. You’ll also remember more of what you learned in class, and you’ll make faster progress in your dancing than you would otherwise.