When learning amazing new moves and tricks in class, one of the best things you can do to help your progress is to do additional training to practice the moves you have learnt. It can be hard to practice pole and lyra at home, but luckily, the studio is open for practice time! When coming in to practice time, having a plan will help you make the most of your session. Here we have combined some of our top tips for getting the most out of your practice time at Sky Sirens!

Words by Eva Devore | Photography by Etienne Reynaud

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Coming in to the studio for practice time is a great opportunity to work on moves you have learnt in class, practice your routine, or polish your flow and performance skills. Making sure you are prepared before coming in to the studio will help you get the most from your session, use your time efficiently and practice the things that need the most work.

Packing your bag for practice time is very similar to packing your bag for class. You should make sure to bring your exercise outfit, clothing to warm up in, your pole shoes and/or kneepads, dry hands and anything else you'll need for dancing. It's also a great idea to pack a notebook so that you can make choreography notes, or write down things you'd like to ask your teacher to help you with next lesson. Bringing your phone to video yourself on is also a great idea, as you can easily review your performance and progress.

Preparing a list of moves to work on in advance can help you feel more organised during your practice time. Writing down what you'd like to work on can help you to pace yourself, use your time efficiently and cover a lot of content in a shorter space of time. This also lets you make notes on specific moves and your progress, and you can take them back to your teacher to troubleshoot in your next lesson.

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Our practice times sessions at Sky Sirens are open practice time - this means everyone is welcome to come along and train during the practice hours. Sometimes you may find yourself sharing the space with other students of all different skill levels and experience. When sharing the classroom, make sure you respect the space of the other students, as you are all paying the same amount to be there!

Our classrooms can take up to seven people using the apparatus in both the pole and lyra room, with additional spaces if you are just stretching or working on choreography without using an apparatus. With other people in the room, it's important to respect each other's training and personal space. This means you cannot ask other students to change out of an apparatus they are using, or to tell them to stop training because you would like to use the space yourself. If this is something you feel you need to do, you must book the room privately for your own use. If you have any concerns over this, it's best to speak to the Lady of the House on duty at the time.

Similarly, if you are taking videos of yourself in class, it is polite to ask the other students if they mind you taking the video. You should not place your phone or camera in the way of anyone else's training, and you definitely should never tell another student to stop training so you can film your own training.

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Practice time is unsupervised, so most of the time there will not be a teacher present in the room to spot you or make sure you are safe. During a practice time session, your safety is your own responsibility. It is important to respect the safety rules and measures that the studio has in place, and to behave in a safe manner to ensure both you, and those you are sharing the space with, can avoid injury.

Staying safe in practice time also means you should not be attempting to learn moves you have not learned in class. Practice time is not the time to try and teach yourself a cool new move you have seen on Instagram, or to try and learn tricks that you haven't done in your syllabus yet. As there are no teachers present, they cannot spot you and ensure you are doing the move safely. Remember, lyra and pole can be very dangerous if you fall! Similarly, students should never teach each other. Our instructors undertake specialised safety training to ensure they can spot you properly and teach the moves to you in a safe way. However advanced your friend may be, we don't allow students to teach each other as we cannot ensure their teaching methods meet our safety standards. Please contact your instructor if you are unsure of a move, and save it until the next time you are in class.

Finally, no student may change, touch or tamper with the rigging. Only Sky Sirens staff can change the rigging, so you must ask the staff member on duty if you need a hoop changed, lowered or raised. If our rigging is tampered with, we cannot ensure our student's safety, and if an accident were to occur, you would be responsible for someone else's injuries. It's easy to have the rigging changed, just ask the Lady of the House to help you!

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Practice time is the perfect place to put in some extra hours polishing the routines you are working on before your performance. And of course, if you're practicing your routine, you are going to need some music to dance to! When sharing the practice space with others, there are a few etiquette rules you should follow to make sure you are using the music properly.

When practicing, you are more than welcome to use the speakers in the classroom to play music from your phone or MP3 player, or to use the studio iPod. When using the studio speakers, make sure you share the speaker time with other students in the room, and ask them if they would like to have a turn using the music. It is also helpful to see if any of the other students in the classroom are at the same level as you, as you can both practice the routine together!

One rule we have around music that is important to remember is that you cannot play the same song on repeat, over and over! This becomes frustrating for everyone else in the space, especially if they are trying to practice their own routine. It is better to run your music once through, have a short break to review your progress and work on some moves or combos, and then play the song again for another run through.

You can also bring headphones with you to practice on your own. This is especially useful if you would like to work on a particular routine with one song, without forcing everyone to listen to it over and over! Bluetooth headphones are perfect as they allow you to place your phone out of the way, and don't have cords that you can get tangled in. There are many bluetooth headphone sets available, at different price points. Some of our favourites are these ones from Kmart, these ones from Typo, and these ones from JB Hi-Fi