The following is from my Facebook notes from January. :) Came across it and thought I'd share here. For any of my serious students, this mentality is what I hope to instill in all of you. Take it to heart!
I have not danced in eight. days. My body, as an instrument, is out of tune. I rue the difference I feel after one or two days. Dancing daily results in every muscle memory being fresh in the mind, the most complex muscular combinations as easy as waving the hand. Concentration and strain is for the studio, not the stage. People mistakenly practice at 50 to 80 percent at best, and perform at 100 percent.
However it is my personal motto that one must practice at 120 to 150 percent - rehearsal is the time to push yourself and concentrate. When you perform, all your practice pays off and you actually perform at 100 percent. The best performers are often said to be the ones who "make it looks easy". If a dancer does something obviously very impressive, but appears to be straining or nervous (or pulling a muscle), it really ruins the effect. It is far better to do the most difficult things with the most apparent ease and grace.
If every last minute detail is not perfect - repeatedly - in the studio, it will not be so on stage. By the time anything reaches the stage, in a perfect world, it could be done backwards and upside down while sleeping.
Nothing makes a phenomenal performer or group except diligence, preserverance and good old blood, sweat and tears. Practice does not make perfect. PERFECT practice makes perfect.