Today's post was requested by my dance friend Nana. She wants to know my tips for picking up dance choreography quickly. As someone who has struggled with this too, I completely understand where she's coming from. Thanks for the request Nana! Now let's get to business.
My biggest tip is to video the choreography you're learning, especially if it's for a performance or ballet exam. This not only helps with memory but also helps you see and pick up the small details like headlines that you might overlook. That is especially important for ballet exams.
2. Watch the teacher and don't be afraid to as questions.
Watch the teacher demo the combination once before trying it yourself. If you're stuck on a particular move see if you can get the teacher (or a fellow dancer) to demonstrate the move you're stuck on. It really helps me understand the move I don't get if someone explains it to me.
3. Speak up.
Sometimes teachers will ask you if you've got it before you do the combination full out. If you're not sure, don't be afraid to say that you need to go over it again. Chances are, some other dancers are not sure themselves but are too scared to say so. Your dance teachers job is to teach you and help you, so let them do that by speaking up in class if you're unsure about something.
4. Mark it.
If you're doing a combination in groups, when the group before you is dancing, try marking it with them. You should do the arms full out or the legs, depending on which one you have more trouble figuring out. This tip has been a dance lifesaver for me in class.
5. Take notes.
To help you remember corrections or choreography, take notes during and after class. Also investing in a ballet terminology dictionary will help you, if the correct spelling of ballet terms makes more sense to you. I recommend the app Ballet Lite.
6. Listen to the music.
Lots of times when you're doing a combination to a specific music, you can kind of hear the moves within the song itself. Try making a copy of the music to listen to a few times during the day. Imagine yourself performing the steps as the music plays; this will help you match movements with musical cues. I do this all the time with whatever dance I'm learning. When I choreography my own dances, I use the music cues to tell me how to dance (fast upbeat music = happy; slower music = emotional and sad).
7. Focus on yourself.
Lots of times when we struggle with memorizing choreography, we tend to watch the person in front of us dance as we're dancing. That is a recipe for disaster. Instead, focus on yourself and only yourself Try dancing in the front row versus in the back row. If it’s still too tempting to peek at the other dancers, ask your teacher if everyone can try dancing with backs to the mirror.
Photo from The National Ballet of Canada.
So there you have it I hope this helps you! If it did, don't forget to give it a +1 on Google+, follow me on all my social media sites and leave me a comment below if you have any other tips for learning choreography quickly. See you next week!
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