Part of being a dancer is learning choreography quickly and accurately. Some dancers will pick up choreography naturally and it will seem almost effortless. While others
have to work at it more. If you are lacking this gift, learning new movement in your dance class or at an audition can be very frustrating.
You are in luck! Below are my 7 Tips to Improve Learning Choreography Quickly.
1. Section It Out
When first starting to process a long string of detailed choreography, it is best to separate the movement into sections. Generally, the choreographer will teach it in sections naturally. But, if it seems like it’s too much and causes your brain to go into overdrive, mentally break it into much smaller sections and try it that way.
2. Keep Moving
Don’t let yourself get stuck on the details right away. Start with the big picture of the movement like patterns, direction changes and pathways. Once the broad range of movement is discovered you can start to focus on the trouble spots and intricate placement of hands, head and footwork.
3. Start Simple
The key to overcoming complex choreography is realizing it can be mentally simplified. If there are certain aspects of the choreography that are tripping you up, talk yourself through it with simple terms. For example, terms like right, left , up, up, down or grab, elbow, push, hit, spin.
In addition to practicing full out, it is helpful when you are waiting on the sides to practice the choreography or repeat it in your head. This is in addition to marking it on the sides. This will help you stay focused on your dancing and not talking to your friends and getting distracted.
6. Go Full Out
Dancing full out is key to get the choreography to “stick.” Marking is fine for the sides when you are reviewing for memory, but any other time should be full out.
7. Eyes OFF
Once movement has been learned and you have absorbed as much as you can, it is time to keep your eyes off of the instructor and other dancers. Any and all visual cues should be abandoned at this time. Concentrate and rely on your internal instincts section by section- focusing on how it makes you feel and the movements you are developing.
In the Classroom
When it comes to picking up quickly, there are many things you can do in the class room setting to ensure that you are set up for success.
- Ditch the negative self-talk. Letting yourself compare yourself to others and succumb to your own fears will only hurt you and can become a bad habit.
- Expand your dance vocabulary. Often times the trouble with learning new things is the simple fact that they are new. The more classes and experiences you have in a variety of dance forms with various teachers and choreographers- the more you will be used to unfamiliar movement.
- Take the daily opportunities. Every time you take class or memorize a new barre exercise, challenge yourself to do it as accurate as possible. Challenge yourself to be faster and more clear than you were the last time.
Whether it’s in the class room or at an audition, picking up quickly is key to becoming an excellent dancer. Practicing choreography correctly and accurately is a vital attribute to all dancers.