Creating Clean Dance Choreography

February 17, 2015 by
Filed Under: Blog, Dance Styles

Keep it Clean! 

Choreographies that stand out have undoubtedly been well thought out and practiced prior to their debuts. Often times a choreography’s success doesn’t’ depend on it being technically impressive as much as it depends on being executed cleanly. While knowing how to perform a dance with strength and clarity takes experience, I can offer some helpful hints to consider when preparing to nail your next dance.

Keep it Simple

Many choreographers get so carried away with trying to make routines difficult and exciting that they loose the cleanliness of the routine. Impressive moves are no longer impressive if they are executed sloppily.


What’s the intention of the piece? Are you performing in line with the emotional, technical, and musical objective of the dance choreography? Remember the overall concept of the piece and don’t ignore it as you dance.

Be One with the Group

Being unified and creating a connected bigger picture are essential when dancing in a group. The quality of each dancer’s movement has to match or it will look messy. The strength of group choreography comes from solidarity, not from standing out as an individual soloist. Dance companies should match each other in their energy as well as their body movement whenever choreographed together in sequences.


Connect to the music and stay on top of it. (Not in front of it or behind it!) If you’re not with the music, you’ve lost sync with the piece and failed the choreography’s intention. Becoming too focused on the actual moves themselves can cause you to loose the dance originally intended and felt within the action. Stay connected to exactly where you are in the music.


We’ve all heard it before. “Practice makes perfect.” There’s no way around it. You have to train and rehearse to improve yourself and give your choreography the attention and energy needed to clean it.

Keep it Short

It’s better to have short piece that is clean and well performed than a longer piece that is watered down and messy.   Keep in mind that the American attention span is very short. The longer your piece is, the more work you’re going to have to put in to keep your audience engaged and to maintain high quality throughout the entire piece of choreography. A great example from national entertainment would be TV’s Dancing With the Stars show. The competitive dance performances are only 90 seconds long. Anything longer would be too big of a challenge for competitors to get clean by performance day with the short amount of time they have to prepare.

Check Yourself

Once you’ve created choreography, take a look at your work in progress. Videotape it or appoint someone to watch it. Write down any issues you (or your appointed watcher) see with in the choreography. Start cleaning the dance by working with the bigger issues and working towards the smaller ones. Ask yourself which mistakes are the most noticeable and which are the least noticeable.   Bigger moves such as sloppy turns might need attention before smaller issues such as perfecting the exact angle of an extended arm. Assign time to each issue, address each one, and then watch or videotape your dance again. Repeat as needed or as time allows.

Article by dance instructor, Ziva. Allow Ziva and our team of talented dance instructors help you choreograph your next routine! 

Tags: choreography, first dance lessons, choreographing routines, Orange County, CA .