How to Remember Choreography
As dancers we have to recall a lot. Dance choreographies require us to remember dance sequences, musicality, body placement, and movement technique. Social dance requires us to know how to lead and follow as well as be ready at any given moment to recall a pattern of steps and dance transitions. For some of us, remembering dance sequences can be very challenging, but the good news is the ability to do so can be improved upon. I think of the ability to remember choreography like the ability to use a muscle. The more you exercise a muscle, the stronger it becomes. The more you learn new choreography, the better you become at it. From my experience with dancing I’ve learned a few tricks that have helped me with how to remember choreography. Read on as I share some tips and tricks to help strengthen and exercise your dance moves memory.
Start with the Feet
Grasp and understand the foundational movement of a dance before adding smaller details. You need to know where your feet and your weight should be placed first. This will set up the rest of your body movement for success and give you the backbone of dance.
Write it down
Taking notes during class or right after class will give you something to refer back to when your short-term memory fails you. Furthermore, the process of writing the choreography down will force you to recall the steps. This will help solidify the chains of movement in a way that you can understand them. Putting the steps down on paper is one way to mentally repeat the choreography.
If you can say it, you can do it. Find a way to verbalize or even sing the choreography as you do it. This will allow you to create a connection between the timing and the movement as well as allow you to memorize a vocal pattern that will translate to dance in your body.
Look for the Pattern
Often times choreography will repeat movements or sequences. A lot of social dances have borrowed or shared techniques. After learning the movement once, it will be easy to repeat again once you recognize it later in a different sequence or dance pattern.
Think About What’s Next
Think about the next move before the moment arrives. You should mentally be one step ahead. With practice, the movement will become part of your muscle memory and you won’t have to think ahead so much. Initially you’ll need to think about what you’re going to do before you get there.
Stop Thinking You Can’t Do it
Focus on remembering the actual steps instead of being distracted by thoughts of how hard it is to remember them. Don’t waste your energy on panicking and thinking you can’t do it. Accept the challenge, put your energy to good use, and stay mentally present with dance choreography.
Rely On Yourself
Get in the habit of relying on yourself instead of other dancers in the class, your dance partner, or on your dance teacher. Keep your eyes off the instructor as much as you can once you understand the moves. This way you’ll have a better idea of what you’re doing and you will be able to better recall the moves when your teacher isn’t there.
Article by Ziva. Let Bella Ballroom help with your choreography and even more tips to help you remember and perform your dancing!