As we begin preparation for concert season and start learning dances for the show, our brains are jammed packed with counts, choreography and class routines. Here are my top tips on remembering the choreography from week to week!
1. Be familiar with your music
Teachers often tell you to practice your dance at home, but I find it particularly helpful to listen to the music WITHOUT the dance sometimes. On the car ride home or in the shower, I like to pop on the songs that I dance to and really listen to each and every accent. Every click, every clank and every clonk. Being familiar with all layers of the song, rather than just the melody and lyrics, can really help when finding your grove and hitting all the movements precisely. This also improves timing and makes the dance look tidier overall.
2. Count with more than just counts
Pretty much every dancer knows the classic 8-count. Choreographers use it when creating dances and performers use it to keep their timing, but you will often hear dance teachers counting with words or sounds as well as the numbers.
“And 1, And 2, step-ball-change, ta ta ka, around and down” – Miss Maddie teaching corner combos
This helps our brain connect the counts and timing with the actual movement of our body. Using counting such as this is far more effective when remembering lots of routines and is good to write down in a dance journal to revisit later for a jog of memory. You can also associate certain movements/combinations with other silly random words that help you remember i.e. “rainbow and, run run run, rainbow and, ching ching ching”. It may not make sense in anyone else’s brain, but it sure does help!
3. DON’T copy the choreographers or the dancers in front of you
It may be tempting, but try to limit the amount of times you do the dance while copying the person in front of you who knows what they’re doing; The more you copy them, the more reliant you become one them and the less your brain and body soaks in the choreography. While it is very important to watch the choreographer’s movements and observe the way they are performing the combination, you also need to ensure that YOU know what you’re doing, otherwise you will get home and will have most likely forgotten majority of the combination.
4. Go full out as much as possible
You may feel confident and think that you know what you’ve just learnt but the only way to truly know is to go full out. You should aim to perform every section that has been taught to you at performance level at least twice in order for your body to feel the movements properly and therefore remember the combo completely. I am quite guilty when it comes to marking sections as they are being taught and it’s a very bad habit that I’m trying to break. It
limits the amount of information that truly soaks into my brain and also means that I’m distracted and day dream quite a bit because I’m not fully engaged in what I’m doing. From experience, I’ve found that I am much better at remembering choreography if I go full out and allow my body to learn the movement as well as my mind.
5. Practice, Practice, Practice!!!
This is a simple tip, but so important that I MUST mention it- Repetition. If you do something over and over again, then your body will start to do it on autopilot, so drill a section of choreography 50 times if you need to. Heck, do it 100 times! This way, even when you have a brain fart, your body can simply take over. At the end of the day, practise makes perfect and the only way to truly ensure you remember your dances is to run them as much as possible.
Learning to memorize choreography will naturally get easier and easier with experience. But if you want a quicker and more fool-proof way to remember choreography, put these 5 tips to practice!
Miss Maddie Xx