8 Tips to help you remember choreography
Memory is a vital skill for a dancer, and just like anything else, it requires practice and hard work to get better! Here are some of our favourite tips to help learn and remember choreography…
WATCH THE CHOREOGRAPHY.
Watch the choreography first, before repeating or asking questions. After you have seen the sequence a few times and can then picture it in your head, you will be in a much better position to learn it and remember it yourself!
LEARN IN PHASES.
You learn and memorize choreography best when its broken down into smaller sections, rather that being overloaded with an entire routine! Most choreography will have distinct sections, and teachers will introduce the choreography in these sections. Take your time and work on each section by itself before stringing it together!
SLOW IT DOWN.
Walking through your choreography steps slowly when learning it helps set the movements in your muscle memory. Similar to reading a textbook, if you speed read you might remember the idea, but not the words. Whereas if you read through the textbook steadily and slowly, you will remember both!
LOOK AT THE BIGGER PICTURE.
Don’t get bogged down by focusing on all the nitty-gritty technical aspects of the choreography such as hand positioning, intricate footwork or head focus. Instead, work on the bigger picture including your main pathways, facings, or patterns first!
KEEP IT SMILING.
Complex choreography can be broken down into simple movements, such as ‘leg, arm, hip hop, elbow over’ rather than getting stuck on complicated terminology.
REPETITION IS KEY.
Repeating the sections of choreography that you have learnt again and again is an important factor in remembering your dance. Even repeating the sequence in your head will help compound the movements in your brain and muscle memory.
SAY IT LOUD.
One of our very own teachers, Miss Sarah, uses this technique herself when remembering choreography! Connecting movements to keywords, rhythms, labels, or sounds helps you to remember it! You can cue yourself with an internal voice, or quietly aloud so as to not distract others. Each keyword or sound will help prompt your brain and body to remember the next step.
Once you’ve absorbed as much of the choreography as you can and worked on remembering the sequences, tear your eyes away from your teachers and from the other dancers in the room. You can even practice facing a wall. This step is vital as it takes away all the visual cues for the choreography, forcing you to focus with your internal cues such as where you are on your mental map on the floor, how something feels, your thoughts, and which section follows which section.