Learning combinations quickly is a necessary skill to be a dancer. There are many tricks that a dancer can use to become a pro at learning choreography quickly and efficiently. It’s all about knowing which trick works the best for you in the appropriate situation.
Here are 7 tricks to help you be a quick study!
#1. Break it down in to sections.
Choreography will be much less overwhelming if you take it phrase by phrase. Let’s pretend that the combination is like a paragraph and every phrase of choreography is like a short sentence within that paragraph. If you break the paragraph up by focusing on one sentence at a time you will not overwhelm yourself by trying to memorize the entire paragraph all at once. The same goes for memorizing choreography, you have to divide it up into easy phrases in order to memorize the entire piece.
#2. Visualize each step.
Stop and think about the combination and really understand what you are about to do before you dance. It’s a waste of energy to do something a million times if you don’t really understand it. Stop and think before you waste your precious energy. You don’t have to work as hard and will avoid unnecessary injuries due to exhaustion.
#3. Make up a story to go along with the steps.
It is fun to make up a story to go along with the choreography – no matter how abstract it may be. There should always be intention behind the movement. There is the difference between a dancer and an artist, an artist makes each step their own. Dance with some intention behind each step. It will be rewarding and fun for you and the audience.
#4. Make sure you don’t cheat…
…by using the mirror or following others to learn the combination. It will only handicap you if you are relying on others to know the combination. Learn the combination for yourself instead of relying on the teacher or people around you know the combination for you.
#5. When learning choreography off of a video, try facing the TV screen towards the mirror.
It can be confusing to constantly flip everything around, but with the reflection of the video in the mirror you can copy the choreography without having to reverse everything.
#6. Learn one step at a time and focus on details.
Details can be easy to miss. Try to stay focused and present throughout the class, rehearsal or in an audition. Keep your eyes glued on the teacher or choreographer when they are demonstrating so you don’t miss anything.
#7. If you have an option, choose to go in the second group.
When you don’t know the combination very well it gives you a bit of extra time to learn the combo, and you can learn from watching others who go before you.
Difficult choreography is a regular part of a dancer’s career and is something you get good at with practice and experience. No one learns exactly the same way as anyone else so be patient with yourself and try to figure out which way works best for you. No matter if you are in a ballet class, rehearsal or an audition, if you apply these tools into your daily dance life it will help you learn quickly and work efficiently.