Are you a new dancer? One of the most exciting parts of dance is taking part in choreography. Learning how to move in sync with a group fosters a sense of connection and looks awesome. Here are four ways new dancers and new choreographers can improve their mastery of choreography naturally and efficiently:
1. Honor the Tactile Learner in Yourself
In the past, teaching choreography has solely catered to those who learn best through visual and auditory cues. Dance students were expected to watch and repeat while listening to musical cues. With the growth of tactile styles like contact improvisation in which two dancers move together while following touch cues from each other, learning choreography has changed as well. Request to stand behind your choreographer and place your hands on their hips while they run through the counts. Feel the rise and fall of their movements in your body through your hands.
2. Hit the Big Beats First, Then the Small Beats
Imagine the choreography as a skeleton. Watch your choreographer run the piece. Pick out the six or seven "biggest" accents in the choreography and listen to to the music while only hitting those. When you've got them, add the movements that are of medium accent and add the finer, more intricate details last. Use the beats and levels of the music for clarity.
3. Lyrical vs. By Count
If all of the counting and all of the numbers wig you out, try learning choreography lyrically. Lyrical choreography is when the dance movements match the words in the music rather than the counts. It brings the emotional expressive element to the foreground. Try connecting to movement primarily through feelings and words.
4. Commit Standard Moves to Muscle Memory
Every style of dance has it's basic foundation moves. There are the up rocks and the down rocks in hip hop, the step-ball-changes and so much more. Every choreographer has a foundation of go-to moves they tend to repeat and put in all their choreography. Be aware of these so they come automatically and without thinking.