From very early on, dancers are taught the importance of being able to learn choreography.
Learning the choreography is just as critical as building proper technique. Your ability to learn and remember will be crucial to your ability to dance.
Here are seven tips to help boost your memory and be able to learn and retaining choreography.
Recognize the patterns.
Dances and movements often have segments that appear in many moves or patterns that repeat. Once you recognize these, you can use them as helpful shortcuts and memory aids.
Seeing these patterns also means if something doesn’t fit the usual template, it will really stand out, making it easier to remember.
Find a dance buddy.
The first resource you should always use when learning and reviewing choreography is a fellow dancer.
They might not know exactly what your steps or spots are, but they can at least help you fill in the memory blanks you might be having. Reviewing together can help both of you understand and retain the choreography.
Mark your movement.
“Marking” is when you simulate movements with partial gestures. It’s a quick, easy way to mentally review, allowing you to get in some practice and repetition without having to do moves full out. You can do this while sitting or lying by just making micro-movements with your hands or feet, filling in the rest with your imagination.
[Hunger decreases your ability to focus during class. Check out this dancer’s snack list to avoid distracting hunger while learning choreography.]
Grab a notebook.
Write down your steps after learning new choreography. Always have a notebook in your dance bag with you. Spend time after class or rehearsal writing down steps, corrections, and notes. You can reference your notebook any time, and the notes will come in handy when you revisit.
Absorb the music.
Ask the choreographer for a copy of the music. Listen to the music and visualize the choreography. Listen to the music on your commute while you’re making dinner or at the gym.
Review before bed.
Recent studies show that the best time to study information is before going to sleep. As you sleep, your short-term memory (events or information that you processed during that day) converts into your long-term memory (memories that stay with you longer than a few days).
By reviewing right before bed, the choreography is more likely to convert to your long-term memory, which means you’ll remember it better!
Create muscle memory.
The best way to learn and remember is through repetition. If you do something repeatedly, then your body will start to do it on autopilot. So, drill a section of choreography 50 times if you need to. The more you do it, the more you will imprint the move into your muscles and brain.
Learning to memorize choreography will naturally get easier with experience. But if you want a quicker and more fool-proof way to remember choreography, put these seven tips to practice. Try them at your next Evolution Dance class.
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