Forum: General / Hip Hop / Hip Hop

Picking up choreography quickly?
By heins
On Tue Apr 10, 2007 05:37 PM

Basically, one of my biggest frustrations is simply learning t o pick up the choreography that my instructor teaches.

What are the things that you do to help you remember the routine in a one-hour session? (I'm not speaking about a situation where I can go home and practice - it's pretty much a 'learn the routine and be able to do it by the end of class' type dealio.)

I know that its a rather broad question, but what do you do to ensure that you learn the choreo quickly? What goes through your minds, how do you position yourself, how do you remember the counts? Or perhaps it either comes to you naturally or from years of dance experience?

Often times, once I get home and repeat the song, I HAVE the routine all in my head, but it just takes me a long time to process it fully.

6 Replies to Picking up choreography quickly?

re: Picking up choreography quickly?
By heins
On Tue Apr 10, 2007 05:58 PM
oh, and also - how does your teacher teach you routines?

like, shows you the dance to the song, then teaches it?
or teaches it per 8 count without music? then after every 8 count, dance it to the music?
or teach you the entire routine without listening to the music, then dance to it after?
etc etc..
re: Picking up choreography quickly?
By LeMusiquemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Wed Apr 11, 2007 11:07 PM
During class, listen to your instructor, but also "place" the counts and routine in your mind. Take "pictures" with your mind.
With me, I pretend my brain is a camera and my teacher is the one I am taking pictures or filming a video on. Just pretend you ARE taking a picture... "store" the picture in your mind and after you "take" the pretend picture, repeat the counts you just learned, and also say the moves outloud in your mind.

Once you get home, you should be able to remember everything, because it helped me!!
I have a feeling if you do what I just told you correctly, you will probably even remember what your teacher was wearing that day 5 years from now..I actually think that is quite ridiculous...but....maybe?

Try the picture technique...It really works!!! I swear.

re: Picking up choreography quickly?
By glitterfairyPremium member
On Fri Apr 20, 2007 08:18 AM
My teachers tend to teach chorey in "phrases" - say about 4 counts of 8 (in which we'll only cover 4-8 counts at a time, then move on), then try that with the music for a few times, then move onto the next "phrase". I tend to do the same thing in the classes I teach.

As for picking up... I was taught there are two types of choreography learners - audio digital (crazy fast picker-up-er-ers) and kinesthetic (those that learn through repetition). Sounds like you're the latter - I am too :) The trick with being kinesthetic is that you must practice over and over and over again every opportunity you get. Think about it while you're having a drink break, just before the music comes on, etc etc. It's very much about concentration.

Many people use "signposts" to remember choreography, either giving steps names ("windmill" then "kicky bit" then "isolation bit"), mentally connecting certain steps to certain points in the music, alloting certain steps counts (1, 2, 3, and 4 etc), or a combination of all these.

Additionally, I feel that we all have a kind of 'pickup register' that can be raised (or lowered) according to what kind of challenges we are being handed. If you stay with this instructor, over time you will increase your pickup speed. If you manage to find an instructor who is even tougher, it will go up again and the previous instructor's class will seem much easier, etc etc.

So basically, keep slogging it out ;) It does get better over time, but it's a long-term thing. But every effort counts
re: Picking up choreography quickly?
By Krazy_Kat
On Fri Apr 20, 2007 12:27 PM
Yea I know exactly how your going! I'd say go to the very front of the class when ther is nobody infront of you, because when you see everyone around you sometimes you try to copy them. It becomes easier if you try to focus hard! :]
re: Picking up choreography quickly?
By kdl_0202
On Fri Apr 27, 2007 12:05 PM
I hear you on this! At one studio I took from, my teacher always "babied" us by going over and over the steps, not moving on until everyone had the 8 count down. Then she would add another 8 count but never until we all had the previous one down. Not to offend anyone by saying she babied us. This teaching technique may be effective for some, but when I moved to another studio my junior and senior years of high school I got a wake up call, thats for sure! Dance instructors would teach several 8 counts at a time, barely stopping to review, and I would get completely lost.
For some, picking it up comes naturally. Like a previous poster was getting at, we all learn differently. Some of us are visual learners, meaning we can easily pick up choreography by seeing it done with little explanation. Others are auditory learners, meaning they learn it best by having it explained. Still others are kinesthetic learners and learn better by actually doing. And still others learn by a combination of these or other means. These come from Howard Gardner's Multiple Intelligence Theory.
But anyway, I soon realized I was not a fast learner, but part of that was because I had never been expected to be. Over the years, I have gotten MUCH better at it. It is easy to get discouraged but don't give up! One thing that helped me was breaking it down and anticipating what comes next. Like another post mentioned, continue to go over it in your head. Mark it if you don't have enough room to do it full out. Another thing that helped me was nicknaming each 8 count. That may sound silly, but it did help me. For example, let's say an 8 count consisted of walk 1, walk 2, pas de bouree 3-&-4, pas de bouree 5-&-6, double pirouette 7-8, I may refer to this section (atleast in my head as "double"). That way when I'm going over the dance, in my head I can anticipate that "double" is coming up next. I think it helps to pick the highlight of the 8 count or set of 8 counts b/c its easier to remember the steps leading up to it and/or out of it. And like I said, it just takes practice. I remember thinking I would never be able to pick up choreography very fast, and now I dance for a professional football team where almost every practice we learn 2-3 new routines. And when our coach met with us for personal evaluations after tryouts, one of the things she noted about me, was that I was great at picking up the choreography! So don't give up! :)
By Keelie
On Sat Apr 28, 2007 10:00 AM
Well basically wut I do, is I imitate my choreographer. When she does a move, I do exactly that. I do it all as soon as they do it and I repeat it, without thinking about it. Keep repeating it, until its in your body. And then as she adds on more moves, continue to repeat it all. My body somehow remembers it that way, and if my body fails to remember it's usually that picture in my head of them doing the dance that helps me remind myself. When your teacher is done teaching you? does she do it with you? Cuz once she has taught you, it helps to have them do it with you a few times before going off on your own.

I think your thinking about it too much. Just imitate them, as they do it, when they do it. Use your eyes and your body, thats it.


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