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Ballet - General
Remembering Combinations - A Tip I'd Like to Share (karma: 14)
By d4jmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 12490, member since Fri Aug 27, 2004
On Thu Oct 30, 2008 10:53 PM
Made sticky by TheMidlakeMuse (78507) on 2008-11-05 11:51:53 Great post!

Haven’t we all had that heart-sinking feeling in class when the teacher presents a really long combination? We read frequent posts on all the ballet boards asking about how to remember them better. I've often had the experience of blanking out completely after the first three or four steps. Is there anything more frustrating?

Well, I’ve been wanting to share with you a tip I have developed for myself on how to remember combinations more easily. I have found that this approach has helped me immensely. Maybe it will work for you too. :)

What I propose is that you change from attempting to memorize the steps in a linear fashion and instead look at the combination as a whole. So say that your teacher gives you a combination with like say, fifteen steps in it. This would be your typical example of attempting a linear construction of a combination:

Ok, I start with this,
Then there’s this,
Then this
Oh and this,
And dang what comes next?
I’ll never remember it in order all the way to the end! Arrgh!!
And then I stop dancing.

Graphically it would look like this:

XXXX...........???? Arrgh!!!


Instead, try this: Since the teacher is usually talking pretty fast and you can’t get the whole thing, try to note the beginning step, one major step in the middle, and the final step. Graphically it would look like this:

X...?...X...?...X


Ok, I’ve got sort of a picture of the whole thing and I know how it starts, I’ve got a visual for the middle and I know I can finish clean. I give myself permission to not worry about the middle stuff right away. If I worry too much about it right off my mind tends to shut down. The most important thing is that I keep moving during the blank spots while I wait for the next thing that I know to do, even if I just walk, run, bourree, whatever, to connect the movements that I do know. That is KEY. Because if I go about it the old way I’ll dance the first things until I can’t remember and then STOP. This method forces me to keep going. It forces my mind to pick up more quickly.

Next step: Add the next thing that comes right after the first move, the next thing that comes after the middle move and then the thing that comes right before the final move. (Lol – "thing" being a technical term!) It would look like this:


XX..?..XX..?..XX


By now the combination is quickly becoming more familiar overall and if I have the luxury of another repetition or two I would keep filling in with a third step in each section:

XXX...XXX...XXX

And a fourth:

XXXX..XXXX..XXXX

Yea that's twelve steps! By this time I have most of the combo and I am doing the final fills and clean-ups. And you get:

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Woo-hoo! :)

Here's the thing: Even if you don’t have the luxury of lots of repetition it’s ok. Even if the teacher moves on and you didn’t get this combination it’s ok. Keep using the method for the next combo and the next, etc. You will find that the more you keep doing it the more quickly you’ll be able to read combos as a whole. Before you know it you won’t have to start out with just one beginning and middle and ending step, you'll be doing multiple steps in each section!

It is always beneficial to try and get our brains to move in new and different ways. Maybe this method will work for you, maybe it won’t. But I encourage you to give it a try and let me know how it goes!

Happy dancing,
d4j~
:)

76 Replies to Remembering Combinations - A Tip I'd Like to Share

re: Remembering Combinations - A Tip I'd Like to Share
By live4dance1member has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 822, member since Mon Jan 29, 2007
On Fri Oct 31, 2008 06:22 AM
YAY!!!! finally i get something that wil hopefully work!
i will def try this and hope it works! thanks so much!
KARMA!
re: Remembering Combinations - A Tip I'd Like to Share
By andante Comments: 261, member since Tue Sep 28, 2004
On Fri Oct 31, 2008 08:00 AM
This is an interesting tip, picking up new combinations quickly isn't my strongest suit so I'm going to try this at my next class! :) Hope it works!
re: Remembering Combinations - A Tip I'd Like to Share
By toroandbruinmember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 3627, member since Fri Oct 10, 2008
On Fri Oct 31, 2008 10:32 AM
Edited by toroandbruin (202876) on 2008-10-31 10:46:48 Added Karma.
Yes, yes! And this is a good way to choreograph, also. (In fact it is probably the way the teacher DID choreograph the combination. Get your beginning and ending, invent strong, meaningful movements for each musical phrase, then add logical connecting steps between them.) If you memorize the main parts you'll probably, instinctively, add the right connecting steps or something close to it.

Hint: this is a good way to write a term paper or a play, or compose music, or plan an event -- or create practically anything.

Karma for you.
re: Remembering Combinations - A Tip I'd Like to Share
By TutuU222 Comments: 1250, member since Thu Aug 14, 2008
On Fri Oct 31, 2008 10:04 PM
d4j - that's a very interesting approach to remembering combinations and I say if it works, go for it.

I think this type of approach would work for many and would make you feel better about getting more of the combination, rather than just the beginning, then flubbing through the rest.

Good job. I might have to try this on one of my classes.

Thanks for sharing!
re: Remembering Combinations - A Tip I'd Like to Share
By adore_dancemember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 523, member since Mon Apr 07, 2008
On Fri Oct 31, 2008 10:32 PM
This is a very interesting mehtod to remember combinations, one I have never heard before. I usually have no problems picking up combinations but I know people who do so i will tell them this way of doing things! thanks for posting :)
re: Remembering Combinations - A Tip I'd Like to Share
By chelizzmember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 225, member since Wed Jun 18, 2008
On Sat Nov 01, 2008 08:26 AM
Thank you! I never thought of this before...
re: Remembering Combinations - A Tip I'd Like to Share
By sugarfairy_member has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 1529, member since Sat Feb 09, 2008
On Sat Nov 01, 2008 02:12 PM
thank you so much!! it will definitely help me.
re: Remembering Combinations - A Tip I'd Like to Share
By pointeytoes7791member has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 1143, member since Sun Oct 31, 2004
On Sun Nov 02, 2008 07:10 AM
This is such a great idea! It makes a lot of sense, and I can't wait to try it in class. Thank you d4j!
re: Remembering Combinations - A Tip I'd Like to Share
By dancing_rain Comments: 40, member since Wed Oct 01, 2008
On Mon Nov 03, 2008 03:55 PM
This is a great idea. Thank you for sharing!!!! I will try this in my class on Wednesday!!!! Thanks!
re: Remembering Combinations - A Tip I'd Like to Share
By dancingcupcakexo Comments: 5, member since Sat Oct 18, 2008
On Mon Nov 03, 2008 08:34 PM
I like it!! You're right, usually when I try to remember a combination in segments I'll blank out. My memory also blanks if I think too hard. My favorite thing about your method is how it forces you to keep moving. At my studio stopping in the middle of a combination is what irritates my teachers the most. I'll definitely try this at my next class. =]
re: Remembering Combinations - A Tip I'd Like to Share
By pointegrl22 Comments: 68, member since Fri Oct 24, 2008
On Tue Nov 04, 2008 02:20 PM
thank you so much! this helps a lot!
I am always forgetting my steps, so this definitely is what I am looking for.
I used it and my teacher told me what came in and I remembered!
I just started private lessons and it helped!
re: Remembering Combinations - A Tip I'd Like to Share
By d4jmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 12490, member since Fri Aug 27, 2004
On Tue Nov 04, 2008 02:35 PM
^Yea - it worked for you! I'm so pleased! :)
re: Remembering Combinations - A Tip I'd Like to Share
By Rubberband17member has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 1578, member since Sat May 19, 2007
On Tue Nov 04, 2008 09:54 PM
Oh wow, thank you! You rock! That's a great way to remember combinations! I'm so going to try that, because my ballet teacher has a habit of giving us loooong combinations! So hopefully this will help! Karma for you my dear!
re: Remembering Combinations - A Tip I'd Like to Share
By phyl Comments: 15, member since Sat May 31, 2008
On Wed Nov 05, 2008 06:40 AM
Wow, thanks so much for this-I can't wait to try it out. I have really been thinking a lot about a better way to remember combinations, and even if your method doesn't work for me it has given me a new way of thinking about it
re: Remembering Combinations - A Tip I'd Like to Share
By dance56SEHvun8member has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 754, member since Mon Apr 07, 2008
On Wed Nov 05, 2008 03:38 PM
This is so great! It not only works for ballet, but it helped me a ton in tap too.
re: Remembering Combinations - A Tip I'd Like to Share
By thenextfonteyn42 Comments: 419, member since Sat May 12, 2007
On Fri Nov 07, 2008 06:47 PM
I know another tip: put the steps in a song. Like, if your combination's "passe, down, passe, down, pirouette, fouette, attitude arabesque" you sing it in your head. obviously not out loud or else you'd probably be in big trouble!
re: Remembering Combinations - A Tip I'd Like to Share
By danceforlife_sam Comments: 32, member since Wed Nov 19, 2008
On Fri Nov 21, 2008 10:25 PM
^^That's a good tip too. This is a really good thread and I think it will help lots of people. I think I actually do this sub-consciously and I can't usually pick up combinations quite well (so it must work!) I the feeling of not stopping otherwise you kinda just feel quite hopeless standing there doing nothing lol.
re: Remembering Combinations - A Tip I'd Like to Share
By d4jmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 12490, member since Fri Aug 27, 2004
On Fri Nov 21, 2008 10:36 PM
I like the song idea too!

:)
re: Remembering Combinations - A Tip I'd Like to Share
By crazeddancelover Comments: 30, member since Sun Dec 07, 2008
On Tue Dec 09, 2008 10:02 PM
Thank you soooooo much!
i read this before and
tried it out and it worked
wonders!!!!
kudos!
re: Remembering Combinations - A Tip I'd Like to Share
By Jumpmember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 860, member since Sun May 01, 2005
On Sat Dec 27, 2008 09:02 PM
This sure is interesting. It's the technique that I had to apply in my hiphop class when i missed part 4,5 and 6 of a 10 part routine. 'part' being like 20s of some song.
Strange though, it really works and it looks alot better than ending the routine, like you said, looking silly and standing still with your hand over your mouth. Filling in the blanks also make the whole routine seem shorter for some reason.

My problem is in open ballet classes where the teacher runs through a relatively long bit of adage only once. And we go through it in class about 2 or 3 times. Then the whole class moves on. I always feel very incomplete when I don't get all the steps and yet we're forced to move on to the next part of class. Hopefully your method works for memorizing steps quickly too.
re: Remembering Combinations - A Tip I'd Like to Share
By iDance4Jesus129member has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 237, member since Fri Mar 31, 2006
On Sun Dec 28, 2008 06:03 PM
This is a good idea. I'll definitely try it!
re: Remembering Combinations - A Tip I'd Like to Share
By kdietzmandanca Comments: 20, member since Thu Dec 11, 2008
On Tue Dec 30, 2008 06:47 PM
i have to say, i never ever ever would have thought of this. i tried it in my ballet class yesterday and sure enough it worked. thanks so much! i really appreciate it....
re: Remembering Combinations - A Tip I'd Like to Share
By nycsylphmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 2090, member since Sun Jan 11, 2009
On Thu Jan 15, 2009 05:39 PM
You know what, I think I'm going to try this!

I'm coming back to ballet class from an extremely long layoff and remembering combinations was never something I excelled at anyway. Now ... ?????

But I will try this and let you know if it works!

Thanks so much for being so helpful and sharing.

XOXOXOXOXO and a big bouquet of red long-stemmed roses to you!!!
re: Remembering Combinations - A Tip I'd Like to Share
By LittleMissLee Comments: 1, member since Thu Jan 22, 2009
On Fri Jan 23, 2009 01:13 PM
Wow, I'll have to try that out sometime!
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