We’ve all been there, no matter whether this is your first dance class or you have been dancing since you were two years old, we have all been in a class where we are completely lost and it feels like everyone else knows the routine. It can be quite a daunting feeling and may even put you off going back to the class altogether but do not worry, you are not alone! We have compiled our top five tips to help you remember your choreography:
1. Behold the front!
Now I appreciate that if you are feeling less than confident, the thought of standing at the front of a dance class is the last thing on your mind. However by getting a good position in the dance class where you can clearly see the teacher, will make it a lot easier to pick up the steps. You don’t need to be next to the teacher, just try and position yourself nearer to the front and with good space around you, this way you will have plenty of room when first learning the routine.
2. Questions, questions and more questions
Don’t be afraid to ask questions in class, whether it’s small details like clarifying hand positions or asking the teacher to go back over whole sequences. You may feel uncomfortable, worrying that everyone else in the class already knows but they probably don’t, and most will really appreciate that you were brave enough to ask! Also teachers like questions as it means they can clarify more tricky steps so the whole class can pick up the routine more easily.
3. Keep moving
The key to remembering a routine is to convert the physical movements into muscle memory which means you don’t have to think about each step. Go over steps in class as much as possible, in particular tricky quick movements. Repetition is key to creating muscle memory.
Look out for any opportunities in the class to practice such as water breaks (definitely drink first but then practice while you wait for the class to re-group). Sometimes the teacher will split the class into multiple groups, try and stand at the back and go through the routine while the other groups are performing. If timing is difficult, this is a great way to check your timing is accurate by doing the routine with them.
4. Video time
Always ask first but see if you are able to video the teacher counting the steps slowly to the beat so you can practice at home. Practising at home even if just for 10 minutes will make a big difference in your next class. Do this at the end of class so as not to interrupt the class.
If teachers don’t have another class straight after they are normally happy to do this. Try and record the teacher in the mirror so their back is turned to you (as it is in class). This can be easier to work out their right and left movements. If filming from the front you will need to mirror their movements which can be trickier.
5. Play that funky music
Find out the exact track you are dancing to and listen to it whenever you have the chance, on your commute, waiting for a train, at your desk at work, the opportunities are endless! Listen to the music and imagine yourself doing the routine in your head. I know this sounds a bit mad but it works really well! If you are struggling to picture the steps to the music because it is too fast, just spend some time going over the steps in your head without music.
If you are given lots of choreography in one go, just go full out on the steps you do remember, you can always freestyle the parts you are not sure about and you will be surprised how the parts start to piece together.
Be kind to yourself, you may have been dancing for a long time but all teachers have their own individual style and sometimes the rest of the class will have been dancing with that teacher for a while. Give yourself a good few weeks so get used to the teacher’s style. You’ll often find teachers have a few steps which come up in a lot of their routines so it becomes a lot easier with time.
Remember you will have good and bad days so some days you may be better at picking up routines than others. Best thing to do is remember why you came to class, and just fully go for the steps you remember and freestyle the rest! With dance the key thing to remember is confidence, so if you really perform the choreography using your face, personality and lots of energy, you will look and feel like a much better dancer.
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