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  1. #1
    Established BHUZzer nadyasidhe's Avatar
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    Can't remember choreography

    I can do the routines, but I can't remember them. I can even have the music playing and the steps/moves are just a blank, usually.

    How do I learn to remember the choreography? At this rate, I can only copy my instructor or whoever is the lead dancer. (Don't put me in the front row!) I'm so uncomfortable with this!

    And it really hinders any practicing at home!


  2. #2
    Mega BHUZzer kalinkabellydance's Avatar
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    Re: Can't remember choreography

    Hi!
    I was like that before... In my case that was happening because I was used to always have somebody to follow and I was not putting all the effort... Now still take a at least 5 times seeing the choreo to start remember what comes after the other, but I'm doing a way better....


  3. #3
    A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single post. Zumarrad's Avatar
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    Re: Can't remember choreography

    Some people have better choreographic memories than others. I frequently forget choreographies of my own, as my students can tell you.

    How do you normally learn? Are you a person who needs to write things down, say things out loud? It can help if your instructor is yelling stuff at you during the dance, which you then "hear" whenever you hear the music. If she doesn't do that, you could try doing it for yourself - "step step one two three, round and up down" sort of thing. Say it aloud on your own and in your head in class.

    SOme people need notes. If you don't get given choreographic notes, you need to take your own. They need only make sense to you.

    I like a mixture of doing and hearing best, with notes as backup.
    Also, the more times you do it the better you will remember. You have to do something a very large number of times before it becomes habitual, so doing your choreography only ten times (for argument's sake) is not really enough for it to really "get in". Sure, some people can remember a dance off the bat, but most people can't, and you just need to drill it more.


  4. #4
    Master BHUZzer beafarhana's Avatar
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    Re: Can't remember choreography

    The main things that help me to remember choreography are:

    Making notes about the choreography, straight after the workshop or class where I've learned the routine. During the class/workshop, when possible.
    and
    Having the music to practise to. When I can listen to the music and I know it well, I can relate the moves to the music, it becomes a lot easier to remember.

    Keep at it, learning choreography is a skill in itself, it needs practice.


  5. #5
    A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single post. Lauren_'s Avatar
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    Re: Can't remember choreography

    I used to be TERRIBLE at learning choreo. It has gotten SO much better after years of pushing and working hard.

    It takes a little time and a lot of effort to develop this skill. As an adult coming into my first dance class, I had no frame of reference for HOW to learn a choreo.

    At first I followed along, didn't really learn much, and felt like a lame loser a lot.

    My first light-bulb was making myself think as we were dancing 'what comes next?' ---- always thinking about what the next step would be instead of following along numbly (which is truly what I'd been doing).

    Next, I started looking away from the instructor, watching only myself in the mirror or gazing over all our heads. Again, working to actively think 'do I know what's next?' I always had to make up chants for the dance steps that went to the melody of the music.

    On the way home from practice, while it was fresh, I'd listen to the music and say the chants out loud all the way home (it was a 45 minute drive).

    At home when I practiced I'd make notes of what I could remember and leave blanks where I wasn't sure. At the next rehearsal I'd just have to fill in those blanks to have full notes.

    If there was a video of my troupe performing the dance, I'd also use that to fill in the blanks, but I had to stop dancing along because my brain would go into 'follow along' mode.

    So that's my advice. I think the brain tries to go into lazy mode because the whole process of learning a choreo is so overwhelming we don't know where to start! You have to push it a little, keep asking 'what's next? what's next?'

    I guarantee you it gets MUCH easier over time. Your learning skills improve, but even more, you get familiar with the common steps and combos over time, and eventually it's mostly putting steps you already know into a new dance, with a few new bits and some new technique each time.


  6. #6
    Advanced BHUZzer Kathiya's Avatar
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    Re: Can't remember choreography

    also, pay attention to the music. in a well choreographed piece, often the music will tell you what you're supposed to be doing (via melody or beat)


  7. #7
    I could get used to this! Kaheesha's Avatar
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    Re: Can't remember choreography

    I really struggle to remember my own choreography( as my students, who are a patient lot, luckily, will testify!) and have pretty much given up on it for solos... all the above tactics are good, I listen constantly to stuff on my Mp3 so I really know the music, always write notes, which I provide to my students ( once they have learned the routine... they would be gobbledeygook before that!) and we have started to video them from the front and back too... this is working great for the students, I still wander of at random sometimes though...forgetting halfway through which choreo it is, because there are just way too many in my head now...! and like I said, I struggle ;o) xx


  8. #8
    Ultimate BHUZzer shahla's Avatar
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    Re: Can't remember choreography

    I'm going to echo what alot of people have said. Take notes for yourself, make sure you have the music at home to practice with and a third suggestion: video tape it. If you can, tape it from the back which is where you learned it. If you tape the front of the person, it's harder to follow along. Eventually you will commit it to "muscle memory" and your body will just naturally do the next step without having to think too hard about it.


  9. #9
    I could get used to this! TailaDances's Avatar
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    Re: Can't remember choreography

    I also struggle with this. If you break it down into smaller pieces to memorize it makes it easier, say 5-10 steps at a time. When you have those learned, add 1-2 more. Practice without music, then add music. Keep at it and soon you will have the whole dance!

    It does take time. Don't put a whole lot of pressure on yourself and don't put a time constraint on yourself either, that just makes it harder.


  10. #10
    Established BHUZzer nadyasidhe's Avatar
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    Re: Can't remember choreography

    Quote Originally Posted by zumarrad View Post
    It can help if your instructor is yelling stuff at you during the dance, which you then "hear" whenever you hear the music.

    SOme people need notes. If you don't get given choreographic notes, you need to take your own. They need only make sense to you.

    You have to do something a very large number of times before it becomes habitual, so doing your choreography only ten times (for argument's sake) is not really enough for it to really "get in".
    Quote Originally Posted by beafarhana View Post
    The main things that help me to remember choreography are: Making notes about the choreography, straight after the workshop or class where I've learned the routine. And having the music to practice to.
    This is my 12th week since I started ... and I killed some of my hearing in the 70s with rock-n-roll g so I can't usually hear my instructor. I've found that people forget that you can't hear them, and you can't just keep saying "what?" in class.

    I did just ask for choreo notes; I see my instructor writing them. Maybe I should arrange a little notebook on a cord around my neck!!! We pause to talk about the steps 'n stuff, so that could work. Patience & persistence!

    Quote Originally Posted by Lauren_ View Post
    As an adult coming into my first dance class, I had no frame of reference for HOW to learn a choreo.
    I had taken various dance classes as a much younger person. I guess I thought I had all that brainpower still. I really don't, LOL

    Quote Originally Posted by Lauren_ View Post
    On the way home from practice, while it was fresh, I'd listen to the music ... (it was a 45 minute drive).
    I have a 45 minute drive, too, good idea! Radio is broken anyhow.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lauren_ View Post
    At home when I practiced I'd make notes of what I could remember and leave blanks where I wasn't sure. At the next rehearsal I'd just have to fill in those blanks.

    I think the brain tries to go into lazy mode because the whole process of learning a choreo is so overwhelming. I guarantee you it gets MUCH easier.
    I do have sensory overload in each and every class. My instructor may wonder why I will burst out laughing while I'm experiencing overload and screwing up. And because of that, I think I am in "follow mode" much of the time.

    This is soooo helpful! Thank you everyone for your ideas and comments and assurances!


  11. #11
    Master BHUZzer beafarhana's Avatar
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    Re: Can't remember choreography

    Quote Originally Posted by nadyasidhe View Post
    I did just ask for choreo notes; I see my instructor writing them. Maybe I should arrange a little notebook on a cord around my neck!!! We pause to talk about the steps 'n stuff, so that could work. Patience & persistence!
    You need to make your own notes, not rely on your teacher's notes. When you are writing the notes down, your brain is storing the information in a different part of your brain. Similarly, when you are processing the information later, your brain stores the information in a different way again. The more different ways your brain stores the same information, the greater the likelihood of being able to retrieve it again.


  12. #12
    A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single post. Lauren_'s Avatar
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    Re: Can't remember choreography

    Quote Originally Posted by nadyasidhe View Post
    Maybe I should arrange a little notebook on a cord around my neck!!! We pause to talk about the steps 'n stuff, so that could work.
    I've seen people do this at workshops. I've also had students who kept a little notebook at the side of the room and would run over to jot things down from time to time.

    As an instructor, I didn't find this disruptive or rude AT ALL! I was overjoyed to a student taking responsibility for learning.

    I took a college class once where the instructor gave us all the notes to download before each class and wanted us to follow along as he lectured. It bothered him when students took notes, he thought we couldn't listen and scribble at the same time. I found that having the notes handed to me instead of taking my own made it almost impossible for me to learn and retain the material.

    I make the notes available, but I ask that students use my gibberish as a framework or starting point for writing notes that make sense to THEM. Very few actually do it. sigh


  13. #13
    Advanced BHUZzer nisaasaintlouis's Avatar
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    Re: Can't remember choreography

    Quote Originally Posted by beafarhana View Post
    you need to make your own notes, not rely on your teacher's notes. When you are writing the notes down, your brain is storing the information in a different part of your brain. Similarly, when you are processing the information later, your brain stores the information in a different way again. The more different ways your brain stores the same information, the greater the likelihood of being able to retrieve it again.

    yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeees


  14. #14
    Ultimate BHUZzer *Shira*'s Avatar
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    Re: Can't remember choreography

    This page on my web site has two articles with tips on remembering choreography:

    Belly Dance Advice, Tips, How-To's

    Look under the category for "Classroom & Rehearsal"


  15. #15
    Advanced BHUZzer nisaasaintlouis's Avatar
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    Re: Can't remember choreography

    Quote Originally Posted by Lauren_ View Post
    I make the notes available, but I ask that students use my gibberish as a framework or starting point for writing notes that make sense to THEM. Very few actually do it. sigh
    Oh my GOD yes. Students get too wedded to the notes that are handed out by the teacher. My notes provide a skeletal outline of the choreography but not a lot about the details of formations/staging (i.e. when we are getting a choreo ready for a performance), so it is sooooo important for students to make their own notations on the notes. But so few do it! WHYYYYYYY?????


  16. #16
    Ultimate BHUZzer laura 2's Avatar
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    Re: Can't remember choreography

    Quote Originally Posted by Lauren_ View Post
    I've seen people do this at workshops. I've also had students who kept a little notebook at the side of the room and would run over to jot things down from time to time.
    I use a little digital voice recorder for workshop notes, and just talk into it during the breaks. Then when I get home I transcribe my verbal notes into written ones.


  17. #17
    Official BHUZzer jencUK's Avatar
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    Re: Can't remember choreography

    Quote Originally Posted by Lauren_ View Post
    I took a college class once where the instructor gave us all the notes to download before each class and wanted us to follow along as he lectured. It bothered him when students took notes, he thought we couldn't listen and scribble at the same time. I found that having the notes handed to me instead of taking my own made it almost impossible for me to learn and retain the material.

    I fell asleep in every class where my instructor did this!!


  18. #18
    Established BHUZzer nadyasidhe's Avatar
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    Re: Can't remember choreography

    This is GREAT stuff! Thank you!

    The website is again, a knockout, Shira!


  19. #19
    Just Starting! atravers3's Avatar
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    Re: Can't remember choreography

    1. Notes, notes, notes. Write it down in whatever verbage will help you remember what you need to do. I also include arrows indicating direction of movement.

    2. Get a copy of the music and listen to it. Listen to it and dance to it. Eventually you will learn to associate what moves come with what parts of the music.

    3. Visualize. Listen to the music while looking at your notes and think your way through the choreography. This is something you can do even when you are somewhere where you can't dance it. This also really helps with transitions that you just can't get your feet under. Once your brain is clear on what comes next or where you're going, your body can follow.


  20. #20
    Advanced BHUZzer maranajla's Avatar
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    Re: Can't remember choreography

    Also helpful is to come up with a term for the move and sort of sing it along (silently of course) while you're dancing. There are bits of troupe choreo I will never forget bc a former member was able to do this for complicated choreos, like a Mohammed Shahin piece we perform. "bunny ears, bunny ears, sway, sway, turn around and up and down and up and down and..." Sounds silly aloud but is oh so helpful.


  21. #21
    Established BHUZzer kahaz's Avatar
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    Re: Can't remember choreography

    Also don't forget that 'choreography' is a fairly new concept in this dance. Yes, it's a neccessary evil in groups, yes it's an easy way to teach. However, this started essentially as 'folk'; when you're just dancing at a party do you need to remember choreography?

    If you absolutely need to learn choreo try to break it down into usable chunks: instead of everything at once learn it by combination. This is also how most of us teach! A good choreo will have a 'flow' that feels natural so there should be no awkward weight shift or direction wierdness.

    Also really, really learn the music. Well done choreographies should go easily with the music so you shouldn't need to count! Instead of 4 to the right think to the right until (change).

    I'm assuming that the choreo you're learning follows a few rules; otherwise, it may not be you!


  22. #22
    Master BHUZzer beafarhana's Avatar
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    Re: Can't remember choreography

    Choreo does not = evil!
    ..l;,..l;,..l;,..l;,


  23. #23
    Just Starting! Ninanna's Avatar
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    Re: Can't remember choreography

    This thread is really helpful! I've been dancing for a couple years now and though I'm great at following along (even when the "leader" screws up), I always miss at least one part of the choreography! I use my instructor's notes a lot and follow during troupe practice...I'll put an end to that now!


  24. #24
    I could get used to this! TailaDances's Avatar
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    Re: Can't remember choreography

    The first dance I was ever taught is very complicated (a lot of direction changes etc) AND uses finger cymbals....(it's a student dance no less). My first instructor did a voice-over on the music and that helped a lot, as did writing down the steps. I am still working on it (I was taught it last summer). I am sure to get it maybe this summer, I just cut down the pressure I placed on myself and it got better.


  25. #25
    Established BHUZzer turkishdancer's Avatar
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    Re: Can't remember choreography

    I usually try to learn the combos in a sequence that go into the choreography...I like to remember the combos rather than each sequence, maybe 32 count, 64 count at a time..
    and, also I like to associate the moves with the music, especially if there is lyrics go along
    and then I listen to the music many times in the car and visualize it...and focus on the things that I have hard time with...and drill them many times when I have chance.


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