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  1. #1
    Established BHUZzer yaalini's Avatar
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    How long to teach/learn a choreography?

    Hello!

    I was just wondering for the teachers, how long do you usually take to teach a choreography in class? What about students who learn slowly, or those who just came into your class?

    For the students, how long does it take to you to learn a choreography? Do you get outside lessons to keep up in class?

    (I'm a student - I learn choreographies fairly quickly for the most part, though retaining them can sometimes be an issue!..l;,)


  2. #2
    Official BHUZzer Odella26's Avatar
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    Re: How long to teach/learn a choreography?

    Hi there! It depends on the level of my students......Is this choreography you are just teaching for fun or for an upcoming performance? If it is for a performance I would teach it 3-5 months in advance. But this all depends on the level of your students, the length of the choreography, and how often the rehearsals are. If you are rehearsing more frequently then once per week then you could prepare it in less time......Also, it is important to factor in the use of props and making sure that everyone in the group is clear of counts, details etc.
    I tend to learn choreography very quickly, but I have been dancing since I was a kid so I am just used to it :) I always encourage my students to find what works for them. I learn best when I condense things and focus on the patterns of the choreography, others learn best by counting, some by hearing the teacher say it, or just by practicing over and over again. Good luck to you! I hope this helps!


  3. #3
    A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single post. anala's Avatar
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    Re: How long to teach/learn a choreography?

    What about students who learn slowly

    It is the teacher that learns slowly here!

    Bout 30 minutes to break it down, drill it to the sound of my counting, drill it to "drill" music so it sinks into the body without the distraction of the real music and then set it to the section of music it belongs to, and repeat that section 16 times. This is for a block of combos that take up 32 counts. So 30 minutes = about 30 seconds.


  4. #4
    A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single post. Zumarrad's Avatar
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    Re: How long to teach/learn a choreography?

    Dr Mo Geddawi talked about an hour for a minute, which I think is about right. But for a three minute choreo you need more than three hours to get it to performance level, unless everyone is very quick and very able. I think also if aspects of the movement vocabulary or music are very unfamiliar you would probably need longer. For instance, I really don't "get" 9/8 and similar odd measures, and I think it would take me longer to learn a 9/8, 5/4 or 7/8 dance than one that was 2/4, 4/4, 3/4 or 6/8.
    Last edited by Zumarrad; 02-14-2009 at 08:54 AM.


  5. #5
    A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single post. anala's Avatar
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    Re: How long to teach/learn a choreography?

    three hours to get it to performance level

    Oh...I wish!


  6. #6
    A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single post. Lauren_'s Avatar
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    Re: How long to teach/learn a choreography?

    An hour per minute sounds about right. For beginners, I allow more like 2 hours per minute, because they have to learn the moves as well as the choreo (and their choreos are very simple).

    And yes, that's just for memorizing the choreo and getting the basic structure down. if we want to polish it to performance level, it's at least twice that long (and it never looks truly polished until we've performed it a few times).

    I think you can accomplish things a little faster if you have longer classes (90 minutes over an hour, or a workshop day) because you're not warming up, cooling down, drilling, and reviewing every hour.


  7. #7
    Mega BHUZzer mahsati's Avatar
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    Re: How long to teach/learn a choreography?

    I would say I teach at about 1 minute an hour unless dealing with professional level dancers, but it takes a lot longer to get it polished for performance


  8. #8
    Mega BHUZzer david's Avatar
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    Re: How long to teach/learn a choreography?

    In workshops - approx 1 hr per minute (just to teach the choreography)

    In class / private lessons - 1 month to a year - to get up to acceptable performance level depending on length and difficulty.

    There is a big difference between teaching the technique of a choreography and ensuring quality of artistic vision/intent in a choreography.


  9. #9
    A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single post. Lauren_'s Avatar
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    Re: How long to teach/learn a choreography?

    Quote Originally Posted by david View Post
    There is a big difference between teaching the technique of a choreography and ensuring quality of artistic vision/intent in a choreography.
    Word. For the second, I dance solo.

    Even then I only manage it about 1/4 of the time. ..l;,


  10. #10
    Advanced BHUZzer AngelaDiCaprio's Avatar
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    Re: How long to teach/learn a choreography?

    I agree with Lauren and Odella. For performance with once a week rehearsals we start a minimum of three months in advance of the performance date. I know for competitions some begin six months in advance of the competition.


  11. #11
    Established BHUZzer yaalini's Avatar
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    Re: How long to teach/learn a choreography?

    Lauren, you mentioned a workshop day. Do you use those, how do you have them?

    (For example, Do all students have to attend and pay for the workshop, do you offer workshops for the slow learners to catch up, etc.)

    Thanks for the replies so far!


  12. #12
    A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single post. Lauren_'s Avatar
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    Re: How long to teach/learn a choreography?

    Oh, I just meant if you're learning a choreography at a workshop, all at once, rather than a weekly class.

    Helping students who struggle -- I make my choreography notes available online and encourage them to print it out, bring it to class, and write all over it in whatever way makes sense to them.

    I encourage them to practice at home. They often think if they can' set aside an hour a day they shouldn't bother, but I think if we've only learned a minute of choreo so far, just doing it three times in a row twice a day -- total of 6 minutes -- will work wonders!

    If my more advanced groups have performed the piece, I put it on youtube. I do this even if the performance wasn't our greatest moment -- it's such a tremendous help to students who can practice along at home.

    I have on occasion allowed a student to videotape me after class for their own use. Only students I know well and trust, though.

    I've considered taping myself and selling the videos to students who want the extra help at home, especially for the earlier level choreos that I teach over and over. But I'm so afraid those videos would make their way into the 'general world' and I can't afford to license the music, etc.

    Oh, I also often stay after class to help. I don't charge for this as long as it doesn't get out of hand.


  13. #13
    Ultimate BHUZzer laura 2's Avatar
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    Re: How long to teach/learn a choreography?

    For my student troupe, an hour a minute sounds just about right on to learn the choreography . But there's probably another 4-6 weeks of rehearsals before we actually perform it for the first time.


  14. #14
    Ultimate BHUZzer Tourbeau's Avatar
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    Re: How long to teach/learn a choreography?

    Here are the two best tips I've found for speeding up the time to teach a new choreography:

    - Edit the song into separate tracks of the relevant musical segments. This makes it easier to work on the pieces. If every run through starts at the beginning of the song and adds onto the end, students remember the earlier parts better than the later ones because they've rehearsed them so much more.

    - Copy the music and slow it down using an audio editor. (I usually go 5%-15% slower, but it depends on the song.) Working at a slower tempo gives you more time to anticipate the changes in the music while you're learning. Once you know the piece at the slower speed, you can work up to the regular tempo, and it doesn't feel as frantic as trying to learn it at full speed.


  15. #15
    A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single post. anala's Avatar
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    Re: How long to teach/learn a choreography?

    I do both and it does make a huge difference. I am usually the slowest one in the room! My students love me anyway. I am competent...just have a little issue with short term memory loss. Did somebody say hafla? LOL.


  16. #16
    Advanced BHUZzer Nepenthe's Avatar
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    Re: How long to teach/learn a choreography?

    In a 1 on 1 or small group situation, I can learn a choreography in a few hours - but then I need to practice every day for 15 min - 30 min for about a week. The key isn't how long I spend, it's how OFTEN I reinforce. Putting all those 15-30 min practice session into one 8 hour session on the day of the show would _not_ work.

    I see that other people mentioned practicing at home. I think that is so key for any group performance, but I wonder if it's difficult to get everyone to commit to that.

    The main reason I am reading this thread is because it has dawned on me that due to the flu and vacations, my duet partner will only have about three weeks to teach me a new choreography before we perform it - trying to figure out how much we need to meet and if it's even possible. Eep.


  17. #17
    Established BHUZzer s1dur1_sab1tu's Avatar
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    Re: How long to teach/learn a choreography?

    In your defense Anala, you are also teaching while you're learning it sounds like. So, that is harder! Watching others, making corrections, re-teaching moves or combos, and learning a choreo, can be awful. I've vowed to never do it again! Now I have to settle down and learn the new ones by myself though. I'm training my husband to help. He's picking up quickly.


  18. #18
    Master BHUZzer casbahdance's Avatar
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    Re: How long to teach/learn a choreography?

    Anala, I feel your pain. I am often the slowest learner in my class, too -- and I'm the one teaching it, just like you!

    Class choreos for use as a way to drill movement: my experience with beginners is that many folks will begin to get a pretty good grasp of the order of movements at a rate of about 1 minute or so in about 2 hours. I usually teach 5-week sessions and use 20-30 minutes of each class to work the choreo.

    To get it to performance level, I think a minimum of 3 hours in class per minute is realistic for solid intermediates and above who already know the movements and execute them well, plus additional time for polishing. Everybody will require at-home practice.

    For any level of choreo, I'll quote Lauren (as I so often do), "I encourage them to practice at home. They often think if they can't set aside an hour a day they shouldn't bother, but I think if we've only learned a minute of choreo so far, just doing it three times in a row twice a day -- total of 6 minutes -- will work wonders!"

    This is the same way I suggest folks learn a choreo. Take the section of dance to which you've been introduced, and run through it 2-3 times whenever you can, as many days of the week as you can; do the same with the next section, then put the two together; continue until complete! I provide them with the choreo notes and encourage folks to take notes. I think having a choreo will help some people to practice their movements, but it still seems to be the minority that do . . .

    Teaching choreo to beginners is fairly new to me, but I've been in a pro-level troupe and taught upper-beginners/low-intermediates choreos that were then performed. It is always obvious who practices and who does not!

    Overall, as long as we're not working towards a performance, I'm not a task-master about the whole thing.

    Deborah


  19. #19
    Mega BHUZzer kashmir's Avatar
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    Re: How long to teach/learn a choreography?

    Quote Originally Posted by anala View Post
    three hours to get it to performance level

    Oh...I wish!
    What she menat (I think) was that Dr Mo would often teach a 3-5 minute choreography in under 3 hours. But after you know the "steps" you'd have to go away and work on it for a while to be able to perform it in public.

    So there are a couple of steps, first have the underlying technique, then to learn the sequence, then to bring it to performance level. How long it takes will depend on the dancer's ability in each area. I have seen dancers who start with a wide dance ability pick up a choreography in a morning and have it performable.


  20. #20
    A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single post. anala's Avatar
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    Re: How long to teach/learn a choreography?

    then to learn the sequence

    That is the hard part for me. The self discipline and focus it takes to stay in someone elses movement and not just "rock out" with my bad self and start to dance "my" random dance.


  21. #21
    Master BHUZzer nasila's Avatar
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    Re: How long to teach/learn a choreography?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lauren_ View Post
    An hour per minute sounds about right. For beginners, I allow more like 2 hours per minute, because they have to learn the moves as well as the choreo (and their choreos are very simple).

    Okay, today was the second time I got caught with my pants down...I went by the Bhuz rule of 1 hour per minute of choreo, and choreographed the first 1:45 minutes and then ran out of new stuff before the one-hour class was over! (yes, I have a procrastination problem -- in my defense my whole family has been displaced and living out of suitacases for a month)

    I'm pretty sure my choreographies are not easy, but I'm not trusting that Bhuz rule anymore!


  22. #22
    A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single post. Zumarrad's Avatar
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    Re: How long to teach/learn a choreography?

    For what it's worth, I would never teach a choreography I hadn't finished.

    Second of all, if you run out you can just make them dance it and dance it a few times.


  23. #23
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    Re: How long to teach/learn a choreography?

    Quote Originally Posted by anala View Post
    then to learn the sequence

    That is the hard part for me. The self discipline and focus it takes to stay in someone elses movement and not just "rock out" with my bad self and start to dance "my" random dance.
    I think we must be twins. This describes me to a "T.",r:;


  24. #24
    Official BHUZzer jencUK's Avatar
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    Re: How long to teach/learn a choreography?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tourbeau View Post
    Here are the two best tips I've found for speeding up the time to teach a new choreography:

    - Edit the song into separate tracks of the relevant musical segments. This makes it easier to work on the pieces. If every run through starts at the beginning of the song and adds onto the end, students remember the earlier parts better than the later ones because they've rehearsed them so much more.

    - Copy the music and slow it down using an audio editor. (I usually go 5%-15% slower, but it depends on the song.) Working at a slower tempo gives you more time to anticipate the changes in the music while you're learning. Once you know the piece at the slower speed, you can work up to the regular tempo, and it doesn't feel as frantic as trying to learn it at full speed.
    i am so much happier with my new teacher wher we will be dancing through the whole piece by week 3. With previous teacher, we worked on sepapate pieces so much that I didn't have a clue how they followed on from each other. The music had lots of repetition Kiss Kiss and the choreo didn't and I am slow at sequencing so didn't have a clue.


  25. #25
    Ultimate BHUZzer artemisia_danst's Avatar
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    Re: How long to teach/learn a choreography?

    yes, well, in theory that's what i'd want. in practice, i'm usually a minute and a half ahead of the class... ;-) i do have some basic structure for the whole thing lined out, but i usually havent had time to finish the whol thing before the class series starts


    on video's, for our last show, i allowed students to film me/the class on the condition they share with each other, which they did beautifully, giving each other copies of the dvd they made.. so far none of these have resurfaced on youtube so the lecture on this must have worked, plus they dont get to film me on my own, but with the whole class stumbling along with me, and i doubt any of them wants that on youtube either... having it on dvd to practice along with seems to reassure them, so i figured why not.

    i dont do class notes, i try to force them to write down their own... and then come back with questions. i think they remember a lot better when they write it down themselves

    Quote Originally Posted by zumarrad View Post
    For what it's worth, I would never teach a choreography I hadn't finished.

    Second of all, if you run out you can just make them dance it and dance it a few times.


  26. #26
    Advanced BHUZzer eshe's Avatar
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    Re: How long to teach/learn a choreography?

    I teach choreographies over 4 weeks.

    I teach 1 choreography class where all the moves are taught together and 1 combination class where the technique is broken down more.

    I teach 2 choreographies (1 tribal, 1 oriental) a month and each class is offered twice a week (so there are 2 tribal choreography classes, 2 tribal combination/tech classes for example)

    My troupe also has 2 classes rehearsals a week.


  27. #27
    Ultimate BHUZzer Tourbeau's Avatar
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    Re: How long to teach/learn a choreography?

    Quote Originally Posted by jencUK View Post
    i am so much happier with my new teacher wher we will be dancing through the whole piece by week 3. With previous teacher, we worked on sepapate pieces so much that I didn't have a clue how they followed on from each other. The music had lots of repetition Kiss Kiss and the choreo didn't and I am slow at sequencing so didn't have a clue.
    I didn't mean to sound like I was saying to only work on sections--that is too disjointed for most people. I meant that I think it's easier to work on a chunk and then add each chunk on as it is processed. It still results in more time spent on the front than the back, but it is different to do Section 1, then Section 2, then Sections 1+2, then Section 3, then Sections 1+2+3, ... as opposed to doing Counts 1-16, then Counts 1-32, then Counts 1-48, then Counts 1-64, .... I think the latter method goes back to the old days where it was hard to drop the needle on a record or rewind a cassette to a precise point in the middle of a song, and as a result, it was easier to start each step in the process at the beginning of the song.


  28. #28
    Mega BHUZzer elljay's Avatar
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    Re: How long to teach/learn a choreography?

    Quote Originally Posted by artemisia_danst View Post

    i dont do class notes, i try to force them to write down their own... and then come back with questions. i think they remember a lot better when they write it down themselves
    Amen. I've actually had students get quite irate that I won't write it out for them, but it is SO important for them to write it for themselves. I teach, I don't babysit.

    I tend to stay away from video too...I mean, how did dancers learn BEFORE the advent of the video camera? Its not like it is impossible to learn if they don't have a vid of the piece.

    For students who learn more slowly, or have trouble retaining the choreo, I find that encouraging them to rehearse as a group without me really does wonders. That way they can't rely on me, they have to work it out themselves.


  29. #29
    Mega BHUZzer kashmir's Avatar
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    Re: How long to teach/learn a choreography?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tourbeau View Post
    I didn't mean to sound like I was saying to only work on sections--that is too disjointed for most people. I meant that I think it's easier to work on a chunk and then add each chunk on as it is processed. It still results in more time spent on the front than the back, but it is different to do Section 1, then Section 2, then Sections 1+2, then Section 3, then Sections 1+2+3, ... as opposed to doing Counts 1-16, then Counts 1-32, then Counts 1-48, then Counts 1-64, .... I think the latter method goes back to the old days where it was hard to drop the needle on a record or rewind a cassette to a precise point in the middle of a song, and as a result, it was easier to start each step in the process at the beginning of the song.
    I have two tools - one is I record a track in choreo sections with no space between them. That way I can start on the third sequence by playing the third track. Or play from track two to get the transition.

    I also made sure my latest class CD player had an A-B repeat (used by musicians for practice). This way I can set up a loop on the spot for drilling a sequence. This is also useful for creating choreography when I get a bit that is "sticky".


  30. #30
    Master BHUZzer nasila's Avatar
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    Re: How long to teach/learn a choreography?

    Quote Originally Posted by zumarrad View Post
    For what it's worth, I would never teach a choreography I hadn't finished.
    Well I've danced to this particular song solo a ton of times, but each time it's different and I didn't have all of it (esp the transitions) set in stone for more than the first 2 minutes. That class is hungry, though, and most are quick learners. They usually come for Zahra's Intermediate/Advanced choreo class and stay for mine right after. I'd say average for those students is about 3 hourlong classes for 5 minutes of choreography.

    And I did make them dance it a lot! :)


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