Learning how to dance never goes as smoothly. You can follow tutorial video or take dance classes, but it goes so fast once the music starts. Let alone to doing them right. Is there a way to become a great dancer without going through tedious choreography?
Unfortunately, following someone dancing in series is a great step towards improving the variety of your move.
To ease out this process, I will introduce today some tricks in how to remember the choreography and dancing steps effectively.
4 Fundamental Techniques
- Keep moving, ignore making mistakes
- Keep your chin up
- Remember the names
- Count down 8 beats
1. Keep moving, ignore making mistakes
When you practice in sync with sound, you might stumble every second. That is perfectly natural in the beginning. Feel no shame. The choreographer or a dancer you are following have built that capacity over years of training. You will not be able to execute exactly the same right away. It takes time.
It can be frustrating when you are left out in the fast music. And your one by one move might not look as good as the choreographer. It is tempting to become over analytical and be obsessed with mastering the perfect move in the first couple of times.
Unfortunately, dancing can be only learned not by thinking but moving your head and body. The key here is muscle memory. Let go your mistake and keep up with the move over and over. After 20 or even 30 times, the move magically will start to feel like yourself. That is the beauty of muscle memory. Keep up moving and you will own the choreography in no time.
2. Keep your chin up
Keep your chin up. I mean literally.
There is one universal truth in learning how to dance. You will look terrible when starting out. It does not matter you are a newbie or an experienced dancer. When you try something new, it will look crap. In your head, there is a great mental image. But the reality is nowhere near. This gap is the challenge every artist faces. It is stressful, shameful, painful, and all those feelings that prevent many learners from expanding skills.
The consequence of many dancers is facing away from the mirror. You would get into your mood, and move however you want. Yes, I am a great dancer again! Forget about the ugly mirror! That is good when you are having the groove in a club. But, not when you are practicing. You are practicing choreography so that you will be able to execute the dance move sharply.
It is not as depressing as it sounds. You can see the actual progress by facing your body.
There is an opposite scenario as well. Becoming so self-conscious about making the right move, you might constantly look at your own body. That is ok in the beginning when you need to dance without a mirror. But, it is much harder to get rid of it once that becomes habitual. Remember. Your head is also a part of dancing and choreography. When you are constantly checking yourself, that is the number one sign of no confidence.
Always keep your chin up towards the potential audience.
3. Remember the names
Most dance classes go through a series of combined moves. It can range from 10-30 seconds. Since you follow the choreography in one sequence, it is often difficult to incorporate each dance move into your own.
This happens in many choreography only dancers. When you ask them to dance in a club or a session, they try dancing whatever set of moves they learned in one of the class, and once that 30 seconds runs out they become confused and stumble. In other words, they fail to break down the choreography and stitch it again on their free will.
That is wasteful since you spend the same time learning the choreography anyway. To own the move, you should separate the choreography sequence one by one and practice over each, once you get the overall flow.
The good news is most dance move has a name associated with it. Original founders often name it for the ease of teaching. Or for the simple coolness factor. You can keep up a list of moves you learn and can do. Show off your friends with each step;)
4. Count down 8 beats
This method is for the more advanced. Most choreographer or dance tutorial video teaches in 8 beats. You might be already doing it unconsciously following them. But, it is a great technique when you try to learn on your own any new move from regular YouTube videos.
Pick your favorite dancer, and mentally cut out a video frame by 8 beats. It will be as short as 2-5 seconds depending on the speed of the music. Make a note of that time range. Then further break it down into each beat. Repeat the process. This is the best way to learn what he/she is executing at every musical element. You can observe how the head, shoulder, arms, and legs are controlled at will.
The whole step sounds quite tedious just for a few seconds. It is way easier to keep staring at the videos impressed. But the method is very effective if you want to step up the game.
Choreo, Choreo, Choreo
I wrote down here analytical techniques to improve learning how to dance, as I am a big advocate of learning smart and effective. But let's face it. Using your brain constantly is tiring. It is as effective to go through as many choreographies as possible. It increases the variety of your dancing. And eventually, you will start to figure out the commonality between them.
That is one route you can take. You should mix them up together wisely: brains and muscle. In no time, you will upgrade your dance quality, and the pleasure of dancing will increase more than ever.