In order to really shine on stage you need to know your choreography inside out and back to front. You should know it so well that you can do it in your sleep! Only once you know the steps this well can you really focus on showing your best technique and performing to your maximum to truly WOW the audience.
We know students these days are very busy with study and other sporting or after school activities so finding the time to practice at home can be tough; in order to put your “best foot forward” on stage we have a few tips for putting in the extra practice to be ready to shine. Students and parents take note!
- Pay attention
Make sure you are giving your teacher your full attention. Watch what they are doing carefully and listen to any notes given so that you can apply the corrections.
- Still struggling with a certain sequence after a few attempts?
Put your hand up and ask if the teacher would mind going through it again slowly for you.
- Ask the teacher for the name of the song and artist so you can listen and practice at home.
- Try to find a pattern in the choreography – is there a section that repeats at a certain point in the song? Listen to the music and try to get to know it as well as the steps as linking the two together will help you remember.
- It can sometimes be helpful to remember the steps as sung to the tune of the song, something as simple as ‘left, right, behind-side-front, TURN’ will stick in your brain to help your muscle memory on its way.
- At the end of class write down any notes that your teacher has given you that you might struggle to remember.
If you think you will have trouble remembering without the teacher’s assistance then bring along a device which you can record on and ask your teacher if they would mind you recording the sequence before the class finishes.
TIP– if recording a sequence to practice try to record it from the back of the room facing the mirrors so the teacher is facing back to you, that way you will be able to follow along without getting confused with directions when practicing at home.
Please always ask your teacher’s permission before recording and never share on your social media without permission from other dancers that may feature in the video, or the teacher who may wish the choreography to be kept secret until the performance!
WITHIN 24 HOURS
If you have a new piece of choreography to remember try to mark through the choreography learned when you get home within 24 hours of your class. It doesn’t need to be full out and will only take a few minutes (unless you have the space and time to warm up of course!) but simply going through the steps once within 24 hours will help keep it fresher in your brain. Often students wait too long after class to go through the steps again and have forgotten it by the time they get around to practicing or by the next lesson!
OVER THE NEXT FEW DAYS
If you have the time to warm up properly and go through the choreography full out then make sure you focus on areas where you have been having difficulty or had specific feedback from your teacher.
- Keep starting a step on the wrong foot?
Run the 8 counts before it and into that step over and over until you can’t get it wrong.
- Need to practice using your face to perform?
Mark through the counts in front of a mirror and practice how you will use your face to perform the steps. Sure you may feel silly at first, but who is watching! It will help build your confidence to perform in class.
To use your practice time for maximum effect refer to any notes given by your teacher that you wrote down at the end of class; maybe she wanted you to use stronger arms, listen to the music more or jump higher? Make sure you focus on those when going through the routine ready to go back and improve further in your next class.
Don’t have the time or space to practice full out? IMAGINE THE CHOREOGRAPHY
If you don’t have the space to practice, the time to warm up sufficiently or are simply worn out after a long day, then imagining the choreography can be a really helpful tool. Closing your eyes as you imagine each step to the music can really help your musicality and memory. To make this even more effective, think over feedback received from your teacher or areas you get stuck on in the choreography and imagine yourself completing the steps correctly and with beautiful technique and presentation. Try doing this then you wake up in the morning or before you go to bed at night, it only takes a few minutes but can help you focus and retain the choreography visually which can then be translated into your next practice or class.
BEFORE THE NEXT CLASS
Arrive early, warm up and mark through the choreography with your classmates, this will help keep the choreography fresh in your brain ready for class!
If you follow these tips it will really help you get the most out of your lessons in the lead up to your performance, allowing your teacher to move forward with the choreography and help push your technique further to give the best and most confident performance you can.