Learning how to dance can be an exciting exercise. Whether you are looking to dance professionally or you want to dance as a hobby, learning to dance, like any other activity, takes time, skill and practice.
An essential skill in dancing – whether competitive dancing or dancing for pleasure – is the memory. Your ability to remember dance steps quickly is very crucial if you want to learn how to dance. If you would want to learn to dance to fulfil a lifelong passion, or perhaps to become competitive, this article is all you need to teach yourself how to dance.
There are different types of dances out there, and honestly speaking, it would be tough to start learning all the forms or styles of dance at once. There are so many tips to help you learn how to dance. However, we cannot exhaust all of them in one article. Therefore we will discuss the most important ones. For the purpose of this article, our focus will be on choreography.
If you have not considered dancing at all, there are quite some reasons why you should have a rethink and consider dancing:
First, dancing helps to keep your brain and body active, and it is good for people of every age. Second, dancing is a great way to improve strength and flexibility, which helps to keep your muscle and joints healthy (no muscle cramps and spasms). Third, dance can actually offer an insight into the cultures and traditions of other people. This can happen through the dance styles or direct contact with people of other cultures. Finally, dancing helps you to learn about your body and helps to improve your body posture and balance.
Below are some tips that can help you to learn how to dance, or improve on your dancing if you are already learning how to dance. Remember: nobody can teach you how to dance if you have not made up your mind to dance and if necessary steps have not been taken to pursue that your dream of dancing.
If you are learning choreography for the first time, it is important that you prepare your brain for the mental workout. As it is with any other physical warm-up, everyone has their own unique needs, but you should try preparing yourself by taking deep breaths to help improve your performance. There are also some other focusing techniques to help you- you can try counting backwards without letting your mind stray; you can also picture an object or movement with full concentration for a few minutes. The best way to help you focus is by repeating a positive quote or inspiring word to yourself.
BITE LITTLE CHUNKS
Dancing (including choreography) deals with memorizing long movements or steps. We learn and memorize best when we break long details (like dance steps) into absorbable sections. The choreography is usually taught in chunks, but if you can’t handle it, it is better you break it down to smaller pieces the suits you, to make it easier for you to memorize.
This is a neat mental trick that will help you a lot. Try to picture whatever movement you have been given in slow motion. Even if the movement or step is in real time, it is good to imagine that it is happening at slower Speed – at a speed that allows you to capture every detail. Another option is: take a few moments to slow down a step if you feel it is too fast and gradually increase the tempo.
Every dance combination has peaks, valleys, pathways and landmarks. It is critical to mentally map these places in the choreography and basically keep travelling the same direction from one destination to the next.
Link your movements to labels, keywords, lyrics, rhythms, or sounds – say it to yourself. It is possible that the instructor might have done this already, but it is important you make these word connections yourself, that way you remember faster.
TAKE YOUR EYES OFF
This is a crucial tip that is usually overlooked by dancers, especially dancers that have low confidence levels. After absorbing the movement and steps given by the instructor, it is time to take your eyes off the instructor and other dancers to break the connection. Remove every form of visual cues and focus rather on the internal ones you’ve developed – your thoughts, your feelings, where you are on your mental map, and not necessarily where you are in the room.
The above tips are not a guarantee that you will know how to dance instantly. Hard work, practice, and dedication plus the above tips are what you need to master those dance steps and move from a rookie to a professional dancer.