Memorizing Choreography

Being able to pick up choreography quickly is an essential skill needed in both the professional and pre-professional dance world. After you’ve picked it up, retaining that information in full detail is equally important. Here at Hawkins, we train mind and body to remember movement. Here are some tips from some of our master memorizers on how to learn and hold on to choreography.

  1. Find Patterns. More often than not, choreographers have a certain idea that motivates choreography. Being able to see patterns like sharp to smooth (etc.) and if they repeat can help when trying to remember choreography later on.
  2. Say What You See.  Especially in tap, saying the step as you do it can help translate the movement from your brain to your body (but make sure you're saying the right things).
  3. Move With the Choreographer. When you are first learning choreography, try to mimic what your choreographer is doing as they do it. This helps develop muscle memory early on.
  4. Pay Attention to Details. Even though they might not seem important compared to the big movements being given, the details make a big difference. Is that foot flexed or pointed? Parallel or turned out? This also helps later on when you are cleaning choreography because you know the movement entirely. 
  5. Mark it on the Sides. This is especially helpful in convention classes where teachers are forced to move quickly. When you split up into groups, stand on the side and watch the dancers on the floor while marking the movement. Notice what you liked and didn't like of the dancers before you and keep it in mind when it’s your turn.

Although the idea of learning and retaining choreography can seem impossible to some, it is a reachable goal. Hopefully these tips can help you to improve your memorization skills and become a better dancer all around! 


by the Hawkins Contemporary
Jazz Company Elite dancers
written by Ashton Titus