You may have seen a 10-minute dance challenge on the YouTube channel of Matt Steffanina, who is one of the most influential hip-hop dancers worldwide. And like the rest of us, you may have wondered how are the dancers involved able to recollect every step in such a short period of time, regardless of the difficulty level!
Well, there are a couple of methods that dancers use to learn multiple routines as fast as a lightning bolt.
1. Synchronizing movements to the music
Rather than memorizing choreography per se, dancers commonly find certain features of a song to remind them of a step or a string of steps. This especially helps if you know the song by heart as you will not forget the parts of the song that you are using to help you! Since dancing is a multisensory experience, paying attention to the “audio” part of it is key to learning routines faster.
1.1 Count to the rhythm
One type of synchronization is counting to the song’s rhythm while grouping dance steps with every beat. Most dances count in beats of 4 or 8. An example of how to perform the popular Renegade dance move is shown below, with each move being linked to each beat of the 4-beat song.
If you have problems finding the beats of a song, you can clap to the music first to familiarize yourself with the rhythm, or even request the assistance of someone who has a musical background.
1.2 Use the lyrics to your advantage
Another way to synchronize is to link movements to the lyrics of a song. In fact, you will realize that many choreographers come up with moves that reflect what the lyrics are about or the hidden message behind the lyrics.
Either way, it becomes a lot easier to recall the moves as you can now see how your actions are related to the song. The following picture depicts professional dancers Minny Park and May J Lee performing a move that symbolizes power, an apt and easy-to-remember move as the song lyric at that exact point of time was ‘They’ll never take my power’.
Credits: One Million Dance Studio
2. Learn a wide range of choreography
To expand your memory bank of dance moves, you should start learning routines for different genres of dance, such as the ones highlighted below.
Credits: Styles At Life
This helps you to pick up future choreography faster as there are often moves or patterns that you would have encountered in previously practiced choreography. Such repetition for muscle memory is key to being extremely familiar with steps so that in the future, you can allocate more time to learning new moves.
Furthermore, dancing to various dance types is a good form of training for your powers of recall. Since you will be accustomed to learning all sorts of dance styles and techniques, be it emotive or physical, you would be equipped with enough experience to remember a new choreography efficiently. Your confidence in tackling more challenging routines would be much higher to boot.
3. Practice with others
Although practicing alone may help you to focus better, you might unknowingly miss out on some steps, only to come to that realization later when it might be harder to relearn the whole choreography. Also, you might be wondering if there is any way to better remember a more difficult part of the dance, but you arrive at no answers.
To prevent this, enrolling yourself in dance classes allows you to interact with other dancers who can share their tips and tricks on how to master a routine fast. You can even dance with your friends in a function room or dance studio that is available for booking so that you guys can learn from one another while having a whale of a time!
To add on, simply watching others practice the same choreography might be a better way for you to remember the steps. Rather than trying to emulate movements from a screen, you are now seeing them live which makes it easier to follow and you can ask as many questions as you want, such as how to remember the moves faster or how to avoid repeating a particular mistake. Such interaction is limited when merely watching dance tutorials at home, which could limit your ability to quickly get a choreography in the bag.
Credits: The Hive Dance Studio NJ