Performance Preparedness – Knowing Your Choreography

dancers back stage



Your performance day has arrived…you are excited, nervous and happy all rolled into one. You are all practiced up…or are you? You have everything…or do you? Are you organized? Are you ready?
The first thing you need to think about is….. do you know your choreography? I have found that many dancers who take their classes only one or two days per week believe that this is the only time they need to be practicing their dances. They feel that class time is their practice time. I am sorry to let you know this, but you will never remember choreography if you don’t practice it on your days when you don’t have class. It is just the same way you have a Math class every day, to practice adding, subtracting or later on algebraic formulas, is the same way you should be practicing your choreography. The same way you have an English class every day to practice your grammar or writing, you should be going over difficult steps that you don’t quite understand.

Many older dancers rely on their teachers to remember steps, or where they stand in a formation or their follow up count. That is not the teacher’s responsibility. It is the teacher’ responsibility to do that if the dancer is 10 years old or younger. But once you are a seasoned, pre teen dancer it is your job to know where you go and what you need to do and when. This is all a part of your dance training. Remembering your position, choreography and formations.

Are you paying attention in class, or are you too social to comprehend properly what is going on while your teacher is giving instruction. If you are talking to another dancer while you are supposed to be taking class you are wasting your time. You are paying for class time or rehearsal time to learn something, not to talk to another dancer about what happened in school that day or what your plans are for the weekend.

Are you taking notes in a dance journal after class to remember what should be practiced at home? I am a firm believer of writing down choreography. I have kept notebooks of choreography from many years ago when I danced in Manhattan. I still have these notebooks many years later. There is a connection between actually physically dancing steps and writing them down that makes you remember them and be able to re-call them at a moment’s request. The ballet classes in our studio all have dance journals that were given to them by the studio…..they need to be filled with information that you can go back and refer to. If your school doesn’t supply you with a journal…get one. Don’t waste your time… it is too precious.

Am I asking a ton of questions in this post? I am…. because this is what I see many times from dancers who have their attention else where than where it should be in class. Your teacher can tell who is actually interested in dance and who is there just for a social gathering. Too many times a talented dancer is wasted because of lack of concentration in class. I will tell you that it will show up performance day.

Here is my main tip for performance preparedness for today ….Take these last few weeks before your performance and concentrate on what you need to know. If you have a question on choreography, now is the time to ask. If you are unsure where you belong on a certain part, ask now. The stage rehearsal is too late to be asking questions that should be answered in the dance room.


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