Learning Combinations & Choreography

Today I have a very exciting post for you!  This is a lesson all about learning choreography and combinations.  Enjoy!

NOTE: I am interested in doing practice videos to help you engrain these tricks and techniques into your brain so that you can accurately and efficiently put them into use.  Please leave a request on the Requests page in order to recommend these videos and blog posts.


When is this skill used?

This is used constantly in ballet schools, companies, auditions, and performances.  In ballet companies, you are expected to pick up both new and traditional choreography almost immediately.  In addition to this, it is also necessary to add artistic individuality to the piece and advance it both technically and creatively in the process.

As a student, in class or in an audition, people will be judging you based on your ability to learn choreography quickly, or in other words, the combinations of the class speedily.  So, you must know these skills backwards and forwards and practice seriously in order to improve your outlook as a professional dancer.  Let’s get started.

Phase 1: Visual or Audible?

The first step to improving your speed is learning how you learn best so that you can focus in on that aspect of the teaching, therefore playing more to your strengths.  It’s important to develop both, but you need to know how to utilize your strengths.

There are two videos here.  The first one is of me speaking the combination, and the second one is of me dancing it.  Both combinations are different, but of very similar skill-levels.  Whichever one you do better at, that is your preferred style of learning.

AUDIBLE COMBINATION VIDEO:

VISUAL COMBINATION VIDEO:

Playing to your strengths

Now that you’ve established and discovered which way of learning works best for you, it’s time to learn how to embrace these strengths and find benefits in them. Here are some tips that I recommend for each type of learner:

Audible learners…

  • Listen and take note of what the teacher or instructor is saying.
  • Say the steps that the teacher is showing (if they are not saying them themselves) in your mind. This is also a great tip for “doing it” learners, it gets it in your mind utilizing that style of learning as well.

Visual learners…

  • Watch intently.  As the teacher or instructor demonstrates, visualize and consciously think about the movement of their leg going front, side, or back.
  • Pay attention to their whole body. An advantage of being a visual learner is that you can absorb head, arm, and torso movement with more efficiency.

More tips and opinions

MARK! This is one of the most helpful systems you can use.  By marking the steps, it allows the movement to ingrane into your muscles and mind, therefore allowing you to recall it quickly.  Note: Never mark your arms, only your legs.

GENERALLY FOCUS.  Just thinking consciously about the combination will help you improve on your learning of it.  Concentrate and think about what the teacher is saying or demonstrating.  You can do it!

UTILIZE PATTERNS.  Often times, multiple steps are frequently combined.  Some examples of this would be a tombé, pas de bourrée, glissade, and saut de chat typically going together in a grand allegro combination.  It can help you pick the choreography up faster if you think of these steps in patterns rather than individual movements.


Thanks for reading this post all about learning choreography and combinations, and I hope that it helps you lots in auditions coming up soon.

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