10 Steps Guide for Dance Choreography

Choreographing a dance is fun, but it can quickly become exhausting, difficult, and time-consuming! There is such a thing as ‘choreography block’! In 2016, I choreographed 10+ dances. Here are some tips, tricks, and learnings for doing dance choreography.

  1. Listen to the song 50 Times! If you don’t get sick of the song by the time you perform, you haven’t heard it enough time! When you listen to the song repeatedly, you pick up the beats, the rhythm, and it forces you to memorize every millisecond of the song. Added touch: imagine yourself dancing to it while you listen to it and the flow of choreography will automatically nurture in your head.
  2. Break it Down! Every song is different, but most songs follow a similar structure. There is an introduction, chorus, verses and lyrics, bridges, etc. Understanding the anatomy of the song really makes the choreography process easier because it breaks it down into smaller chucks.
  3. Write it Down! Before starting to physically move to the song. Take few minutes and write down the song, each section, lyrics, count of beats, etc. With this, you can focus on small sections at a time. It will also help recognize patterns, so you can reuse one piece of choreography, even with a variation during repetitions.
  4. 30-40% of Choreography Done! In the first three steps, you have already choreographed 30-40% of the moves with the repetitions, imagining moves that go with the song, etc.
  5. Just Feel the Music and Move! For parts that are choreographed, practice with the full song. For parts that are not choreographed, just move as if you were dancing at a club to the song and see what comes up. Just dance and you will automatically came up with moves to match the music.
  6. Find Inspiration and Refine! Watch videos of similar dance performances, such as the song. Also, watch videos of the genre of dance you are choreographing. Try to do this after you have done some choreography so you don’t end up using other’s moves for the whole piece. Most importantly, find videos to ensure you are utilizing the right technique.
  7. Ask for Feedback and Help! You don’t have to have the whole dance choreographed to show it to people and ask for their feedback! Even no-dancers and non-choreographers can watch and help you with ‘what about this’ and ‘what about that’ to fill in the holes.
  8. Practice! Once you start practicing, you can easily feel what works and what doesn’t and modify choreography to refine it and improve it! It also helps build muscle memory.
  9. Record Yourself! Watching yourself dance helps in so many ways! Most importantly, it helps to see what works what doesn’t, and what needs to be changed where and how.
  10. Listen Again! Even after choreographing the dance, listen to the song without dancing to it, and imagine performing it. This will help build a vision for the dance and choreography, and builds mental memory.

Use these tips and tricks for your next dance choreography and see what works for you and what doesn’t! Share your thoughts and your learnings in comments below!

  • Prince Athy

    thank you guys so much you have taught me a lot and still hoping for more love you all
    my work;

  • Paddy Eger

    Thank you so much! I’m an author of YA ballet novels and having this guide will help me share behind-the-scenes ballet information with my readers and at book talks.