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  1. #1
    Junior Member daimere's Avatar
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    Default How do you get better when adding choreography?

    I joined the shimmy mob when I started my classes. The moves go so fast that I can't keep up as a beginner. I think a lot of it might be I'm trying to concentrate so much on what moves go next that I seem to always be 1 to 4 beats behind, especially when the music gets faster. Last week's issues was combining walking/arms + dance movements always wound up lost. I've been practicing my mayas and that seems better as long as I remember to keep up instead of doing a slow maya. During the section we went over tonight, there was a lot of pivots and that's where I tend to get lost the most. When I get lost, I keep my eye on someone and join back in the moment I can. Do I practice the choreography slow until I get it and then start speeding it up? Will listening to the song more help me so then I can feel the music? I really am having fun. The choreo goes super fast which is fun since my basic class goes so slow sometimes. We are 2/3s of the way through the choreography. My teacher says once I get the moves down the song will "slow down." Maybe when I'm at work I can make flash cards on what set of moves come next and just review review review even when I can't dance? There are choreography notes but they just look crazy to me.

  2. #2
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    Well, the choreography is a choreography so you can practice it at any pace you want, on your own. For me, the best way to learn how to do a thing is to do it slowly and especially work on where the "bits" go together. You don't need the music, though it helps if it goes in your head. You may need to count the choreography at first, and work on getting the transitions/travelling down before you worry too hard about the arms, making your maya particularly delicious or whatever.

    It is true that the choreo will seem slower once you know it, but it would be helpful if your teacher taught it in repetitive blocks, slowed down, so you can really get the hang of it.

    If you think flash cards will help, make them.

    For me the way to learn a choreo is to do it. Eventually you'll start to notice how the music is telling you what to do, and that will help.

  3. #3
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    I find it sometimes helps to slow the music down until I've learnt the choreography, it's easy to do it in a programme like Audacity, which is a free download.

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    Super Moderator Mosaic's Avatar
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    I'm not a very good choreography person, takes me ages to get it down pat. I find the most productive things are - know the music, play it in the car/MP3 player/stereo etc, visualise blocks of movements while the music is playing ( once you know the music), then get those blocks set in muscle memory & move onto the next section. Don't be afraid to ask your instructor to go over ( slowly) any areas you are finding difficult. Walk through sections when you get home from class as well. Write the choreography notes out in terms that you understand also helps to consolidate, you can hold the notes in your hand while you walk through the steps.

    Sometimes when I am watching TV & ads come on I utilise those few minutes to walk through a section as well Also be patient with yourself, if you get frustrated/annoyed with yourself it takes longer to "get it" ... I know been there done that! Those frustratiins/annoyances actually unconsciously create mental blocks, so that you seem to "fail" for ages in those spots. Good luck & you'll be fine in the end - I promise.
    ~Mosaic
    Dance is like glitter, it not only colours your life, it makes you sparkle, you find it everywhere and in everything and it's near impossible to get rid of. (unknown)


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    V.I.P. Ariadne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by daimere View Post
    Do I practice the choreography slow until I get it and then start speeding it up? Will listening to the song more help me so then I can feel the music? I really am having fun.
    That's good.

    Yes. Practicing slow then speeding it up to the music will help. Listening to the music will definitely help too. As you listen to the music visualize the movements with each section. Once you can associate the moves with the movements (a properly made choreography will match) even if you have trouble keeping up you will know where you are at all times. I actually bought an mp3 player with A-B playback so I could put parts of a song on loop and just practice one section at a time over and over until I got it.

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    V.I.P. Jane's Avatar
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    For challenging choreography get the feet down first. Knowing where your weight is will help you add the hip movements after. Add in arm movements and other stuff last. You can also sing the choreography in your head to the tune of the melody. I'm also slow at learning choreography

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    V.I.P. Kashmir's Avatar
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    If the choreography is within your experience and capabilities - ie no new technique or unexpected footwork - I'm a fan of repetition. Repeat until your muscles remember and your brain can work on presentation, engagement and stage position.

    But if there are new bits you have to learn the new stuff first - otherwise you end up presenting a blurry smear (or worse do it unsafely). With my students we first learn (to a certain level) any new techniques and combinations. We drill these in isolation. I also go over weight transitions. Then I cut the track into bits and work on (say) 30 seconds over and over.

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    Premium Member Aniseteph's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ariadne View Post
    I actually bought an mp3 player with A-B playback so I could put parts of a song on loop and just practice one section at a time over and over until I got it.
    Audacity is very useful for this too.

    There is lots of great advice here (LOL - so many choreographically challenged people!).

    What has helped me most is working out how I learn, and going with that. Left and right doesn't work so well (at all), but "towards studio door" or "hand that is towards audience" or "back foot" really does. It's all shapes in space. I have to translate my teacher's instructions into my own mental language, because she does not work the same way, but once I can pin it down in my terms it's much easier.

    I've got a brain/learning soulmate in class right now - she asks a question along the lines of "is it the front arm or back arm?" and my teacher gets confused, but I know EXACTLY what she means. It's nice to not be alone.

  9. #9
    Member ezmasiddiqah's Avatar
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    Hi Daimere, did you receive your own copy of the dvd for shimmymob? I'm doing shimmymob as well, and just watched the dvd tonight…they break down the choreo into four sections. It takes me forever to learn a choreography, as opposed to my visual learner dance friend, so having the dvd and dancing outside of class helps me alot.

  10. #10
    Junior Member daimere's Avatar
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    I think I figured out a quarter of my issues. Since I'm a larger girl, my pivot turns are much smaller/harder to go around. According to a random turning youtube video, the girl even said, "if you are heavier, it may be harder/not as large." Which I think may be the issue with my pivot turns (I have this issue in hoopdance with a move called 360 turn, too). In the choreography, the pivot has to be big enough that the right hip is forward and my right hip is back. I rewatched the shimmy mob videos again really watched their feet when they turn. She used her left foot to turn it over to the side before starting the spin. It seemed to help. Although I lose balance when I am finishing the turn. But I think it's because I'm trying to move so fast that I lose my balance no matter what.

    I've also started listening to the music all the time and I think I got some parts of the music. Like some of the accents where we do passes, promenades, etc. I will definitely look into audacity.

    did you receive your own copy of the dvd for shimmymob?
    I didn't know there were DVDs. I just have the youtube videos on my shimmy mob account.

    I also feel like the moves aren't clear in the video, especially the beginner moves (this is an issue I have for most hooping videos and raqsTV). I can fake a lot of it when I watch my instructor or the nearest person that is advanced but the videos are hard to read. Also the advanced students/instructor is saying that she says do a move but does something different. We've also changed some hand movements to be more dance like. She also adds a weird pop where there is no accent in the music in a few spots. My instructor said to replace her counts from 8 to 4 and 4s to 2s.

    Thank you everyone so far for the help!
    Last edited by daimere; 03-21-2013 at 11:20 AM.

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