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5, 6, 7, 8 Steps for Breaking a Choreography Block

Updated on November 4, 2014
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Every time when I try to think about choreographing a dance, I always have this thought in the back of my mind that says there is no way I will be able to choreograph a new dance and think of new ideas. When I think about choreographing a dance routine, my thought processed instantly become blocked and seems the task is impossible. However, as a professional choreographer, somehow when I begin the choreography, my body always comes through and is able to overcome the taunting, and creates a new, unique, and competitive dance routine.

Just as you hear that writers and authors often hit "writers blocks," the same thing can happen to dance choreographers as well. In this article we will discussed set techniques to help you break your "choreography block" to be able to create an amazing dance routine.

1. Don't Think About it, Just Dance.

With most things, if you think about doing it, it stops your muscles from simply automatically performing tasks that it has easily learned how to do on its own. For example if you start thinking about trying to breathe, you will begin to breathe more heavily and the process will no longer feel "right," until you are able to stop focusing on doing the task. Or if you try to focus on the way that you are walking, you will almost immediately start walking differently from how you normally walk. This is because our conscious brain begins to overpower our subconscious mind, making automated tasks turn manual.

The same thing happens when we dance.

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If you as a tap dancer to focus on tapping, his feet will not be able to tap as quickly or as fluid as they would when he is not focusing on it. When the tapper just relaxes and lets his feet tap, they will move much faster as his subconscious mind and muscle memory take control. As a Choreographer the same thing applies. To choreograph a great routine when you have a "choreography block," you need to stop thinking so hard. Your muscles know how to move, your mind knows how to dance, you just need to let it happen. This is the first key, to stop thinking and just start dancing. Play the music and just move to it. anything that comes in your mind, just dance. Keep repeating this, until something sparks your choreography thought process.

2. Skip a Sticky Section.

If there is a section or a part in the music that just isn't inspiring you for choreography, skip it. Finishing choreographing the rest of that dance and then you can come back to that section that is just giving you a choreography block. If you are able to, you can even cut that section out of the music, so you don't have to worry about it. If you keep trying to create choreography for a section you are stuck on, it will simply frustrate you and make it harder to complete. Sometimes you just need to step away from that section, then come back to it at a later time.

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3. Close Your Eyes, & Just Listen.

Every once in a while, just trying to dance and move to the music still won't help break that darn choreography block. Sometimes your mind just won't let your body take control. If this is the case, let your mind take control and see what happens. Often times, I like to just close my eyes and listen to the music, over and over again, and just let my mind brainstorm. When I do this I start writing down all the moves that come to my mind so I can remember it all and later on try to dance it to see how it works. There have been times when I have choreographed entire routines, sitting at my computer desk just listening to the music.

"Addicted to Love" - Improv Lyrical Routine

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4. Walk Away.

As a choreographer, you are bound to come across at least one choreographers block. It this block is stopping you from taking the best care of your dancers, sometimes you have to be brave enough to walk away from the routine. Music doesn't inspire everyone in the exact same way. Sometimes, it is best to step away from the dance choreography - if for an hour, a day, a week, or completely. Though the tips above a sure to help you break away from a choreography block, there are times when you are just not meant to choreograph that specific routine. In those times, just put your dancers first. Everything will work out if you do it with a pure heart and passion.

Have YOU ever had a Choreographer's Block? If so, what do you do to Break Free?

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As a dance choreographer, if you are trapped in the world of a "choreography block," the tips above are sure to help you make the best choreography for your dancers. Just remember not to force it or think too much, let your body take control. Skip sections that are bogging you down and come back to them later, and if your mind is being stubborn, just listen to it and see what happens. With the great passion you have for dancing, if you give 100% of your heart, you will be able to accomplish everything.

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Have any dance questions, concerns, or topics to discuss? Don't hesitate to reach out to Lai Rupe's Choreography. I am here to spread the beauty of dance.


Also, feel free to check out the article, "Dancing in Your LivingRoom," to hear a bit more about the other perspective of dance as both a sport, and an art.


Thanks for your LOVE and Support!


~Alaina (Lai) Rupe

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