FOR CHOREOGRAPHERS - HOW TO NOTE DANCE CHOREOGRAPHY
Lai Rupe's Choreography
"The most important thing to think of when preparing to teach a choreographed routine, is to know the best ways to teach your dancers. How can you make it easier for them to learn? How can you inspire them?"
How to NOTE Dance Choreography
As a dancer or choreographer, sometimes creating a dance just comes simply and knowing how to teach it and remember everything isn't a concern. Other times, you really have to work to find that perfect dance routine that you want to display to your clients. When these dances come, choreographers usually must make notes of steps, formations, group parts, and movements to be able to better teach and make your choreography visions really come to life.
This article will help you learn how to better note your dance choreography to help you become a better teacher and instructor as well.
First - Note Dance Moves Minute-by-Minute
Before you can organize your notes and perfect them for better choreography instruction, you need to simply write down the notes step-by-step. What I like to do is break down each section either by a set of eight, or by the lyrical lines. For example, Lai Rupe's Choreography recently choreographed a contemporary-lyrical routine to the song "I'm Kissing You," by Des'Ree. For this four minute soloist routine, detailed choreography notes were a must. I broke down all of the steps by lyrics and then by sets of 8 during the instrumental points. The picture below is just an example of the way it was outlined.
As a choreographer writing down the dance moves, you will find certain tricks and trades of your own to abbreviate certain words, moves and dance terms. For example, when I am writing notes for a double pirouette I write 2T (for 2 Turns). Or for moving to the left or right, I simply note "L" or "R". Everyones minds work differently, so you will want to try different tricks to help you remember what "codes" mean what for specific notes. Below are some examples that may work for you.
- 3T - Triple Turn / Pirouette
- L - Move to Left
- R - Move to Right
- GJ - Grande Jete
- K - Kick
"I'm Kissing You" Dance Choreography Notes
Second - Outline Formations
After you have the dance moves and tricks noted to your preference in an organized order by set of 8, minutes, and lyrics, you will then want to organize and write out your formations. For better assistance on dance formations for group routines, please read Lai Rupe's article, "How to Create Dance Formations and Transitions." In this article, as a brief explanation or how to outline formations, you will want to break down where you want your dancers to be for each specific part. When Choreographing solo routines, this can be easier than group choreography, as you don't necessarily need as many formation changes. With large groups you want at least one formation change for every minute of dance you choreography. Adding formation changes give the routine diversity and more dynamics.
For noting your formations, I like to use circles or numbers to mark each dancers. Numbers are great, because then when you have a formation change, you can mark where that dancer moves, by their correlating number. This makes it easy to teach formation changes too, because then you can simply give each dancer a number and call out that number for where their new position will be on the dance floor.
If you have any questions about creating more solid dance formations, reach out to Lai Rupe by commenting below.
As a Choreographer, What are tips you use to note your Dance Routines?
Third - Key Phrases for Instruction
One of the other key tips to help you create useful and constructive choreography notes, I would advise to write down key phrases to help you and the dancers remember certain sections and dance moves. These can be easy words like "Turn" or "Leap;" or they can relate to the lyrics like "Fall" or "Fly."
These key phrases can be used as simple reminders to help you and your dancers remember what moves to do for each part. They also allow you to not have to talk as much while teaching, as you only need to shout out key words, rather than full counts or dance terms.
Ellie Goulding's "Lights" - Beginning Jazz Routine Choreographed by Lai Rupe's Choreography
In Order of Importance, What Makes a Successful Routine?
At Least 1 per minute
Impressive Dancers & Tricks
Arials, multiple turns, leaps
Inspiring, upbeat, diverse
As a new choreographer,
trying to note your routines, it will get easier and easier the more you do it. Try to find abbreviations that will work best for you, outline your formations, and use key phrases to help you and the dancers remember movements. These tips will not only help you be able to better note your choreography, but they will also help you when teaching and instructing your dancers, so that your dancers will be able to learn your choreography faster.
If you have any questions about creating choreography, outlining formations, or any other dance questions, please don't hesitate to reach out to Lai Rupe by com
Also, feel free to check out the article, "How to Hire Long Distance Dance Choreographers," for help with dance choreography. Lai Rupe's Choreography is here to inspire a stronger passion for dance!
Thanks for your LOVE and Support!
~Alaina (Lai) Rupe