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How To Create Competitive Choreography

Updated on October 13, 2014

"Dance Choreography is more than just placing dance moves in an order corresponding to the music. It involves patience, thought, and above all PASSION."

~Lai Rupe

As a dance choreographer, there are many different dynamics involved into creating a dance routine. Dances are always very different and unique as every style is different and each person interprets a song uniquely too. However, there are some key factors that should be included in each dance routine, independent upon the style, which will help you create competitive choreography.

1. Select the Right Song.

Most choreographers and dancers will hear a song and instantly start thinking whether or not it would be a good song to do a dance to. For dance competitions, it is important to pick a song that is going to grab the attention of your judges right off the back. (You can usually do this by picking a song that is not considered “popular.”) Though you can select any song you want for competitions, providing it is not vulgar, Judges tend to enjoy songs they haven’t already heard from other dancers that day. Anything you can do to stand out will help increase your chances of performing better at competitions.


2. Keep it Clean.

A lot of dancers and choreographers get carried away with trying to make routines hard, that they forget about the cleanliness of the routine. Especially if you are performing in large groups, cleanliness and unity are one of the number one priorities a competitive routine will have.

3. Don’t be Afraid to Push Yourself or Your Dancers.

This tip relates to the previous one, on the opposite spectrum. Having a clean dance routine is not necessarily having an easy dance routine. If you want your routine to be successful and really blow the judges away, you need to focus on the ability of your dancers and highlight their talents. Any time you can add in legal acro-tricks or more advanced turns, do it. Also keep in mind that not every dancer has to be doing the same thing. If you have five girls who can do fuetes, just highlight those dancers, while the other dancers do something more at their level. This will keep your routine advanced and clean at the same time.

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4. Include Diversity.

Just as we suggested with the difficulty above, it is great to include diverse groups and different movements. Include at least a small portion of your choreography where not every dancer is performing the exact same movement. This can be done with ripples, rounds, group parts and soloist spotlights. Diversity in movements will keep the routine from blending all together and stop it from getting boring. This adds an additional element to your choreography that will create a better routine.

5. Formation Changes.

The last tip to creating competitive choreography is to remember to move around the dance floor. Formation changes are crucial for successful choreography and are in fact a part of creating a dance routine. Even soloists need to remember to move around the dance floor. Just like with groups and ripples, formation changes add great visuals and diversity to the routine.

To create a competitive dance routine that will blow judges away, all you need to do is keep these five key tips in mind. Start by picking a unique song, include diverse sections, advanced moves, formation changes and make sure the routine looks clean and uniformed in the end. With these five tips from Lai Rupe’s Choreography, your choreographed routines will be competitively beautiful and will excel in all dance competitions!



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