When a dancer is learning a new performance, there is a bunch of steps to memorize. You might be familiar with the steps itself from a style or syllabus, or it might be completely new movements you need to remember. Anyhow, I’ll give you a few pointers on how to make the learning process easier. It’s tips that can help you in all parts of life, not only in the ballet-studio;
One thing at the time! Try to break the piece into smaller parts, and learn them separately. This eases the amount of steps to remember at one time, and you can concentrate on what you are doing right now. When you are secure of the part you are rehearsing, go on to the next. Of course, this also depends on the person who’s holding the rehearsals. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately?!) it is rarely the dancer that decides what to learn and when to learn it.
Be present! Shut out everything else when you are learning. If your mind wanders off to what to have for dinner, that girl or boy you met last weekend or wherever you go in your head, you are lost. Stay focused! One of the things I love about dancing, is that when I’m dancing, it is the only thing that exists. Try to turn off the world, concentrate, be present!
Do it yourself! To look to your fellow dancers for help is great if you don’t know the steps. But try to do as much as you can yourself. Looking at the others easily becomes a very bad habit, and you get used to relying on them rather than remembering for yourself. This makes the learning process both longer and harder, and it also shows on stage! Believe in yourself, remember? If you are constantly looking at someone else, the audience will look at that somebody as well, not at you!
After you manage these 3 simple steps, the learning process should be a lot easier. But you don’t get away from the most important though: Practice, practice, practice!
’till next time!