Map it out
When I teach a choreography as a workshop, I like to be super organized. I map out the entire song into how many 8 counts there are for the intro, body, and finale and put it all into an Excel spreadsheet file. It’s time consuming in the beginning but I like that I can visually see how many rows and columns I have left before the choreography is done. This also helps jog my memory when I forget what comes next. I also gives these to my workshop students because what else are you paying for if I don’t give all my resources? ;)
To see how you can geek out and create your own Excel spreadsheet, click here.
Leave room for improvisation
Improvisation and choreography go more hand-in-hand than you may think! Fearless improvisation happens when you have a plan and great choreography happens when you make it look improvised. Here’s some insight: your favorite dancer probably does a mix of choreography and improvisation when they perform. Why a mix and not just one over the other? Because choreography can look too stiff and doesn’t account for an unexpected element of surprise (costume malfunction, stage issues, lighting, etc). But improvisation alone may not help convey the story you want because you’re not prepared enough. Next time you choreograph, try to leave 1 count of 8 (or whatever the counts are for your song) for improvisation. Then try 2 counts, then 3 and so on. Be aware of what you were doing right before and after the improvisation so that it’s a seamless transition.
Don’t worry about perfection
Choreography is always evolving and rarely ever is a dancer satisfied with their first draft. Leave room for improvement and don’t worry about being perfect. It’s more important that you enjoy dancing and that you are reflecting yourself and your style. Don’t worry so much about having to insert everything you’ve ever learned about bellydance into one choreography. It will overwhelm you and your audience. Plus, you want to leave something for the next time you perform ;)
This tip originally appeared in the Advance Your Bellydance Weekly Newsletter. To get free tips in your inbox, click here.