How to teach dance steps
A 4-Step Method to Help Your Dancers Learn Choreography Faster
Todd Rosenlieb, left, of The Governor's School for the Arts. Photo by Victor Frailing, courtesy of Todd Rosenlieb<span></span>
A 4-Step Method to Help Your Dancers Learn Choreography Faster
You’re setting choreography on your class and most of the students are picking it up. One dancer, though, is having difficulty remembering the steps. You review the material several times, but you fear that this is starting to hold back your more advanced students. Still, you’re worried the struggling dancer will be left behind. What is the best way to proceed?
Memorizing choreography is an essential skill for dancers. Fast learners have more time to work on the technique and artistry within a combination, and they are often the first to catch the eyes of directors. Like most skills, learning pace can be improved. Encouraging students to develop their own memorization methods will help them approach choreography with confidence.
Teaching the Steps
The traditional way for dancers to learn choreography is to mimic movement as you teach it. But some students may benefit from first watching you show the phrase. The mirror-neuron theory, a component of ideokinesis (a movement-science visualization method), says that dancers’ own movements are better informed after seeing someone else perform. This means that having students sit and watch you demonstrate a full phrase may actually help their muscles pick up choreography more efficiently.
Some students become stressed out by the amount of information being taught. It may be less intimidating for them to break the movement down into sections of the body. Todd Rosenlieb, chair of the dance department at The Governor’s School for the Arts in Virginia, has these dancers first tackle the feet. “Once they get the rhythm of it, add the upper body,” he says. Rosenlieb also asks dancers to think of the choreography in stage terms. For instance, moving upstage or downstage instead of forward and back can help them understand the space if they get lost or have to reverse the material.
Don’t hesitate to take an extra moment with struggling students in class or rehearsal, but be sensitive to embarrassment and frustration. Singling a dancer out in front of their classmates can undermine their confidence. Having an advanced student take the other aside removes some of the pressure and allows you to continue teaching the rest of the group.
Walnut Hill’s Denise Lewis. Photo by Sharyn Peavey, courtesy of Walnut Hill School
On Their Own
Dancers can create landmarks in the choreography by connecting steps with musical cues. “Students need to see the connection between the music and the physical parts,” says Denise Lewis, associate director of dance at Walnut Hill School for the Arts in Massachusetts. She finds that particularly detailed sections of choreography are retained best when broken down into smaller beats (like “one-e-and-a-two”). “I get a really good result using counts, especially with younger children,” says Lewis. “That kind of clarity eliminates any confusion.”
Dancers can also create their own keywords, creative names or sounds associated with the movement. For instance, “If you cross your legs and swirl to the floor, call it a swizzlestick,” says Rosenlieb. Singing the word or sound in their heads through the time it takes to complete the step will help them learn the musicality and rhythm. (For similar techniques, see the sidebar “Building Off Imagery.”)
Keeping a notebook to journal a difficult sequence of choreography, as well as corrections given during class and rehearsal, will allow dancers to review what they learned without your help. It also forces them to clearly articulate each movement as they write it down. Give them copies of the music so they can physically or mentally practice the phrases during downtime, like car rides to the studio, before bed or in the shower. “When they have a quiet moment,” says Rosenlieb, “students can close their eyes and visualize the dance and the way they want to dance it. ”
Building Off Imagery
Sometimes a vivid mental picture is all it takes to remember steps, says Eric Franklin, creator of the Franklin Method (franklinmethod.com).
1. Create metaphors: Dancers of all levels respond well to vivid images. Instead of putting your arm out and reaching, identify it as “reaching for an apple.”
2. Chain images together: Reach for the apple, kick a ball, open a curtain and jump over a stream. “Dancers who couldn’t remember anything suddenly can remember a very long series of steps,” says Franklin.
3. Identify transitions: The in-between moments are where dancers often struggle the most. Create specific qualities, like “Your shoulder blades are melting down your back like ice cream on a warm day.”
4. Share strategies: Ask students to come up with their own imagery and then teach it to another group of dancers. “Kids love it and they learn a lot more, a lot faster,” says Franklin. This helps them develop new ways of remembering the same choreography.
10 Basic Dance Moves Anyone Can Learn
Do you ever watch someone dance and wonder how they come up with moves so easily?
Great dancers often master a specific set of moves that they can fall back on again and again.
Read on for 10 basic dance moves you can learn in minutes and use every time you wanna dance.
P.S. You can learn all of these moves for FREE on STEEZY Studio! No cc required. 😉
1. The Two-Step
When I first started dancing at parties, the Two-Step was the first move that truly came naturally to me.
It really is as simple as stepping from side to side to the beat!
If you're looking for something foolproof that allows you to just groove and enjoy the music...
Boom. Here it is.
2. The Monestary
This move was born in a club called Monestary out in St. Louis!
It’s built on a Two-Step, so if you took that class, you’ve already got a foundation for the footwork.
But rather than bringing your feet together, you’ll tap them to the front with your knee and foot turned inward.
Then, as you tap the feet, you’ll move your arms and shoulders in a circular movement.
3. Booty Pop (Side To Side)
Like the Woah, this sexy move is super TikTok-friendly – but with more feminine energy.
To do a booty pop to the side, you’re gonna bend your knees, put your hands on one knee, and then bring the other leg from bent to straight while turning your knee inward.
If you’re a long-haired baddie, be sure to keep all your hair on one side so it doesn’t flop in your face as you pop!
Read this article on How To Dance Sexy to get more tips on pulling off moves like this one!
4. The Billy Bounce
Surprise – this club-ready move is built on… a bounce!
But what makes it unique is that your knees will come inward on each bounce rather than just up and down.
Once you’ve got the funky lil knee bounce down, you’ll add in an upward kick on each side.
The best thing about this move is that while the footwork takes a few minutes to learn, you don’t necessarily need to add an arm movement to make it look cool.
Just keep your arms front and center.
5. The Woah
Even if you’re not actively involved in the dance community, you’ve probably seen people hitting the Woah – on TikTok, Reels... all over your newsfeed!
Whether you wanna make a viral video of your own, or you’re just looking for a fun, basic dance move to pull out at the clerb, this one is too good not to learn.
Since the locking arm motion is so sharp and pronounced, use the Woah to accent the heaviest bass beats in your favorite songs.
6. The Dougie
Yes, the Dougie is a real dance move!
Like the Two-Step, you’ll be shifting your weight from side to side, but this time, adding some shoulder movements and a lil more attitude.
Try this one out to some songs other than the one that made it famous – you’ll find it works with any hype beat.
7. Scoop Arm Into Hip Sway
Sooo this one is more of combo than a move, but it only takes a few minutes to learn and it works with any fun sassy song…
So it deserves to be here, ok?!
For this move, you’re gonna scoop your arm across your chest, then bring it over your head, and finally point it in front of your chest.
Once you point the arm in front of you, you’ll sway your hips from side to side and groove it out.
8. The Bust Down
The Bust Down was popularized by LA rapper, Blueface, in his 2019 club jam “Thotiana”.
You’re gonna grab your belt, put one arm in the air, and allow your body to dip with the beat.
Note: Licking your eyebrows like Blueface is fun, but not required. 😛
9. The Biz Markie
The Biz Markie is an old school party dance inspired by, you guessed it, rapper Biz Markie!
It rose to popularity in the 90s, when Biz Markie himself began performing it on stage.
As you practice it, remember to allow your shoulders to bounce – the bounce is what gives this move its cool, laidback flavor.
Wanna learn more about classic Hip Hop moves? Read this: How To Dance Hip Hop for Beginners
10. The Humpty
For this bouncy move, you’re gonna circle your hips to one side as your bend your knees.
Then, you’ll jump and cross your legs, allowing your feet to tap the floor briefly before you jump back to your original legs apart position.
Once you’ve got that down, you can complete the move by adding in a windmill motion with your arms.
The leg cross in this move makes it perfect for any Hip Hop song that features a double bass (aka that BOOM BOOM sound that you hear in songs like “Lip Gloss” by Lil Mama)
We hope you enjoyed learning some of our favorite basic dance moves.
Of course, this list is just a start!
In addition to the 10 moves on this list, STEEZY Studio has 100+ other FREE beginner classes where you can learn step-by-step from the world’s best teachers.
What To Read Next:
30-Minute Dance Workouts That'll Trick You Into Becoming A Better Dancer
How To Learn Popping
How To Start Dancing Hip Hop For Beginners
How To Learn Dance At Home90,000 12 life hacks, to quickly learn how to dance from Mamita Dance
Author: Pavel Gather
Psychologist, Lecturer Salsa and Tango
Author: Pavel Pavel
Psychologist, Lecturer Salsa
on At the start, you always want to get a quick result. When it doesn't happen, the hypothesis arises that everything takes time. After a conditionally acceptable time, humility comes to mastering pair dances, which, perhaps, is not given, and I will just do what I learned somehow. nine0003
This is the most common story of those who believe that the mere act of attending a pair dance class is enough to learn how to dance.
Absolutely not. If you want to really dance well, you have to make an effort outside of the dance class. A good teacher will definitely be needed, but the initiative should be on your side.
1. Listen to music
The most common and accessible advice that is given already in the first lessons. And it definitely works. Music creates a certain atmosphere of the dance and intuitively you want to move to it. It doesn't matter where you listen to music - in the car, on headphones while walking or doing household chores. nine0003
An addition that will help you dance better is your active participation in the music. Sing along, dance or simply beat musical accents with any free parts of the body. In the subway, for example, it is enough to tap out bright moments with your fingers, in the car to sing along with sounds, and at home you can jump for pleasure.
2. Watch videos of good dancers
It's complicated, but also obvious. It’s more difficult, because without recommendations from more experienced dancers, unfortunately, it’s not so easy to find a good quality video on the net (I mean not the resolution quality, but the content itself). nine0003
Meaningful video viewing is about building an understanding of HOW dancers make a particular impression on a partner or viewer. Technology is at the heart of everything. Understanding how the pros do it is a big step forward.
It is important to distinguish a show from a disco dance, a staged performance from an improvisation, a stylized dance from an authentic one, etc. Ask for recommendations and dance teachers will always throw off a couple of videos of worthy landmarks. nine0007
Tango Z. Showreel.
Online modern tango courses
Tango nuevo is the most advanced version of tango. We can quickly learn to dance from zero to a steep level.
3. Dance in salsatecas/milongas/discotheques
A very delicate moment when it is worth coming to the first party. From a technical point of view, most students in 1-3 months have a sufficient set of figures and techniques to come and dance calmly. Psychologically, the same moment can be stretched out for an indefinite time. After all, it is imperative to “not lose face”, “learn more figures” and be sure what to do in case “there is an unfamiliar movement”. nine0003
In fact, the partygoers don't really care (except for a small layer of non-professional teachers who want to help inexperienced dancers by treating them as customers in the future). It is important to come and try dancing after a month of classes. You can only with friends or guys from your group. This will be enough to feel the adrenaline and inspiration from the dance.
4. Dance with partners or partners not of your level
The conventional wisdom that you need to practice in groups of your level does not withstand the test of experience. Perhaps now your eyes widened in surprise, and you want to meaningfully read the phrase again. Yes, you saw everything correctly: when you dance with a partner of your level, you don’t grow anywhere. nine0003
It's important to understand that not only does it work one way and you have to dance with cooler dancers, but it works even more effectively the other way. It is no coincidence that teaching pair dances dramatically raises the level of the teacher himself. You have an endless stream of very beginner dancers.
How it works. A more experienced partner needs to be "stretched". It's easy and obvious. With beginners, you need to take more initiative on yourself, see the general pattern of the dance more widely, turn on and insure more, try to be an example and be more careful. The quality of interaction begins to grow significantly. And wonderful partners too. nine0003
Dancing with partners of your level doesn't make you grow. Dance with both beginners and more advanced dancers
Dominican Bachata Women's Style Online Course
Want to learn how to hypnotize those around you with the most appetizing part of your body? On the course we will tell you all the secrets.
5. Learn to dance for a partner and for a partner
Turks and Argentines are one of the best partners in the world. In Russia, partners are highly valued. Why? The answer is simple. In Argentina and Turkey, it is not questionable for men to ask another man to lead in one piece or another and give feedback on the quality of the lead. For them, it will be a great shame to hear moralizing from a partner, or even more so to be known in the community as an insecure partner. nine0003
In Russia, due to the constant, often far-fetched, opinion that there are more women in pair dances, partners calmly get up and study their partner's part. Such partners then grow into very cool dancers and teachers. In no case do this at parties, only in class. Here we are talking only about the learning strategy. At parties, be yourself.
6. Do not memorize the links
Always try to look deeper and understand the through principle and idea of movement. Understanding what and how is done will make it possible to independently generate any sequences and chips. nine0003
Human memory is limited and there will always be a moment when something will escape and your repertoire will be limited by the size of RAM.
In Argentine tango, for example, there are seven levels of movement construction that, when mastered, will allow you to make millions of combinations. And how many dance sequences can you really remember? In rueda, more than 150 figures dance in a rare circle. It's hard to keep more in mind.
7. Develop your body
Many years of experience in teaching couple dance shows that as soon as everyone pairs up in a class, any progress in individual style ends. But it is the individual style that distinguishes everyone at the disco: partners change, and style is always with you. nine0003
The body as the main instrument of dance must be very plastic, responsive and emotional. Surprisingly, not all pair dance schools have a general physical warm-up. It is vital to tune the body and understand how it works.
You can always train extra and concentrate more on the basic steps, as their true value is as body work. The sequence of steps is, in fact, the simplest thing that can be in pair dancing. The quality of individual performance determines the craftsmanship. nine0003
8. Try on the images of inspiring dancers
A psychological life hack for those who have already mastered the steps, but still feel that there is not enough brightness and drive. Most are terribly afraid of being someone else's "clone". Here the action is the same as under the influence of hypnosis - the more you resist, the more you plunge into an altered state of consciousness.
With a high degree of probability, you are already dancing like someone else's "clone". A meaningful fitting of someone else's image is that you mentally take the image of the one who inspires you (inspiration is critical in this case) and "put on" yourself. Then you start dancing and trying to feel in general how it is to be able, for example, to be the best partner or the sexiest partner in a disco. This is much more difficult than it seems. But it works extremely efficiently. nine0003
9. Dance to offbeat music
Habitual rhythms keep you tight. Tango salon or speedy timba leave little room for experimentation and fantasy. Pattern dancing is always noticeable and is reserved for beginners.
The truly new is born outside of the usual. Look for places to experiment. If there is no place, organize self-training. The main thing is not to get carried away, because music determines the style. We bring something new to pair dances, rather than trying to change them. nine0007
Search, improvise, don’t be afraid to go beyond, develop in different directions, be inspired by music atypical for the style
10. Try your hand at basic dance directions
dances exist according to their own non-choreographic laws.
This is the deepest delusion, which has turned into a ceiling for the qualitative development of partner dances. After all, all professional dancers, for example, in salsa or bachata, build their ideas on the basic choreographic principles. nine0003
Do not think that choreography is only applicable on stage. Any meaningful movement of the body can be choreographic. In general, try classical or modern choreography. Basically, hip-hop can work too.
11. Look for battle sensations
Pair dances return us to an active position of manifestation of our body. As in the days of our ancient ancestors, we impress the members of the opposite sex by how dexterous, hardy, sexy, etc. we are. Modern laws of the jungle in the entourage of large cities. nine0003
If you look around the dance floor, it becomes clear that the majority are clearly herbivores (not in the sense of vegetarians, but in relation to those around them). I am sure that predators are always more interesting in terms of the attractiveness of the image - try to find a counterbalance among herbivores, for example, a cat woman or a lion man.
The conversation is about an internal position, not about aggressiveness. Lability and lack of control are inherent in adolescents, and not in adult self-sufficient people.
Accordingly, even a training or friendly battle gives, on the one hand, practical skills - to make a bright sequence of movements, bring an idea to a climax, show a spectacular feature, on the other hand, develops the psychological basis of the dance - self-confidence, resistance to extraneous attention, self-control and self-control in complex elements. nine0007
12. Communicate with professionals
The environment shapes the internal position. Basically, real passionaries of the dance community are ready to openly talk, discuss and support the development of dance in every possible way. Universal principles and the ideas they articulate have a much longer and more practical perspective than meets the eye.
Accept that, for example, behind the words "listen to your partner" is not only a beautiful metaphor, but also a practical skill to literally listen to your partner. At the same time, always treat every thought, even the most respected teacher, as a private opinion. nine0003
Your skill will lie in finding the scope of the idea even in conflicting opinions. Most often, the contradiction is speculative and the truth lies in the angle of perception or situationality.
Your dancing growth will stop sooner or later. This can happen at the level of three basic steps or years of experience in teaching and show performances. Regardless of your level, the suggested 12 life hacks can get you off the ground and greatly accelerate your dance growth. There is no way here without your motivation and activity. Take your dance development into your own hands. nineOl000 Dangerous sexuality
Salsa: destroyers of stereotypes
Couple dancing as a source of strength.
Self-destruction of the couple dance community
The Salsa series as a mirror of the community
Mamita Fridays: salsa, bachata
Destroying the myths about leading pair dances
Does dancing make us better?
The seven deadly sins of teachers
Why we will never dance bachata like the Dominicans
Dispute over musicality
Selection of dances according to alcohol preferences
Where to find inspiration for dancing? nine0003
Terrible tango nuevo
Distribution of roles in a salsa party
Argentinean tango through the eyes of a salsa dancer
Is there a predisposition to dancing?
Which is more effective: individual or group lessons?
Sexual overtones in couple dances
How to learn to dance in clubs for a guy
fashion came out synchronized movements of couples in a waltz or mazurka. For at least a century now, men have had to guess what a profitable disco dance should be like. Unfortunately, even professional choreographers will not answer this question. But we will try to highlight the basic rules. nine0003
hop and R'n'B
Rules to follow
Let's tell you a secret: most guys on the dance floor don't look stupid because they haven't taken lessons in dance studios and can't tell tectonics from r'n'b , but because they do not catch the rhythm of the music and cannot relax. And if no one usually pays attention to the first, then the second immediately catches the eye of others.
Hence the first rule: listen to music and let your body dance freely. nine0003
Choose a style
If you are a frequent discotheque visitor, you should choose a certain dance direction in which you will move on the dance floor. Of course, this will depend on the music that the DJ will put on, but for ten years now hip-hop and electronic music have not left the clubs. Therefore, you can master the basic movements of either one or the other. The "electronics" elements are a bit simpler, so it might be worth starting with them. Video tutorials to help you! nine0003
Sign up for a trial class
Try to vary your movements
If after watching the videos you still can't feel comfortable on the dance floor, you should consider signing up for a dance studio. An experienced teacher, a company of like-minded people and regular classes will quickly do their job, and you will finally be able to relax and stop having complexes while dancing. Plus, to the envy of your peers, you will no longer dance like a “newbie”. nine0003
Remember that everything is for fun
If you do somersaults on the court for ten minutes with a tense face, and then return to the table sweaty, your friends are unlikely to appreciate it. Understand that dancing is not a competition, but a completely cultural form of recreation. As they say, relax and have fun!
Let it all flow
Let go of your body and emotions, surrender to the music and move without paying attention to others.