Are you wondering how to choreograph a dance? Or if you even can???

The answer is YES, YOU CAN! And you totally should.

Choreographing, like anything else, is a skill that you can practice and improve!

And everyone’s gotta start somewhere, sometime. So why not here, now?

Here’s some direction on how to start the process.

Follow this handy 6-step guide or just take the tips you find helpful.

Read on and start creating 😉

How to choreograph a dance — in 6 steps

Step 1: Find a song… and listen to it like CRAZY

Finding the right song could be the easiest or hardest part of choreographing.

Sometimes, you hear a song for the first time and you know. You just know. Iss da one.

Other times, you have to browse through your entire iTunes library, SoundCloud dashboard, Spotify playlists, and still not feel anything.

But once you have a song and pick out the section you want to choreograph to, listen to it…

A LOT.

And don’t just listen – listen with intent. Study it.

Look up the lyrics to see how you relate to the meaning of the song.

Discover hidden hi-hats and riffs that you can highlight.

Note the “pathways” for movement you want to take – like, do you wanna hit those lyrics? Or that double bass?

Visualize as you listen. You don’t need to come up with concrete moves, but understand how you wanna move.

If you need to cut your music, then do that first.

Having to wait or skip around to different parts of it can interrupt the flow you are envisioning.

Some tips for finding songs: Best Ways For Dancers To Find New Music

 

Step 2: Get (actively) inspired!

This isn’t just a tip on how to choreograph a dance.

It’s something we can practice every day to become better dancers and choreographers.

There is inspiration for movement everywhere.

I don’t just mean in YouTube videos. I mean literally – everywhere…

The world offers infinite inspiration if you decide to be inspired by it.

You can watch all the videos you want and piece together your favorite moves from your favorite choreographers…

But you’ll can move like yourself by being inspired by the things in your life.

Inspiration doesn’t just come from another dancer. There’s plenty that your world offers for free.

See Related Article: 4 Simple Things Choreographers Can Do To Stay Inspired

Clay teaches you how to turn these concepts into dance moves!

 

 

Step 3: Freestyle

Freestyling doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to be using these exact moves in your piece.

In fact, you probably won’t even remember a lot of what you do.

The point is to let your body respond to the music.

Play the whole song and let yourself move.

Notice how you naturally groove to certain sounds.

This will be the first “layer” in your choreography. You can then try variations or build more intricate movements on top of it.

See Related Article: 5 Dance Tips To Begin Your Freestyle Foundation

If you’re stuck in choreo block, check out this Dancer Rant video!

Clay gives tips on how to create unique movement in freestyle and choreography.

Step 4: Piece combos together via “chunking”

You probably decided to choreograph to the song because you noticed certain sections that you thought would look dope on the body.

Is it a climax? A breakdown? An instrumental interlude? Or even like, a split second bass combo?

Whatever it is, start from that part.

You don’t have to choreograph chronologically from beginning, middle, and end.

Make your piece in chunks that come easier, then build the rest of the choreography around it.

It’s important to not throw away those in-between sections!

Just because it’s not a crazy beat combo doesn’t mean it doesn’t have potential to look amazing.

Sometimes it’s those slower moments that are the most memorable.

Like, Galen’s pieces are all about her presence and demeanor.

Even her simple movements are so engaging because she’s filling those calmer moments with presence, before she goes off in a powerful combo.

 

Step 5: Polish your execution of the moves

A lot of us have the problem of making choreography that looks good in our heads… But not on our bodies.

At that point, you gotta just train yourself.

Some refer to this as “cleaning” or “setting,” which involves looking at certain pictures of your body, pathways between points, or drilling quick combinations.

See Related Article: How To Execute Choreography Better By Utilizing Your Body With Carlo Darang (Choreo Cookies)

And remember: How you choreograph will be how the piece looks.

So when you choreograph a dance, do the moves full out.

For example, if you want a plie somewhere, really bend those knees.Let body rolls go all the way through your body. If you’re doing floorwork – go on the floor!

It’s not going to magically look amazing when you get on stage or in front of the camera.

Make it amazing as you’re making it. 

 

Step 6: Make edits… but NOT TOO MANY!

There are probably moments within your piece that actually do feel perfect to you. Don’t change those.

But the piece as a whole is probably a bit rough around the edges, especially if this is your first time choreographing.

As novelist Ernest Hemingway once said, “The first draft of anything is sh*t.”

So don’t worry if it’s not exactly what you wanted it to be. You can work your way there!

Do this by trying out variations of movements, scrapping some sections, changing directions or adding floorwork – whatever you feel is necessary to “edit” the piece.

And honestly? That’s what makes creating so fun. Trying things. Saying “Nope, not that,” or “YES oh my god, it worked!”

It’s supposed to take multiple drafts! Just keep editing until you’re done.

And when are you done? Never. But you gotta draw the line at some point.

I know, you’re a perfectionist and can’t help but think, “It could be better! It could be better!”

While it’s awesome to try and keep improving your piece, there comes a point where you have to say “Yep, it’s finished.”

This point is not necessarily when the piece feels perfect. It’s to finish choreographing a dance that you feel proud to say you made. 

 

So when you’re done, let it be. Give yourself a pat on the back. Record the piece. And share it with us!

Your favorite choreographers are all on STEEZY Studio! Sign up now to try it for free.