How Do Dancers Remember Choreography?

An avid dancer who quickly grasps choreography can be a valuable asset in class, but slow learners may feel left behind, leading both teachers and pupils into frustration.

When learning new choreography, try keeping your eyes off of the teacher and other dancers! This helps train yourself away from visual cues and toward internal ones (such as how something feels or which section follows which). Doing this will make memorizing choreography much simpler!

Mnemonic Devices

Dancing requires incredible physical agility, yet many dancers struggle with remembering all of the choreography taught each week. Luckily, there are ways you can use to improve your memory and accelerate learning dance faster!

One of the biggest mistakes dancers make when learning new choreography is trying to digest too much information at once. Instead, break it down into smaller chunks and concentrate on learning each one individually – this will be easier on your brain and will ensure that its steps stick in your memory more readily.

Mnemonic devices are another useful strategy. Mnemonics are memory aids that use stories, images and acronyms to help recall information you need quickly. One basic example would be using Mnemosyne to help memorize the names of Greek Titans (ancient gods that existed prior to Olympian gods). She was known as the goddess of memory as well as creating nine Muses who inspire creative endeavors.

Utilizing mnemonics can be an excellent way to help you remember information more easily because it engages your imagination and forces you to form connections in your mind. If you are studying for an exam or learning new choreography, try connecting the information to something familiar so it will stay in long-term memory longer and be retained longer.

Practice both physically and mentally in order to build muscle memory for each movement you practice. Repetition of sections of choreography that you are having trouble with or even touch-tapping where necessary are useful techniques teachers use in helping students learn the combinations they teach – this practice is known as marking the movement and can be an effective way of helping you remember the steps.

Before retiring for the night, it is a good practice to revisit your choreography in your mind or on paper before sleeping. Studies show this helps your short-term memories turn into long-term ones more quickly. So before bed each night, visualize or write out your dance in your notebook before sleeping.

Breaking It Down

One way dancers remember choreography is by breaking it into manageable chunks and using landmarks within it as memory aids; this allows the brain to easily retain and recall this information, so teachers and choreographers often teach movement phrases in an easy-to-follow format so students and dancers can find their way around new sequences of movements. Landmarks such as movement names (chasse, shuffle and boogaloo), non-word cues like counts (“5,6,7,8”) can help dancers remember them; teachers use landmarks as ways of helping dancers recall it through either word cues like names (chasse shuffle or boogaloo) or non-word cues like counts (“5,6,7,8”.

Labelling steps or combinations is another effective technique dancers use to remember them more quickly, as it helps the brain and body connect them naturally with keywords, rhythms or labels. One of our teachers finds this practice extremely helpful when learning a routine for herself!

Write Down Movements In Class or at Home For some dancers it may also be beneficial to write down movements while in class or at home to help recall the steps. Doing this helps reinforce correct moves and increase chances of performing them correctly. Repetition can help dancers remember choreography more easily – practice will ensure new moves or combinations become second nature over time!

Memorizing dance takes time! To successfully memorize a routine, it’s essential that you watch it several times over and repeat movements and questions, practicing until it becomes second nature and no longer requires conscious thought. Walking slowly through it while practicing can also help develop muscle memory – this technique works especially well when trying to remember more challenging parts such as turns or trouble spots that require concentration – by doing those sections without thinking, they will stay much better engrained in your brain!


Dancers use visualization techniques to help them remember the steps in their routines and stay motivated when injured, encouraging healing processes while remaining motivated during rehabilitation. Studies have also demonstrated this technique can increase coping skills and maintain fundamental movement skills during rehabilitation.

Visualization is an approach used to represent something mentally, such as going on stage for a speech or sporting performance, or performing choreography for an audience. Visualization techniques used for learning dance moves often include thinking through each step while practicing, then using memory devices like mnemonic devices to help remember them for future performances.

Drilling a routine will make it easier to recall. Mnemonic techniques may help, but breaking it into sections could also be useful; for example, labelling eight count sections with some stretches and turns and another with windmill-inspired gestures might make choreography more manageable.

Practice dancing in front of a mirror or have someone watch you, as this can help to reveal any errors you’re making, as well as when you miss steps or run out of time. Small details that affect performance can easily go overlooked if left alone for too long; therefore it is key that any potential issue can be recognized quickly so they can be addressed as quickly as possible.

Research has demonstrated that when dancers visualize their moves to music, similar regions and networks in their brain activate as when physically practicing these same movements. It may be related to either external spatial layout of visualized dance through space, or copy/feedback of reward expectancy for visualized dance from salience network regions back into auditory cortex.


Dancers’ remarkable speed at picking up choreography is one of the most impressive aspects of their performance skills. Dance classes allow sequences to be repeated until it becomes second nature; eventually, dancers become so automated in their brains that they recite entire routines without thinking twice! But how exactly do dancers achieve this feat? In this blog post we’ll look at various methods dancers employ to memorize choreography and improve performance.

As with most things, practice makes perfect. Dancers are strongly encouraged to spend a considerable amount of time perfecting their routines in front of an audience, in order to become familiar with them as well as develop trust in themselves and trust their abilities. Through such practice sessions they can develop strong confidence levels which will enable them to recall choreography more easily during performances.

Dancers can assist themselves in remembering choreography by connecting it to music. Our brain contains cells called Hippocampal Neurones that control memory, and these can be activated through movement. Recalling steps through music strengthens these connections; marking out certain portions that correspond with specific moves or combinations may further facilitate memory recall.

Drill a set of steps until they become automatic, repeating phrases as well as individual steps until they become automatic. Walking slowly through this process will aid with this process while paying particular attention to each step individually and any potential problem areas; noting any transition issues could mean the difference between an easily remembered piece and one which seems insurmountable.

Some dancers may find it helpful to keep a small notebook in their dance bag in which to jot down any notes that come up during class or rehearsals, especially those who struggle with verbal retention of information. By writing down corrections or tips after every session, they can refer back to these notes later if their choreography starts slipping their memory.