Choreography – glad I’m not the only Lindy Hopper who finds it difficult!

Choreography – glad I’m not the only Lindy Hopper who finds it difficult!
Reading Rik’s post called “Can you learn to learn choreography?” made me smile.

I am abysmal at learning choreography. They say practice makes perfect but I’m not convinced. Most weeks I go to a hip hop class and I usually fail miserably at ‘getting’ the routine. Sometimes I consider it a success if I can end up facing the same way as everyone else at the same time. It’s definitely got easier now that I don’t have to remember the moves as well as the routine but it still takes me forever to pick it up.

Sometimes I put it down to old age, sometimes a short attention span, but mostly I think I just don’t have the mind set to do choreography. I know I pick things up better when I can hear the choreography in the music and can use the music for cues. I really struggle with lyrical hip hop routines that play with the beat and involve hands and feet doing highly choreographed movements (I’ve had to come up with coping strategies like deciding to just do the feet so that I can keep up with the class). I’m better when I can say the rhythm out loud but that’s embarrassing. I’m also not very good at getting hip hop moves that are similar to vernacular jazz moves and have to fight my body to apply different styling/movement.

What I find most curious is my inability to separate myself from the people around me. Not sure if this is a follower thing but I can follow the body movements of the instructor pretty well but as soon as he stops dancing to watch the class perform I am totally lost. I am also incredibly aware of the people around me in class and end up relying on them for choreography cues and follow what they do even if I know it’s not quite right – it irritates the hell out of me but I find it very hard to focus just on me when I’m dancing!

So where am I going with my dancing?

I’ve decided to give up on choreography and Lindy classes for a bit and focus on body awareness instead. Progress is slow but I think I am starting to lighten up and make my dancing look a bit less clunky. So far I’ve tried:

Yoga – well, I found that there’s yoga and yoga. Some classes provide a means for you to learn about body awareness (if you’re in that frame of mind) and others less so. Plus I quite like standing on my head and it’s helping with my bad knees.

Body balance – in theory this class should have been just what I wanted but in practice it’s a poorly taught combination of yoga, tai chi, balance and Pilates set to music but you do get a nice sleep (ahem, guided meditation session) at the end.

Feldnekrais – if I had the time/money I would go to an “Awareness Through Movement” class every week. These sessions definitely aren’t for everyone but there’s nothing quite like spending an hour lying on the floor experimenting with how you can move your arm up and down, thinking about what other parts of your body need to move/not move and attempting do that movement differently.

Alexander Technique – fearsomely expensive (and for me slow progress) but fascinating if you’re interested in movement. Expect to spend a lot of time sitting down and standing up and thinking about what muscles you need to use to make a movement and what you add to movement that you don’t need.

Zumba – Ditch the workout, Join the party! Let’s just say it’s not for me.

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