• SkunkWorks Dance

Teach yourself.

#wednesdaywisdomSW One of the best methods to get to know phrase work, choreography or even simple techniques is to teach yourself the material. Whether you are a student trying to memorize a section of a dance or a teacher working through a combination for class, the best thing you can do for yourself is to go through the material out loud and full in physicality.

While it might feel silly to talk aloud, doing so allows you to discover what I like to call “blind spots” or the spots within choreography that are not completely clear in your brain. It is these “blind spots” that can easily sneak up on you and cause you to forget where you are in phrase when performing or create confusion in a dance when teaching it to students.

To me, it is a very similar process to reading your writing out loud. Often when proofing an essay with my eyes, my brain will fix spelling or grammatical errors without my knowing. Though when I take the time to read my content aloud, I find that awkward sentences or other writing errors jump out much more clearly.

This Sunday I had the honor of leading a section of the Thodos Dance / DanceWorks “NEW Dances” audition to find a cast for my new work to premiere as part of this show in June! (More details to come! Stay tuned!) You can see in the video below both how I taught the phrase at the audition and how I worked through the phrase earlier in the week by teaching it to myself. This simple preparation gave me confidence and clarity when teaching the phrase to over 60 dancers and help to create efficiency allowing me to use my short period of time to the fullest.

-Jana Bennett

Founder and Director of SkunkWorks Dance

Have you ever taught yourself your material before leading class or audition? As a performer, have you tried working through hard choreography by teaching it to yourself out loud? We would love to hear about your experiences with this process, and how it helped or or did not help your dance needs.

If you have any cool content that fits into our slogan of “Radically Innovative Dance” and you think should be featured on our blog, send us an email at blog@skunkworksdance.com!

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All main photos unless otherwise credited, were taken and edited by Chloe Hamilton. 

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