Whether you’re choreographing a dance solo for a student or for yourself, it’s definitely a skill that you’ll be glad you’ve honed. If you’re trying your hand at choreographing a dance solo for the first time, the process can seem a bit daunting. If you take it step-by-step, though, you’ll be able to achieve your goal. And you’ll find a great sense of accomplishment in creating & performing choreography that’s distinctively your own!
Step 1: Plan the Music
Before you begin trying to add choreography to a song, consider your intended audience and production aim, making sure each song you choose is the right length and is appropriate for that venue. Try to determine the musical style that offers you the greatest amount of inspiration. You want the song to be one with which the soloist will connect. As you listen to a potential song, imagine dancing to it. Once you decide on a song, you may want to count beats and make other notes about the song as you get to know it.
Step 2: Move to the Movement
As you listen to the song repeatedly, start moving to the music. You’ll get a feel for where particular moves work best with the lyrics, the rhythms, or both. As you continue doing certain moves at certain times, you’ll start to find your groove. If you’re creating the choreography in order to teach it to someone else, it’s still a good idea to dance to the song yourself without any pre-planned steps and see how the music leads you.
Step 3: Add More Steps
Once you’ve chosen some basic moves that coincide with the mood and lyrics of the song, you’ll need to fill in the gaps. As you consider additional steps, be sure they’re in keeping with the tempo, rhythm, and mood. Using distinct steps, you can demonstrate passion and energy, making those steps highlights of your solo.
Step 4: Put It on Paper
You (or the dancer who will be performing your choreography) will have an easier time memorizing the steps if they’re written down on paper. Seeing the dance steps written down can really help the process along; perhaps you’ll realize you should add more turns or that you’ve left out a certain type of move. Don’t worry if after writing it down, you decide to change it up — it’s all part of the creative process!
Step 5: Practice to Perfection
Remember, only perfect practice makes for a perfect performance. As you practice, make sure all the steps coordinate fluidly with one another. You will know you’ve rehearsed the solo enough when you can perform the moves without even thinking about them.
Step 6: Prepare for the Big Day
As you prepare for your solo dance performance, try to plan for a full day of relaxation, free from practicing or even thinking about your solo. That margin period will help you avoid freezing up when you’re on stage. When it comes time for the performance, you’ll be ready to dance your heart out!