Did you know there are THREE types of dancers in your belly dancing class that might fool you into thinking that something might be wrong with you…

You show up to your first few belly dance classes. The teacher is teaching you all a choreography and it seems like most of the other dancers have a much better handle on this dance thing than you do.

You might start to feel like you are not doing very well, because the other students seem to be getting everything together more quickly, while you are having trouble putting two moves together.

Sound familiar?

First, let me set the record straight!

There is absolutely nothing wrong with you – you are VERY normal – and YES, even capable of learning choreography though it will seem tough in the beginning.

Unfortunately, when you first start dancing, you only see what’s in front of you, without any context. 

You feel like everyone is doing better than you are, but let’s take a look at what you might actually be seeing.  

Below, I’m going to breakdown the three types of dancers that might inadvertently cause you to question your aptitude for picking up choreography:

The first type of dancer you might encounter is the rare individual who actually does absorb dances (and everything else) like a sponge.

They are like the Benedict Cumberbatch-version of Sherlock Holmes. Their mind is like a trap, they never forget anything.

These dancers are truly marvels, and it’s important to understand that they are the exception, not the rule. And just because, they have this superpower, doesn’t mean the rest of us, mere mortals, shouldn’t even try. 

Hint: Nobody, I repeat, nobody, is expecting you to have a photographic memory or instant dance skills. Teachers expect that you will have to practice like most other dancers. 

In my experience, new dancers often hold themselves to unreasonable expectations. They either assume it’s easy and get disappointed when it obviously isn’t or they get overwhelmed by the challenge. 

I like to remind new dancers, that even though learning to dance is challenging, don’t make the mistake of underestimating your ability to overcome those challenges. 

I see it all the time, the students who aren’t discouraged by this initial “shock” who stay and practice with us, succeed. 

They learn to dance!

It’s best to be patient with yourself and give your mind/body time to remember and coordinate everything. 

The second type of dancer is one (somewhat more common) that can “mimic” and follow closely along with the teacher, but DON’T LET THIS TYPE FOOL YOU!

Because they really can’t “dance” the choreography unless they have someone to follow. (i.e. they don’t really KNOW the choreography)

These folks are masters at seeing and then replicating movement in real-time and that can easily fool people into thinking that they know the steps, but take the teacher out of the classroom or suggest they do a solo – with no one to copy – and they are just like the rest of us.

These dancers must also practice to memorize, perfect, and embody any dance they wish to learn. They, hopefully, will do the work outside of class, until their memorization catches up with their copycat ninja skills.

Though this skill might seem like a cool one to have, it does have one HUGE drawback. 

Dancers with this ability might learn to rely on this ability and use it as a crutch. 

Trusting they will always have someone to follow and they may frequently get away with it, which only makes the behavior even more tempting to continue.

However, they cheat themselves out of benefits that only the traditional learning process can provide.

Dancers gain far more skill when they are challenged and overcome those challenges.

So, if you are one of those dancer types that are good at mimicry, I highly encourage you to discipline yourself to actually learn each dance without relying on following your teacher, other students, or watching videos.

You can rise to the challenge, and be a better dancer because of it!

The third type of dancer is the one that makes it look effortless, not by some miracle, but because they’ve already learned the choreography and this is their second, third, or hundredth time through it.

They have practiced this choreography before, and it shows.

Wanna close the skill gap with these types?

The answer is really quite simple. Attend more classes and/or practice more between your classes.

In conclusion, if you are a new dancer or a dancer that feels that they struggle with choreography, deeply realize that there is nothing wrong with you and how fast you learn.

All that’s really needed here is a mindset shift and some practice.

No, seriously!

I have trained COUNTLESS dancers and whenever I have taught, rehearsed, and encouraged practice at home – every single student learns the dances successfully  – without exception.

Not a single dancer that practices, fails!

There are a few things, however, that do GUARANTEE FAILURE:

  • giving up
  • not practicing
  • and, especially, not coming to class

So, NEVER AGAIN be tricked by the skill of other dancers in class – only the first type gets a bit of a free pass (to a point) – but the rest of us, really do have to practice a lot to learn choreography.

Would you like to learn more about the choreography mastery process and get some tools to help you shorten your choreorgraphy memorization time?

Take a look at my videos below:

12 Strategies to Learn Choreography More Quickly Part 1

12 Strategies to Learn Choreography More Quickly Part 2

3 Stages of Choreography Mastery

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