I’ve been teaching dance fitness workouts for almost a decade. One of the most frequently asked questions I get is how I come up with choreography.
Do I make it up? Does it come to me easily? How do I find the music?
I do have a process and it’s evolved over time. I definitely have seasons where I feel blocked and unable to come up with anything new too!
I start with the music. This is the easiest part for me. I know what I like and I know what I don’t! You’ll RARELY, if ever, hear a Pitbull song in my set list. Nothing against the Mr. Worldwide I just don’t care for his music. Sorry if you’ve ever put in that request and heard crickets. I just can’t. Might I redirect you to ANY and every Zumba class?
My class set list is full of songs you won’t typically hear on the radio. I find most of my music on Spotify. Spotify offers a “Discover Weekly” playlist with similar songs of the music you already listen to. They change up the playlist every Monday which I love! Typically when I find a new song or artist I really like I’ll listen to that song or artist “radio.” I go deep into the rabit hole and find some really cool stuff.
Once I have a song I always check to see if there is a music video on Youtube. I can usually get choreography ideas from the video. Then I’ll search to see if anyone else has already created a dance to the song I’ve selected for inspiration. Or I’ll straight up use their choreography! If it ain’t broke don’t fix it! A few of my favorites are The Fitness Marshall, Dance Fitness with Jessica, and Cardio Dance with Berns.
I study the lyrics and melody of my music too. It’s nice to know what the song is about, how many verses, chorus, and breaks are in the song. This is really helpful for building choreography and knowing when to repeat moves. Not to mention musicality! If you know your music front and back you’ll be a lot more confident dancing to it!
I try to start most of my dance workouts with a simple two count move like a slide or step tap. This gives me an opportunity to preview what’s coming and build confidence in the class. I want everyone to leave feeling successful!
I totally use notes and yes I totally throw a song into a class from time to time and wing it. I don’t recommend doing this very often and definitely avoid this method if you’re not comforatble with creating choreography on the fly. Because when you bomb you bomb hard. If you’re lucky the moves will come naturally and it will ROCK. If you’re okay with possibly eating some humble pie then go for it.
Most of the moves come to me while driving! This is what we call CARography. Once I have my music, moves, and notes it’s time to test it in class. I’ll usually preview the moves of a new dance the first few classes. Once the class is confident with the dance we record it and post the video to Youtube!
These are typically the steps I take to build a class. An hour long class is usually around 14-15 songs so you can imagine the work that goes into each set! It’s a labor of love and driving passion of mine. You can workout with me anywhere! Click here to subscribe to my Youtube channel. And do me a favor… when you see a new upload please leave a comment and show my homies some love!