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How to choreograph your first solo

Your first choreography can seem like a scary prospect that you aren’t ready for. But I know from experience that you are ready! Don’t focus on what you know or how long you have been dancing. But think about how much you love the dance and want to share that with others. That’s what we all look for in a dancer – how their passion shows in their interpretation.

First thing is find a piece of music that speaks to you. With Halloween and Christmas coming up you might want to find a piece of music that works into those holidays, but you don’t have to. Just listen to different pieces where you already feel the music is speaking to you.

To share my experience, my first solo was after I had been dancing for only 4 months. But my teacher wanted all of her students to get over that first solo fear and face it. And after the first solo, it is so much easier. My first song was Beautiful Liar by Beyonce’ and Shakira. I repeated a lot of steps, but I felt the music was speaking to me, so I went with it. I planned out the basic steps I wanted to make sure were in my dance and then let my body go with what I felt in the moment. It was scary but the applause afterward was warm and made me feel good about myself.

You can choreograph your entire dance, or just the beginning, or the chorus, or any combination of these. Start with what you find easiest. If the chorus or middle of the song is telling you how to move (for example it feels slow and slinky) then start there and really feel how your body wants to move – don’t worry about the actual steps yet. Listen to that part of the song over and over until you know how you are going to move. Then you can think about what your steps actually are – whether you’re going to dance tribal, or oriental, or cabaret, or a fusion of other dances. However, the actual steps aren’t important. You do know enough, even as a beginner, to feel the music and move with it. Then work on the next part of the song, and the next until you have a completed work.

I recommend practicing as much as you can – the more the better before you’re ready to perform it. And something will go wrong, but don’t fret – no one will notice unless you make the “mistake face.” The one where you frown or bite your lips, or something that your audience will notice. But even if you make the face, the entire audience is really on your side. They want you to succeed. We want you to show us your interpretation!

If you need help or want a second opinion, ask a teacher for their input. We’re here to make you feel better about your dancing and encourage you to push your abilities! You are talented and a welcome addition to the studio and we want to see you perform with your personal touches.

Hope to see you wow us at the next hafla!

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