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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Combination Memorization

Guest Lotsoflaughs924

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It's a skill that grows with experience. After awhile, your brain develops its kinesthetic memory, and even then, a teacher who teaches in a different way may throw you a curve. It's sort of like:


One hen

Two ducks

Three Squawking Geese

Four Limerick Oysters

Five corpulent porpoises

Six pairs of Don Alverso's tweezers

Seven thousand Macedonians in full battle array

Eight Brass Monkeys from the ancient sacred crypts of Egypt

Nine sympathetic, apathetic, diabetic old men on roller skates with a marked propensity for procrastination and sloth.


That's a speech warmup. And recalled without reference to notes. What you do is say to your friend, "Repeat after me!" Then start "One hen, (they repeat), one hen, two ducks, (they repeat), and so on until they fry both their short-term memory and uvulas at the same time!

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a lot of times a try to break the step down into 2 or 3 parts. the first time my teacher explains the combination i focus on the first part and memorize the rest vaguely. the second time when she demonstrates i focus on the 2nd or 2nd and 3rd parts and so on... it makes it a lot easier.

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Over the summer I had a teacher who would only explain the combination once and then expect you to know it. I noticed that after a few days I got a lot better at memorizing the combinations quickly. Now that I have my normal teacher again, who explains the combination at least twice, I have noticed that I often start to space out during the first explanation, and only start to really focus the second time through.

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  • 2 months later...

I seem to have the same problem. I have ADD and will, at times, find myself really trying to pay attention, but once the combonation is given, having no clue what just happened. I find that a.) marking with my hands is good and b.) if the teacher gives the combo. and then goes to mark, I move (so I'm out of everyone's way) and then in my head (or in small movements) work out the steps slowly on the side. It helps me to do it at the tempo that I can best understand it, and then once I have figured it out on my own, I am ready to do it at the faster tempo. *I tend to do this mostly for allegro work, where I get the most confused.

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Young Dancers, the word is combination, not combonation! :)

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