All About Choreography: 3 Tips To Help You Learn Choreography

Embarking on a journey into the world of dance choreography is an exhilarating experience, and the Joanne Langione Dance Center provides the perfect backdrop for enthusiasts to explore their passion. 


Each January, the students of The Joanne Langione Dance Center have the opportunity to perform in not one, but two dance performances. Starting with The Winter Concert, the dancers of JLDC get to show off their talents and new skills with impressive dances and dazzling costumes. 

In addition to the Winter Concert students are also showcased in The Hip Hop Show. The Hip Hop Show is exactly what it sounds like. A show that focuses strictly on the ever-growing Hip Hop program offered at JLDC. 

This mid-year performance weekend has become something that both the students and parents look forward to all year long. And, in order to prepare for the big weekend, the students of The Joanne Langione Dance Center have a lot of choreography to learn! JLDC believes that one of the key elements in dance education is mastering choreography, a skill that not only enhances performance but also fosters a deeper connection to the art form. 

We’ll delve into three invaluable tips to help learn choreography quickly and efficiently as the students of JLDC gear up for their shows. 


All About Choreography 3 Tips To Help You Learn Choreography at JLDC in Newton, MA.

1. Break the Choreography Down 

Choreography often appears a bit daunting when viewed as a whole. However, breaking down a routine into smaller, more manageable sections is a game changer. At the Joanne Langione Dance Center, instructors emphasize the importance of dividing choreography into segments, focusing on mastering one part before moving on to the next. 

This approach allows dancers to build a solid foundation and gain confidence in each step, ultimately contributing to a seamless and polished performance. 

Pro Tips

  • Isolate Movements: Break down the routine into individual movements or steps. Practice each movement until it becomes second nature before integrating it into the entire sequence. 
  • Use Counts: Pay attention to the counts in the music. Associating specific steps with music beats can make it easier to synchronize movements with the rhythm. 

The beautiful part about the choreographic process at JLDC, is the art of collaboration. At the end of the day, the instructor’s job is to make the dancers feel as confident and comfortable as possible. The students are able to ask questions, communicate tricky problem areas, all for the greater good of the final product that will be presented on stage. 


2. Visualize the Choreography 

Visualization is a powerful tool in the dancer’s toolkit. At JLDC, instructors encourage students to visualize the choreography in their minds before physically executing the steps. This mental rehearsal helps to solidify the sequence in memory, making it easier to recall during actual performances.

All About Choreography 3 Tips To Help You Learn Choreography at JLDC in Newton, MA.

Pro Tips

  • Mirror Practice: Stand in front of a mirror while practicing. Visualizing yourself executing the choreography not only aids in memorization but also allows you to refine your movements and posture. 
  • Use Mnemonics: Associate specific movements with memorable words or phrases. Creating a mental narrative for the choreography can make it more accessible and enjoyable to learn. 

This tip might feel a bit silly, but it truly is a secret weapon when it comes to learning and remembering choreography. The best part about the creative process is that it is completely customizable! 

One dancer’s way of learning choreography might be great for them, but another dancer might need to explore their own unique way. By making the learning process into a game, the stress and headache of the steps will transform into a fun challenge. 


3. Choreography Repetition is Key

Repetition is the cornerstone of mastering any skill, and dance is no exception. At the JLDC, the faculty of experts stress the importance of consistent practice. This reinforces muscle memory and enhance overall proficiency in choreography.

All About Choreography 3 Tips To Help You Learn Choreography at JLDC in Newton, MA.

Pro Tips

  • Daily Practice: Dedicate a specific amount of time each day to practice the choreography. Consistency is key to building muscle memory and increasing familiarity with the routine. 
  • Rehearsals: Don’t miss rehearsals! Dancing alongside peers provides a supportive environment and allows for valuable feedback, fostering a sense of community and shared accomplishment. 

Bonus Tip

Don’t wait until the next dance class to go over the steps. Find different pockets of time to think about your dance throughout the week. Here is a list of perfect moments to do so before the next rehearsal: 

  • Before bed 
  • While you are brushing your teeth in the morning 
  • On the way to and from school 


The idea is not to let the choreography consume your entire existence. However, a mini review session here and there may be the answer to choreographic success. 

Learning choreography quickly is a skill that can be honed with dedication and strategic practice. The Joanne Langione Dance Center, with its commitment to excellence and nurturing environment, provides the perfect platform for dancers to develop this skill. By breaking down routines, visualizing movements, and embracing the power of repetition, dancers can elevate their performance and experience the joy of mastering choreography.

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Shawn Mahoney

Shawn Mahoney began his ballet, tap, and jazz training at the Joanne Langione Dance Center and his early performing career with Jose Mateo’s Ballet Theatre in Boston, MA. As an apprentice, Shawn danced for American Ballet Theatre before joining Boston Ballet. At Boston Ballet, Shawn performed in Petipa, Balanchine, Kylian, Forsythe, Bejart and others. Shawn performed as a chosen member of “Tharp!”, a national and international touring company directed by Twyla Tharp. Ms. Tharp invited Shawn to be part of the creative and choreographic process for her Broadway hit “Movin’ Out” and performed in Tharp’s “Red, White, and Blues”. Shawn performed with the Suzanne Farrell/Balanchine Project, Sean Curran Company, Washington Ballet, and Bale Estado de Goias. As an educator, Shawn has taught internationally for Festa de Danca in Sao Paulo and Bermuda Civic Ballet. Currently, Shawn is on faculty at Emerson College, instructing dance classes to actors and musical theatre students and is a teacher and lecturer at Days in the Arts. Shawn founded Mahoney Agency, representing dancers for national engagements for the Nutcracker Ballet. Shawn is a sought out mentor for emerging artists and choreographers in ballet and contemporary dance.