Help find the missing link between my body and my brain
December 2, 2012 9:42 PM   Subscribe

How do I train my brain to remember the interesting movements that my body comes up with when the music plays?

I want to explore my creativity through choreography. I've danced most of my life but have been part of traditional teams or classes--jazz,tap,ballet, hip hop, etc. At the same time, my body has known how to create unique movements to music and I (like to) think that I have a natural capacity for creative dance. In a class in which the genre is one I'm familiar with, it's fairly easy for me to pick up choreography; it's as if my brain already has an available visualization construct to attach different known pieces together in various orders. It's different when the class is a more unfamiliar style: I notice that if I watch the instructor while I'm learning the dance, my brain learns how to make my body mimic the movements, but I cannot execute the movements without the instructor dancing in front of me. (It's like only my visual mind has learned.) It helps to watch myself in the mirror, but the best outcome (in terms of my muscle memory) happens when I drill movements without watching what I'm doing.

I would like to choreograph on my own and when I play music, my body begins to do interesting things that I'd like to replicate, but when I try to repeat what I've done, I find that my muscle memory hasn't absorbed it very well. And when I, instead, watch myself making movements in a mirror so that I can remember them, the product that occurs through letting my body respond to music is stifled.

I've danced with some people who can see a dance coming together inside their head without actually moving, or can review a dance mentally. That's not how my brain works. (I also don't do math in my head well, but I notice that this is something that's gotten worse as I have let myself off the hook from mental calculations, so I tend to believe that I could get better.)

Does anyone have suggestions for how to strengthen the brain's ability to visualize physical movement in a way that would help my ability to choreograph? Or maybe I'm approaching this the wrong way? I would also be interested in how other people choreograph.

posted by sb3 to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (5 answers total)
Could you videotape yourself "freestyle" dancing, and start from there? A least you will have a record of what moves you make without having to remember.
posted by katypickle at 9:45 PM on December 2, 2012

Filming is a great option. You get the mirror without the mirror.

Repetition could also help. If you do something that you like in the moment, do it again immediately. Repeat and focus on how it feels in your body, where you're leading from, which muscles are working, etc.
posted by wemayfreeze at 10:45 PM on December 2, 2012

thirding filming.
posted by WeekendJen at 5:53 AM on December 3, 2012

Unfortunately you have to step out of the stream of inspiration to reinforce the moves you found in there.

(Unless you film it.)
posted by TheRedArmy at 10:31 AM on December 3, 2012

I will give the videotaping a try. Thanks, all!
posted by sb3 at 9:17 AM on December 4, 2012

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