Remembering Choreography

They called me “The Iron Sponge” for a reason.

I had this insane ability to remember every combination we ever did in class perfectly, better than the teacher. Sometimes Miss Laura didn't write combos down, because she knew I'd remember them. I never understood why I could do that, but it wasn’t hard. I didn’t write them down, I didn’t visualize when I got home. But I’ve begun to see why I might be able to do that: I associated the combination with the music.

We used the same music for four years straight.

I kid you not. And it never got annoying, because I get sentimentally attached to music.

And to this day, I have that music on my mp3 player and I use it when I tutor/teach/give myself a class. And I can remember almost every combo we did, every variation of those combos we did, in perfect detail. I remembered the music so well that I could call up the combos.

We had three or four different tondu combos we did over the four years I danced with NBB, and I can still remember every single one, and if I knew how to play the piano better than I do now, I could very easily play the music in exact detail, the way Josu Gallastegui does.

And to this day whenever I hear “Turkey in the Straw,” I remember the glissade jete combo we did at The Rock School audition. Funny enough, the man who lead that audition did a combo very similar the next year. The only thing he changed was the ending.

And of course, I remember both of them, and only because I associated it with the music.
And here's something funny: I can remember I have a lunch date with my adopted grandma on November 7th. I can remember my French presentation is November 22nd. I can remember my last final for this year is December 16th at 2:30 PM. I remember my first performance ever was May 14th. I can remember that the first day I texted my boyfriend was June 11th.

But only because I’m dancing.

If I were to quit right now and not dance for several months, I would forget all those dates very quickly, and I would look at a calendar and say “Huh, May 14th, it rings a bell but I can’t for the life of me figure out what’s important about that day.”

And I can do algebra. If I sat down and looked at a substitution equation or a quadratic equation, I could do it (right now, even though I haven't done one for about two years). but when I’d quit dancing two years ago, I couldn’t do math to save my life.

Maybe we can say “Haley is only smart when she’s doing ballet.”

Or maybe we can say something a little more educated and say that moving to music and thinking in numbers and focusing on muscle isolation connects the right brain with the left brain and allows for overall faster reaction time and problem solving.

Wow that sounds deep and profound.

So here is the pointe (<—haha did you see what I did there! wow I'm caffeinated.) of all this: Wednesday I forgot my combination sheet. I had a difficult time remembering the combinations… until the music started. But, I can guarantee two things: one, if my current teacher used the same CD in class for every barre she gave, I’d remember all the past barres she'd ever given to that music, and be able to do any of them several years later.

and two, as long as I continue to dance, I will forever be able to recall those combinations she's given us thus far, if I heard the music (or thought hard enough and long enough about it).

How do you remember combinations? Do you have difficulty remembering them, or is it easy?

















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