Posted by terrepruitt on September 2, 2014
If you have read more than one post on my blog you know (probably) that I teach a movement class called Nia. Nia is very much about “dancing” and moving to the music. The training required in order to teach is called the Nia White Belt Intensive. The training is over 50 hours long. Believe it or not there is hardly anytime in that 50 hours learning a routine. In fact, I don’t remember learning any part of a routine in my White Belt. But I know people who have taken the training more recently and they said they did review a song. I remember when I first arrived at the training I literally had NO IDEA what it was going to be like. I signed up rather late and if there was any pre-training at that time, I didn’t get it. I had thought I would walk out of the training ready to teach. Ha. Nope. I was given tools to help me be ready to teach. There might be people who are ready to teach when they walk out of the first training . . . but I wasn’t. I wasn’t that familiar with Nia to begin with so the way we were taught to learn a routine was very new to me. As you may know we were taught to map our music by “barring” the music.
I know that Nia is making an effort to make things easier on teachers. Nia Headquarters actually documents the choreography on the bars now. So, I feel that the focus has shifted a bit away from barring the music the way I was taught. I think the way I was taught was very cool. I love the way Nia had at one time had us learning the music. But I also understand the need to learn quickly or to have tools available to allow people to do things faster. That is just the way our society is. Things need to be done fast.
I also understand that we all learn differently. We all have our own ways of doing things. I honestly don’t do EVERY step that I was taught to do. I also mix it up and I don’t always do each routine EXACTLY the same. But pretty much.
For all the routines so far, I do bar the music myself. Sometimes I have trouble with some of the songs so I might rely on the bars from HQ a little more than with other songs. But I bar the music and I document the choreography myself. I “fix” any discrepancies I might see on the DVD. But I do this in steps. First I bar the music. I count the music and I dress my bars. I have found the more detailed I am with the dressing the better it is for me. I put as much detail as I want on there. I don’t just put the sound I hear for the cue for the Nia routine. I put the music on the page. Then I scan the paper into my computer. Now I have barred music. So what I can do with that the barred page — without the Nia choreography on it — is use it for whatever I want. I can add my own choreography. I don’t just have the places marked where I would do or cue the already-created-Nia kata, I have sounds that I am familiar with document. So noting my own choreography to the page is easy.
Then, on my paper I just scanned, I add the Nia choreography. Once I do that then I scan my sheet again. So now I have an electronic image of my complete and final bars. I always know where it is. I admit to taking my sheets of barred music with me either to teach or around the house, then I misplace them. Or I mixed routines up so I have one song in with another routine. Then after a year when I go to do a routine, I am missing a song. I am pretty particular so I will look for it, but sometimes I let go and just look at my electronic copy. I know that eventually I will find the hard copy so I just use the one I know where it is.
I am so happy though because I finally got a HANGING file system. So much easier to file my routines that way. I used to have them in a pile on a shelf in a cabinet. So in order to get to them I had to take out the entire pile and go through it to find the routine I wanted. Or to put one away . . . that is why I would end up with “lost” songs because I didn’t always want to take the time to take out the stack and deal with it. But now, it is so much easier with them hanging! Yay.
So, if you teach a dance class, how do you document your moves? How do you note your choreography? How do you store your notes?