Ask Abby! How to Remember Combinations

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

One of our followers emailed us a question recently, and we wanted to share the response with you here, because we get this question a LOT!

Hello, I have reached out to you guys before and I just want to tell you that you guys are a great resource for me.  thank you!  I have something I was wondering if you could help me with.  I feel like I struggle with remember combinations when we are in the center or go across the floor, most the across the floor combinations.  And as a result I don't feel like I dance well because I am too nervous I don't know what  I am doing.  do you have any trips to remembering the combinations so I can just dance it and not think so much about the order of the steps?

Thanks, Sarah

Mark, mark, mark! 

As someone that struggled with this (and still does to a large extent), I have to mark the combination over and over in order to get it enough to be successful. Go in the latest group you can, and mark with every group in the back as they go across the floor before you take your turn. When the teacher is first giving the combination, do it with them as full out as possible while they are going over it. 

If you don't feel like you can get the entire combination, try to really get at least the first four to eight counts, then really dance and commit to just that part, then see how much you can make the rest flow even if it isn't perfect. A lot of times combinations have a pattern or a part repeats, so try to find the pattern. Kind of like the number trick where someone gives you the numbers 3-6-1-4-3-7, and you can remember it more easily by thinking 36-14-37.

Just try not to judge yourself too much about mistakes, because it can definitely be crippling! Better to let yourself go and make a few mistakes than to hold back too much. I know it's easier said than done! But it will get better! The mental part of ballet is just like a muscle getting stronger, and the more you use it, the stronger it will get.

Hope this helps!


Comment below if this is something you struggle with or have to work on!


Unknown said...

Thanks for this!! I struggle so much with remembering combinations. I'm going into a higher level next week and honestly, this is my number one concern. And you're so right that when I mess it up, I get more nervous and actually get worse. I'm going to copy out your advice (writing things helps me to remember them), glue it in the front of my dance notebook and remind myself of this every day! Thanks again!

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