What goes into choreographing a song

I get so excited when a new Bollywood song gets released. Why? A new song to dance to and choreograph! 

The first few times I listen to a new song, I listen to the audio-only (no music video) so I can get a feel for the beats and get acquainted with the pace and lyrics of the song. I hold off on watching the music video until I have a rough idea of the steps I want to include.

The more I listen to the song, the more jittery I get. I look up the lyrics to get the translation to then better understand the song and what it is trying to say. 

I start singing along, head-bobbing, and casually choreographing a few parts as I dance in-front of my mirror. It just comes naturally and I see how my body wants to move and groove to the different parts of the song. 

After getting comfortable with the song and having a solid idea of the choreography I want to do, I do two things. 

First, I watch the music video. I pay attention to the choreography, the facial expressions, and the hook-step (like the twist in Haan Main Galat). This helps me tie everything together. Watching the video helps me better understand the bigger meaning of the song. I like watching all the background dancers, the acting, the story that goes along with what is getting portrayed through the song. Bollywood music videos are always so loud. With the dancing, the costumes, the sets. Always a magical experience. 

Second, I record myself dancing to it. I write out the steps that I’ve come up with and then I need to see how it looks and make sure the vision that I have in my head is truly what it looks like in-person. Additionally, sometimes the song goes faster or slower in my head so I can get a better idea if it is even doable for my students to hit the steps at the right time. Or, maybe it is too slow and I definitely need to add more steps to cover time. 

After this, I practice. A lot. Practicing the routine multiple times helps me realize what works and what doesn’t and I often make changes as I get comfortable with the routine. Choreographing is an iterative process.

Have you been choreographing some dances? Send us your videos!