How to Create Choreography That Keeps Clients Coming Back

Have you ever taught a class where students struggle with everything you’ve planned, even though you simplified it?


How about that class where everyone’s picked it up but there’s still that one person who can’t grab the moves, no matter how many times you’ve repeated it (now you’re worried your other clients are getting bored.)


Or..flip it around, maybe you’re not teaching yet, but have you ever been to a class where the instructor is throwing choreo out so fast that only 50% of the room has it and they haven’t adapted, changed or maybe even noticed? How did it make you feel?





  • Why getting helping clients remember MOVES is the most powerful way to keep your clients coming back.


  • 3 ways to teach choreography that will help your clients remember the moves, so they become loyal fans and keep your classes full week after week


  • Our secrets to helping your students find the beat with ease: you’ll be their fave instructor if you can solve this problem for them!


  • How to effortlessly instil confidence in your clients so that you can lead the room and consistently progress your students.






One of the biggest fears potential students or clients have about jumping into your dance, fitness or hybrid class is that they won’t be able to do it.


We’ve never met a client yet who wants to leave the studio feeling like they can’t do something, so it makes sense that the choreography and combinations you’re teaching your clients are challenging, effective, but also achievable.

Sounds simple, but if you’ve taught for a while you’ll realise it’s not! There’s a balance to find and getting right takes practice and skill.


It’s even more important to get this balance right when teaching a fitness class. With a fitness class, your steps need to be even easier to pick up because you want your students to perform them with intention to get a workout. If they spend most of the class standing around watching you or struggling to remember they aren’t moving, and they’re realise they didn’t get their sweat on, which means they won’t come back (which probably means less profit in your pocket).


Here at Corio, we operate from the premise that the class is about your students, not about you. That means, no matter how cool that move is you want to share, if it’s not the right level for your students keep it out of class.


On the other hand, a dance class will work motor fitness a little more, so the complexity can be a little more challenging, but you still want clients to leave having notched up another confidence boosting win with your class.


Memorizing choreography is an essential skill for our clients who come to class because it helps them get more enjoyment out of the class and better results.


As a dance fitness instructor, one of the best skills you can teach your new clients is how to remember the moves more easily and faster, which in turn, increases your client retention, makes your students feel like they’re improving and allows your classes to flow. It’s a win win for everyone.


The good news is that like most skills, learning pace of choreography can be improved, if you spend a little time teaching your students some basic methods for improving their memory and motor fitness.


Here are our top tips for helping your clients to remember the moves so you can keep clients coming back:




SHOW then DO:

 Traditionally we show as clients do - but in a dance class setting you can switch this up. mirror-neuron theory says that dancers' own movements are better informed after seeing someone else perform, so BEFORE you teach a combo you can show it first.


LEGS then ARMS:    

Motor fitness takes time to develop so new students may have trouble or feel overwhelmed trying to master total body moves at first. You can stop this by breaking down choreo into legs, for the beat, then arms for style.


Take it one step further by explaining to your class how you teach and give them permission to revert to just legs if they need to - let them know they have options to take the pressure off - unless you’re teaching at a performance level a workout shouldn’t be a stressful experience, we want to make it as enjoyable as possible.  




(If you’ve got students struggling with combinations, don’t single them out, talk to the group and remind students that they can choose to challenge themselves at any point and that motor fitness takes time and repetition. We sometimes even tell students that some combinations are challenging on purpose to stretch them, which removes a feeling of failure if it’s beyond their reach on that day.  Bottom line: we believe your role is to build confidence and prevent failure in the studio with each workout.


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Clients need to feel the connection between the moves and the music. We use counts to help clients feel the beat.  For your beginners clients, using a basic, 1, 2, 3, 4 beat keeps things easy.  You can add half counts or play with tempo’s to increase the complexity.  Explain what you’re doing to beginners! They may be waiting for 9 and 10 in your routine...


While lyrical dance uses the words or feeling of the music, with dance fitness we find that keeping a beat on an 8 count is much more effective in helping students remember moves with ease and eliminates confusion.



When our Corio instructors teach the Moves, we use simple words to cue clients and help remember a move.  The more the word stands out the better (anyone else know what our “evil hand” move is?) You can either create words for your students by naming your dance moves, or encourage your clients to do it themselves.


Asking students to say the words in time to the music or run them through their heads as they do them will cement the moves and remind them what comes next as well as helping them to feel the beat of the routine and improve musicality.



Erik Franklin, creator of the Franklin Method recommend the use of imagery to help dancers remember the moves - which is something we also use at Corio.


Instead of saying that you’re left leg goes up and down, you might say “imagine you’re stamping on a bug”, instead of saying that you’re arms reach out with palms up, you might say, “Imagine you’re passing a tray to someone”



In the Moves, where we’ve got a challenging sequence, we often use a series of images to help clients to remember the steps.  It’s not unusual to hear our teachers saying something like, “Brush Your Hair, Evil Hand, Step, Whip, Lookout Right.” instead of literally describing each move. We’ve found this helps even beginners to remember longer routines and keeps it fun!



Want your clients to name a move? They will love being an active part of the class, ask them for suggestions for the name and use it in the class.  (Kids love this but it works just as well with adults.)


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If you want to build a loyal fan base of recurring clients then that feeling of confidence is key, especially in a workout where people tend to fear looking silly, so we’ve got to make sure we’re setting our clients up for success.  More loyal clients means more money and business success for you!


At Corio, all our instructor training programs give you the blueprint to create your own winning class formula, and our high level training for our signature dance fitness program the Moves, has already thought of all of this for you so you don’t have to.   We’ve created the perfect format for teaching (and remembering!) choreo that also ensure clients get a balanced, challenging, sweaty workout all while looking great on the dancefloor.


We make sure that each of our certified dance fitness instructors has access to our done-for-them programs and graduates with the important skills that keep clients coming back (and money in the bank!).


If you want to shift from hobby job instructor to highly qualified and confident teacher, then Corio Dance Fitness Instructor Training is right for you.


Our instructor training program opens to a limited number of people each year. To be the first to be notified when we open registration get on the VIP wait list here.

Elle KealyComment