Some teachers use counts to mark out their combinations. Others say the names of the steps in rhythm or use sound effects—Sheila Barker coaches students through tricky weight changes and body undulations with a “pow, wiggy, zig, ahh” oratory that sounds like scatting. But then there’s Ryan Heffington.
The now-famous Sia choreographer basically recites an absurdist monologue to go with his wacky, gestural movements. Last weekend, a friend of mine took his dance-fitness class at The Sweat Spot in Los Angeles. While describing his approach, she said he called a double hop with fist-pump “party party” and taught them all a “lily-pad jump.” Then she pointed me toward this video, and it all fell into place.
Here, Heffington talks through the totally out-there choreography Maddie Ziegler performs in the “Chandelier” music video. His descriptions definitely make the moves easier to recall and give a peek into how it’s all “supposed to” read. See what you think, and share in the comments section how you talk through your own choreography!
I can’t pick a favorite between the “fork, fork” sequence and the “cockroach” part: