Clogger's Dictionary: Cue sheet (noun)


Most cloggers have a folder or a pile or at least a stack of today's vocabulary word: cue sheet. Synonyms include step list, caller's sheet, cuesheet, cheat sheet.

Here's my formal definition:

Cue sheet (noun): A list of steps and sequence for a clogging routine. This creates a roadmap of the dance, allowing a clogger to accurately practice in the instructor's absence. In addition to the synonyms listed above, a collection of cue sheets for a particular workshop or event is called a syllabus. A cue sheet can be a simple document or an incredibly complex work, depending on the level of detail, length and type of routine, and the choreographer's writing style.

The first rule of cue sheets is: THERE IS ALWAYS A MISTAKE IN THE CUE SHEET. A rookie clogger will think, "I'll remember that!" (NO, no you won't. You will drive yourself bonkers later wondering why the wrong foot is free after Part A...)

The second rule of cue sheets is: THERE IS ALWAYS A MISTAKE IN THE CUE SHEET. (Seriously. Carry a pen in your dance bag and fix the error as soon as the teacher announces it!)

Third rule of cue sheets: Much like reading music, reading cue sheets takes practice and experience. At first, the simplest cue sheets are baffling. You may be confused by all the A-B-C-B-D stuff, unable to remember the steps by name, and then there's the two lines with all those strange step abbreviations! Eventually, step notation starts to make sense. (Except for those crazy advanced cue sheets. Good luck with that!)

Fourth rule of cue sheets: Different choreographers write cue sheets in different ways and that is okay. (I don't want my favorite novelists to all sound the same, either!)

Fifth rule of cue sheets: Find a way to organize your cue sheets. At some point, your clogging group will bring back a routine you stopped performing years ago. Finding the cue sheet will keep your teammates from staring blankly at each other until the song gets to the one part everyone remembers.

Sixth rule of cue sheets: Give credit where it's due. If you put forth the time and effort to choreograph a routine and write the cue sheet, be sure to list yourself (and anyone who helped) as the choreographer! Give us enough info (artist, album) to purchase the correct version of the music, too.

Seventh rule of cue sheets: The cue sheet will go on as long as it has to. (See rule 4.)

Eighth and final rule of cue sheets: If you choreograph a dance, you MUST write the cue sheet. Have you ever performed a plank exercise to strengthen your core muscles? Harder than it looks! Same goes for writing a cue sheet. The experience will give you a whole new understanding of the first and second rules of cue sheets.

Do YOU have any tips for reading, writing, or storing cue sheets?