Copying comes with great benefits. Copying allows you to see what kind of moves you want to create. Learning through studying all the masters and other people's inspiring careers can be extremely beneficial. By copying, you are also studying. You are able to analyze other peoples pieces and see what you like, and soon learn how to apply some of those technical skills to your own dancing.
When you first begin dance, copying can be very beneficial. At this early stage you don't have the tools available to successfully create anything. Copying permits you to concentrate on learning the basic techniques, and using your body without the distraction of having to invent anything. And the original reference gives you something you can compare your work to.
Copying permits you to concentrate on learning the basic techniques.
As a result, copying is most effective when you are analyzing and thinking how you can apply this to your own art, rather than just dancing for the sake of dancing. Stop and think what you like about the choreography piece and moves you are learning, and how you could use this in the future.
Copying someone else's art and calling it your own is wrong. You can use their choreography and dance moves as inspiration, but in the end, the goal is to learn, and then create your own dance moves and patterns. Once you have reached a level of being able to dance with confidence, I would recommend pushing yourself to dance on your own without the benefits of others.
So, copy and teach yourself the skills you need. They will inevitably lead you to create your own work. And you can still use references