Freestyle dance, or dance improvisation, is the when you spontaneously make movement with your body. This means you're not following choreography; just moving. Since freestyle dancing is about your own original voice, there is no wrong way to do it. However, there are tips and tricks you can use in order to become more comfortable with freestyle dancing.
Freestyling is a skill that can be cultivated through diligence and practice. Here's a list of 5 things you can do today to begin building your freestyle dance foundation!
You might be thinking “I clicked on this blog to learn how to freestyle and you’re telling me to just move!?” Yes. JUST MOVE.
Freestyling is exercising your own voice. Your bodies' natural way of moving is what makes your dancing unique. This plays a huge part in learning How To Develop Your Unique Style As A Dancer.
So, start by putting on one of your favorite songs and just start dancing. Don't think you have to do a full-on "freestyle" – you're not in a battle! You're just dancing! Play close attention to the nuances of the music and how it makes you feel. Let your body react to the sounds. Think of your body as an instrument; use it to create the physical representations of the things you hear. DON’T worry about how you look or if you’re being repetitive. Also, don't use a mirror. That'll just make you feel self-conscious.
With freestyle dancing, it's important for the movement to feel good, first. If what you're doing feels good to you, then you can always polish up how it looks afterwards. But focusing on the way you look first won't create an organic, comfortable style that's "you." Read more on Why It's More Important For Dance To FEEL Good, Than Look Good.
Getting comfortable with your body and increasing your movement vocabulary takes time and practice. Your ear for music will develop and your vocabulary will expand. But none of this will start to happen unless you move! So start moving now.
Fundamental, or foundational styles, are the bread and butter of freestyle. These dances emerged in clubs and other social settings where dancers used freestyle to express themselves. (This is also why our first point about music is so important. The music that’s popular in an area or time period greatly influences how people think, feel, and dance!) These styles include but are not limited to: Popping, Locking, Breaking, House, Waacking, Krump, and more!
Learn more about some of these dance styles: What Is Popping?What Is The Difference Between Waacking And Voguing? The vocabulary of moves from any of these styles give a blueprint for freestyle dance. All the exploration you do can be "polished" up by building some technical foundation.
Think of Freestyle Dance Tip #1 as the color in a coloring book. Training in foundation gives the outlines that make the shapes easier to see. Yet, as ambitious as you are, it’d be REALLY overwhelming and not as efficient to start to learn House, Ballet, Locking, and Breaking all at once! Learn about different dance styles by watching videos and exploring their history. See which one(s) you gravitate towards the most. Focus on one or two of those, and practice those techniques repeatedly.
Think of it as conditioning, similar to how ballet dancers tendu or plie repeatedly to ingrain that into their bodies.Hits, waves, loose legs, glides – practice whatever it is that you want in your toolkit of dance moves. These moves will serve as the skeleton for your freestyle!Using them, you can continue to explore your movements even more freely.
“Creativity is not created, it is there for us to find – it is an act of discovery!” More tips to Overcome Your Dance Fears And Live A Creative Life We live in a world in which our creativity is often stifled. We’re conditioned to think a certain way, learn a certain, act a certain way, etc. Through that, our originality can be lost.
In order to break free of this mold, we must actively stimulate our creativity. Visit an art show, go to a museum, watch cartoons, study body language.Immerse yourself in all things creative, even if it's just in taking a walk and observing the environment around you. It’ll provide you with the inspiration needed to fuel your creative spirit. Then, take that with you into the lab.
Move like water; imitate the movements of a wild animal, mimic that person you saw on the street who walks a little funny. Channel the personas of some of your favorite movers, dancers or not! (My personal favorites are Aang the Airbender and Bruce Lee!) Clay talks more about the process of taking concepts and turning them into dance moves:
Taking dance classes will expand your movement vocabulary for freestyle dance, while also challenging you to retain choreography, and adapt to a different mover’s style. Furthermore, you’ll have access to mirrors and an audience. Use this as an opportunity to get accustomed to dancing in front of a mirror and with others around you. Pay attention to the choreographer and other movers in the class.
How do they execute their movement? Ask questions, engage in conversation. Take mental notes, and take it back to your freestyle dance.Be sure to take classes in a variety of styles, too. Taking dance classes will give you much more material to work with. Don't have any access to a dance studio? No worries. Here's How To Learn Dance With No Dance Classes In Your Area
Now the real fun begins! Set up a session with some friends or go to a freestyle dance jam.
Not quite sure what to expect? Here's What You Should Know Before Going To A Freestyle Jam
While it can feel scary to be put on the spot, discomfort comes with growth. If you comfortable dancing alone, but feel nervous in front of others... The answer is simple: practice freestyle dancing with others! Not to mention, sessioning with friends is a great way of practicing your material and exchanging concepts. Want more tips on overcoming your freestyle dance fears? Clay's got you:
A great base to build on is Popping fundamentals. Take Boogie Frantick's beginner Popping program on STEEZY Studio!
There you have it!Your 5-step guide to start learning how to freestyle dance. Continue practicing these things and you’ll be well on your way to confidently holding your own in a circle or at a session. There should be no embarrassment, no fear, no holding back – just fun. So go ahead, freestyle dance, explore yourself, and share your unique style with the world!
Got any more freestyle dance tips? Share them in the comment box below!