How To Dance In The Pocket

Training Tips

How To Dance In The Pocket

Charise Roberts
January 23, 2024
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We always say that someone’s sooOoO “in the pocket” when they dance.

But 1. What does this even mean?

And 2. How do you do it?

Keep reading to see how YOU can make like a baby kangaroo and dance… in the pocket!!

The Early Bird Gets The Worm... But He Ain't In The Pocket

When I first started dancing, I didn’t even realize I was doing something that made my dancing look really underwhelming.

I was always moving too early!!

I was totally out of the pocket.

Since I was new to learning choreography, most of my focus was on trying to learn the moves.

I felt anxious about “getting it,” making me anticipate the choreography and hit everything prematurely.

This robbed the piece of its effect.

If you can’t figure out why your dancing just doesn’t seem to look as cool as others’, ask yourself, “am I too early or late?”

And if you're really not sure, take an online dance class on STEEZY Studio and use the See Yourself feature –– this allows you to turn on your webcam and dance beside the instructor so you can easily see if your movements match up with theirs!

What Does The Music Look Like?

What makes being “early” or "late" look not-so-great is that you’re not matching the TIMING of the sounds you’re hitting.

So even if a move is right or clean, you’re not actually hitting it when it needs to be hit.

It’s like a poorly dubbed anime. You’re seeing a character’s lips move half a second before they actually speak. (Ugh, hate that.)

How do you match the timing of your moves with the timing of the music?

It may sound too simple, but...


You have to understand something before you execute it.

Get to know each and every sound you’re dancing to so that you can wear it on your body.

Wanna learn more about musicality and sounds? Click here to take a musicality class on STEEZY with Jessie & Clay!

No Interruptions!

Here’s a visual representation of what it means to be in the pocket:

how to dance in the pocket

When you’re early for a move, you’re cutting off the previous move.

Instead, wait till the very very last second to switch from one move to the next, so you can fully execute each more in its entirety.

Don’t interrupt it by prepping for the next move. It should transition the way the sounds in the song transition.

Point is, try to give each move its own “pocket” of time.

Don’t “Do” The Piece, DANCE It!

When we get too mathematical about the choreography, we forget that we’re meant to dance to music.

Yes, not being too concerned about the moves comes with having good pickup…

But once you have the moves down, don’t stop there.

Let your body feeeeel the sounds you’re dancing to. The intention behind the song. The textures and dynamics.

Once you let yourself loosen up a bit, you can really be able to dance it with the right timing.

You can fixate less on the choreography and more on wearing the music on your body instead.

Ready to go pocket up?? Use these pointers to be right on time for all your moves!

Got any tips on dancing “in the pocket”? Comment below and share with us!

Still need a little help with moving right on the beat? The first day of our 10-day "Intro to Dance" program is filled with rhythm exercises to help you detect beats and sounds. Take the class for free by clicking here!