How To Develop Your Unique Style As A Dancer


How To Develop Your Unique Style As A Dancer

Jessie Ma
January 23, 2024
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Do you have your own unique style as a dancer??? YES, YOU DO. Although you draw inspiration from dancers that you look up to, YOU still dance like... well, you. Whether you know it or not, your unique style as a dancer is just waiting to be discovered, developed, and shared with the world! Follow this guide to bring out that flavor that's just waiting to shine~

What kind of music do you like?

Dance comes from the music. Rather than trying to come up with some dance moves out of nowhere, start by listening to music you love. House? Gangster rap? Acoustic covers of Adele songs? Make a playlist of the songs that make you want to dance. Then, let them make you dance.

How would you move if you've never seen ANY dance moves before?

But even if you want to move organically, you've already seen too many videos of people dancing to almost every genre of music...And there are so many dancers that you look up to and want to emulate. Just for a bit though, try to forget those videos and those dancers. It's just you. Let go, and let your body react to the sounds. Many street styles were created exactly like this. People were at clubs and parties and just did the things their bodies felt like doing.

There were no rules, no mirrors, no trophies to win, no YouTube videos to copy. They just went to have fun, vibe out with each other, and let the music make the moves. Then later, they were like "Dang, that's pretty cool. Let's make it a thing." You, too, can make your own unique style as a dancer by first letting your body free.

Put some structure around it

It's not that you should ignore whatever training you've had so far. If anything, it's about building on top of your base of movement as you explore different pathways and pictures. Don't try to "look like Keone" or just do the footwork you've learned from House sessions, but use that knowledge and muscle memory to guide your movement. Continue refining those movements through training. Learn fundamental styles that you gravitate towards, whether it's Popping or House or Ballet or Ballroom. These drills can help shape your movement and give more direction in your freestyles, choreography, or execution. Think of your dancing as a coloring book. You color the shapes in with your own flavor, but having that outline helps define and polish your movements.

Come up with your own concoction

Did you know that Chris Martin started dancing as a b-boy? This explains why he loves incorporating floor work and how athletic his choreography is.

Did you know that Franklin Yu was/is a Popper? Hence his strong hits and isolations in his pieces.

Melvin Timtim's been training in Krump, which adds another layer of style to his choreography.

You can trace dancers' styles back to their different influences. They all have different different tastes, train under different people, and go through different experiences that make their style what it is. It's about using everything you have – the muscle memory your body developed from ballet training from when you were 5, choreography influence from the directors on your team, creative inspiration from those 2 am session in the parking lot...Take all of those ingredients to cook up your own unique style as a dancer!

Some choreographers' tips on developing your own unique style as a dancer

"Own what makes you, you"

Try not to confuse what you enjoy doing and how you naturally move with what looks "cool." I love the way Vinh Nguyen dances, but I don't move/choreograph like him (no one does, haha).But you can take influences from his movement and shape it to your own liking and comfort.I suggest freestyling and recording yourself to see how you move and also to have a better understanding of your body. No one can move exactly the way you do, but that's what makes you, you.

– David Lee

See Related Article: 3 Dance Tips From David Lee

"Take inventory of what inspires you"

When I think of my “style” I think of where I’ve been and where I’d like to go.I incorporate everything I’ve learned and combine that with experimentation and derivation from art to inspire me.

– Markus Pe Benito

See Related Article How To Make Your Moves Match Vocals With Markus Pe Benito

"Know yourself"

Know who you are and what you like! This is the very key, not only in dance, but life too!

– Charles Nguyen

See Related Article: 7 Exercises To Boost Your Popping Fundamentals With Charles Nguyen

"Stay a student"

First, find some sort of inspiration! Creating your own style doesn’t necessarily have to be crafted 100% on your own. Every idea starts somewhere.What I like to do is to take class from choreographers I feel would help me with my vision/style.For example, if I want to work on my footwork and somehow combine it with isolation, I’ll take Ray Basa's house class and then Anthony Lee's – two choreographers sharing their own individual knowledge/experience.You can find inspiration anywhere! Live in this world with an open mind, go out and explore. You'll find the puzzle pieces that make your own unique style as a dancer.

– Gina Hong

See Related Article: How To Dance Like A Bad B*tch With Gina Hong

Developing your unique style as a dancer is not an overnight process. Creative choreography and mind-blowing freestyles and eye-catching quality of movement is born from years and years of hard work. Luckily, that hard work is also a lot of fun! Put these tips to use and have fun exploring what makes you uniquely you. T

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