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HOW TO FREESTYLE
January, 2018   |    BY ARNEL BAGYARATNAM

Whenever anyone sees a dancer feeling the music and dancing, it's a lot more entertaining to watch. The movements look natural as the dancer is expressing how they are interpreting the music they hear through movement. It's about being spontaneous and using what you have to its maximum potential. Freestyling captures the true essence of dancing because you are having fun and moving to the music without a thought in your head. It's liberating to the soul because the emotions felt through the music is pure.

Be it a circle or in a jam, dancers find it hard to freestyle if they aren't used to it. It can be scary to the uninitiated as there is nothing to fall back upon if you get stuck. Moreover, you are at the mercy of the song, as it dictates your movement.

So how do you freestyle? Is it easy? What do you do to freestyle? These are the common questions in the mind of every dancer who wants to freestyle. Like every dance form, it takes countless hours of practice for it to be effortless and easy. Don't worry if you are finding it hard because here are a few tips on how to start freestyling.

Get comfortable with your body

When you see professionals dance, they make tough moves look easy. There isn't any mistake in their posture. Their movement is fluid. Ever wondered why it is so? It is because their body and mind are aligned. A lot of dancers are trying to learn hard moves as fast as possible, forgetting to master their body first.

Being aware of your body and its constrictions will help you have a better understanding of the moves you are trying to learn. The moves will feel more natural and easier to control because your reflexes improve considerably. There are exercises available online which can help you get on the right track, which will improve your dancing.

Learn multiple styles of dancing

Don't restrict yourself when trying to learn to freestyle. Increasing your dance vocabulary is fundamental to the growth of a dancer as well as freestyling. When you are freestyling, you can run out of moves easily as you depend on your feelings and emotions rather than choreography. When you aren't aware of what you are going to do next, the tendency to do the same step repeatedly is high.

One way to work around this is to learn from different styles of dancing. You need to pay attention while doing so. Observe the way dancers of a particular style move. Their groove will be different from other forms of dancing. Doing so will give you more material to work with, which can help you to freestyle.

Foundation is the key to creativity

Whichever dance form you are learning, make it a point to learn it thoroughly, all the way from the posture of the body to the tiniest details such as placement of the hand. You need to have a good foundation to flow between your moves. Having a good foundation will help your techniques, groove, and style.

Explore through random movement

After you have mastered a move, try to experiment with the move to come up with new steps. Here are a few tips to get your creative juices going:

  • Do it in different directions
  • Change the tempo
  • Reverse the order of the steps
  • Play with levels (do it standing, crouching, on your back)
  • Try traveling with the move
  • Find 5 different ways to get in and out of the same move

Go crazy and think out of the box! What you do while freestyling is determined by how you practice your moves and how much you play with it.

Use concepts

Thinking of concepts in your head and then trying to replicate it through movement is an alternate way to freestyle. Try telling a story through your dance or think of an idea/scenario and try to depict that idea/scenario through movement. For starters, imagine ants are crawling up your skin, and you need to remove them every 5 seconds. Perhaps you could speed up your dance for 2 seconds and then go back to normal pace.

Listen to all kinds of music

Freestyling depends on the music you hear. At a jam, you will never know what the DJ is going to play next. Moreover, you also need to be familiar with all types of songs to freestyle to them. Listen to all kinds of music. You will understand the rhythm of different genres of songs, allowing you to groove to anything the DJ chooses to play.

Cypher

Having a session with other dancers is one of the greatest tools a dancer has access to, in learning how to freestyle. After practicing for countless hours, you would want to see where your improvisational skills stand. You will find out what part of your dance needs refining and you will pick up new skills which can increase your dance vocabulary.

Following these tips will help you freestyle confidently. One thing to keep in mind is that you shouldn't feel embarrassed by what you do, rather have fun with it. It will help you explore the world of dance and make your moves creative and dynamic.


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