By Tim Wee
March 18, 2014
A group of hooded figures step forth from the darken shadows and into the spotlight. Sporting caps and beanies, the individuals were largely plugged into their earphones. Sashaying their dexterous feet, they prepare to lock horns in an arena of wit. Preparing for the physical and mental battle ahead, the bunch of contestants look up as the announcer stepped onto the stage. Looking like a scene from Fight Club, they stand ready to unleash their brand of dance to the world. Welcome to the dance underground. Welcome to freestyling.
Welcome to dance underground. Welcome to Freestyle Fight Club!
Photo sourced from worldofdance.com
Freestyle dance, in general, can be described as a style of free form physical dance. Evolving outside of dance studios, freestyle dance is largely not choreographed. With no two performances ever the same, it is an art form that encourages improvisation.
Perfect for fostering self-expression, freestyle dance can take place using a wide range of musical genres. While most dancers stick exclusively to one dance genre, freestylers are allowed to switch between numerous dance styles in one performance. Utilising various improvisational techniques, freestylers incorporates numerous dance styles from jazz, belly dance, hip hop, blues, break dance, jumpstyle, folk and electronic dance. Hence, it gives the individual more options to express themselves.
Freestylers' Paradise at SAFRA Dance Fiesta '14!
With no hard and fast rules, freestylers are granted a peace of mind to fully focus on their physical interpretation of the music. Using their body as a paintbrush, freestyle dancers produce a unique performance based entirely on their mood, experience, preference and body.
‘feeling’ the music!
Though freestyle has been around for thousands of years, it is not possible to trace it down to a specific origin. Commonly associated with the 1970s’ hip hop movement, freestyle dancing is constantly evolving and what’s considered commonplace today might not have been in the past.
As a dance discipline with both solo and team categories, freestyling can take place in a formal or informal setting. In a formal setting, freestyle dance can take place in any area large enough to accommodate a performance. It is not unheard of to see freestylers gathered around the neighbourhood playground and flaunting their flamboyant moves.
Freestyling anyplace, anytime!
Photo sourced from artgraff.livejournal.com
However in a formalised setting, like say a competition, the focus is on the dancer’s creativity and precision of the executed dance moves. Performers are also encouraged to go wild with their outfits to leave their mark on the judges.
Dancing itself is an excellent workout. Freestyling just adds in the fun element as a fun filled workout for anyone and everyone who just want to move to the beat. It gets your heart pumping (good cardio!) which helps in improving dexterity and stamina. Also don't forget the perks of freestyling, example building your social circle, developing self-esteem and confidence with your dance routines, and most importantly since you express however way you want to....NO EXTRA EXPENDITURE for dance classes!
So, you think you can freestyle? Here are some quick tips to get you started!
How to Get Your Freestyling Start
1. Get Comfy
You are going to be dancing up a storm, so comfort should be of the utmost importance.
Wear loose fitting attire such as a singlet or t-shirt and match it with a pair of shorts or track pants. Remember, flexible is key when it comes to freestyling!
2. Play that Funky Music
“Without the music, there’ll be no dance. Without the dance, there’ll be no music...The music and your dance, it comes together. It comes in a pair. You cannot separate them”- Alif Aircho, SAFRA Dance Fiesta’14 Freestyle Battleground Champion
Once you are all decked out in your dancing gear, you will need to select a song that you can move to. We suggest that you should pick one of your favourite song and let your personality shine through. Perhaps our Dance Fiesta’14 Freestyle Champion, Moh Alif aka Alif Aircho sums it up best “You have to enjoy the music. And what comes, you just bring it out”.
3. Move like Jagger
This is it, time to stop dragging those nimble feet and let your entire body feel the music! Start slowly by making small dancing movements before spreading it to your entire body. Try and do what comes naturally to you.
Don’t worry about your coordination, just focus on getting comfortable with dancing. Your routine will only get more refine and precise with practice.
4. The Song Remains the Same
Ok this might seem like a given, but we are just going to remind you anyway. Familiarise yourself with your dance song. Blast it in the house, blast it in the car and blast it on the go. Don’t be afraid to shimmy a little as you memorise every little musical detail.
5. Start Small, Dream Big
You have to realise that you are not going to choreograph an elaborate routine at a snap of a finger, so take it easy with something simple. Go with one to four simple moves of your own and expand it accordingly with the musical beat.
Use your body fully and create big transitions with your hands or hips as the song heats up.
6. Inspiration is the Best Form of Flattery
If you are still stumped on how to formulate your routine, why not hop on to Youtube and watch some dance videos for inspiration. Alternatively, you can look to our very own local freestyle titan such as SAFRA’s freestyle champion, Alif Aircho!
However, bear in mind that the idea is not to imitate but rather innovate something that is uniquely yours! In the words of our freestyle maestro Alif Aircho, “The most important quality for freestyle is definitely you have to be yourself”.
7. Fun under the Sun
“...You must remember to have fun. Once you have fun, your body will flow with the music”- Alif Aircho, SAFRA Dance Fiesta’14 Freestyle Battleground Champion
Lastly but not least, remember to have fun! Make it a point to loosen up and connect with the music and crowd. Wear your confidence proudly and it will be translated to your performance.
Don’t forget to catch the SAFRA Dance Fiesta’ 14 Grand Finals this Saturday, 22 Mar!
Head down to Bugis+ Mall’s Atrium at 1pm to catch our Solo and Team contestants in action!
Click here to learn more now.