How to dance freestyle hip hop
How To Freestyle Dance | STEEZY Blog
So we've talked about how to learn and execute choreography. Freestyling is another integral part of learning how to dance.
Freestyle dancing makes you more comfortable in your own body, gives you the opportunity to explore new ideas for movement, and lets you let go and have fun expressing yourself!
This guide will teach you how to freestyle dance, step-by-step.
(But remember, the important part is that you get up and do it yourself!)
What Is Freestyle Dancing?
Freestyle dancing is improvisation. It’s when you do moves on the spot that weren't choreographed ahead of time. You probably freestyle all the time already!
You don't have to be in a battle or cypher; full-out performing while you do Karaoke or dancing with a girl at the club (ayy) are versions of freestyling!
So don't take it so seriously, especially when you're just starting to learn how to freestyle.
It's about building an algorithm in your body that understands basics of movement, and combining that with your natural groove, style, and spontaneity in the moment.
That said, the first step of freestyle dancing is to...
1. Understand the music
When you freestyle, you're not following a set of moves that was made for that specific song. So, you gotta be able to catch onto the song quickly.
First, bob your head to the rhythm/tempo of the song. Get your body to find that groove, which will set a sort of pace for your freestyle.
Then, listen to the melody – this is the layer of the song that you “sing.” (*It doesn’t necessarily have to be lyrics).
The melody helps you with the mood of your freestyle. Dancing to this layer is a great way to switch up your freestyle from hitting the 1s and 2s in the song
Notice other patterns in the music that you can emphasize.
For example, is there a bass beat every even count? A snare at the end of every 8-count?
You can take mental note of these so you can later do something to “hit” that sound.
Basically, actively listen to the music, taking in each sound and the feeling.
Brush up on musicality here: How To Train Your Musicality As A Dancer
2. Train your fundamentals
Fundamental, or foundational styles, are the bread and butter of freestyle.
These dances emerged in clubs or 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 period of time influences how people think, feel, and dance.)
Over time, the techniques, grooves, and combos from these styles became the building blocks for a lot of the choreography we see today.
These styles include but are not limited to: Popping, Locking, Hip Hop (Party Dancin'), Breaking, House, Waacking, Krump, and more!
Those examples are Hip Hop, Street / Funk Styles, but "fundamentals" or "foundation" can also refer to any sort of building block for movement.
Studio styles like Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Contemporary, are also great dance styles that set the blueprint for your freestyle.
If you need a place to start, then take the Beginner Program on STEEZY Studio where Carlo Darang (Choreo Cookies, Building Block) teaches the very basics of movement (a great place to start for any style).
You can also learn Popping through Boogie Frantick's Beginner Popping Program,
Or House with Jojo Diggs in her Beginner House Program.
Here are some free drills that you can do – but remember, you have to first learn the technique in the class, so that you practice the right way!
3. Groove it out
Most dance styles have a foundational groove. It's key to have that when you're drilling techniques and moves.
But let's talk about "groove" in a different sense – Hip Hop grooves! SO much of the Urban Choreography we see and do today came from these base movements.
You can learn them in Bianca’s Grooves classes on STEEZY Studio. No choreography, just straight groovin'.
4. Play with dynamics and textures
Nothing’s wrong with doing a little 2-step, but if you want your freestyle to be more dynamic, then experiment with different variations of your movement.
Dynamics refer to how you do a move, not the move itself. For example, you can do the same arm wave in an infinite amount of different ways.
Fast and strong? Or initiate from the shoulder? Milk and then hit at the end?
At STEEZY, we call these the “fast and slows, highs and lows.”
Mixing up different speeds, levels of power, placements, and other factors can transform your dancing from flat to fascinating.
Get execution ideas: What Are Textures In Dancing?
5. Play with combinations of moves
We all have our “default” moves. It’s what our body naturally wants to do to certain sounds. Do you find yourself repeating certain movements?
But you can make that move look more complex and interesting by fusing it with other movements.
For example, you got your basic two-step – Right, tap. Left, tap.
Now… Add arms! Maybe... a head tilt! Try a lean into your step! Groundbreaking.
Now your basic two-step is a whole new move! Experiment with different body parts to add more flavor to your base moves.
You never know what unique pictures or grooves you’ll come up with!
6. Use concepts to come up with moves
When you freestyle, you might keep reverting to the same "default" moves your body is used to.
If you find yourself doing this, try telling a story or depicting a concept with your freestyle. It will force you to think outside your own box.
This video explains how you can use “concept-based freestyling” to create new pictures and shapes and pathways.
7. Practice wherever, whenever!
The best part of FREEstyling... is that it’s FREE. Get it?? Eh?? Ok seriously. You don’t have to pay for a class or go anywhere fancy.
You can freestyle in your garage, your room, your car…
Get a group of your friends together and session… hiT DA CLUB and let your freak flag fly.
So do it anytime, all the time! And watch yourself grow more comfortable and creative freestyle dancing.
If you need an extra dose of confidence to get you going, then just watch this video!
In Section 8, we'll talk about how to keep your body in tip-top shape for dancing.
5 Tips To Start Your Freestyle Dance Foundation
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!Freestyle dance tip #1: Just move!
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.Freestyle dance tip #2: Train in 1 or 2 styles
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.Freestyle dance tip #3:
Stimulate your creativity
“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:Freestyle dance tip #4:Take a lot of dance classes
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 AreaFreestyle dance tip #5: Session and go to jams
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!
teaching basic movements and features of dance
Hip-hop, like any other dance direction, is best studied at a professional school. After all, only a qualified teacher will find an individual approach to a new student and teach the necessary movements. But if this is not possible, or if you want to come to class prepared, you can try to master the direction of hip-hop at home. How to dance the first movements, now we will tell.
Like any dance, hip-hop training includes getting acquainted not only with the basic movements of the style, but also with a certain philosophy. And in this direction it is special. Hip-hop came to us in the second half of the last century from the most disadvantaged areas of New York and Los Angeles. Tired of injustice, aggression and blood, teenagers, who mostly did not have the cleanest reputation, invented their own special way to resolve conflicts - with the help of dance battles and rap parties. Hip-hop is a free dance, a challenge to society and a protest against any inequality. That is why the main thing in this style is not at all the clarity of the learned movements, but the sense of rhythm, improvisation and expression of the individuality of the performer.
Getting Started: Preparation and Basic Movements
Before learning hip-hop for beginners, you should make sure that you feel comfortable doing it. According to experienced dancers, three things will help you relax and start learning:
- Appropriate environment: flat floor, spacious room, full-length mirror.
- Loose clothing and comfortable shoes. Nothing should hinder movement.
- Hip-hop rhythmic music.
A little ritual will help you tune yourself into the wave of hip-hop: stand with your legs apart, put your hands down and close your eyes. Listen carefully to the sound of the music and try to learn to hear the beat. Rock to the beat. And now you have already mastered the first movement. Congratulations! It's time to move on to more complex elements.
The basic movements of hip-hop are swing and step. You are already familiar with the first one. Now try to put your right foot to the side and stretch your right hand up. Bend your right leg, transferring your body weight to it, and lower your arm to shoulder level. Turn the body to the left, bend the left leg, and put the right leg on the toe. Now lower your right knee, arch your back and reach your hands to the floor. When you manage to complete this combination, consider yourself a good start in hip-hop.
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Here are some more basic hip-hop moves for beginners:
- Starting position - standing, feet shoulder-width apart, and arms along the body. We squeeze the brushes into a fist and alternately bring forward one hand, then the other. Then we connect the legs bent at the knee: left hand - right leg, right leg - left hand.
- Starting position - standing. We jump in place and cross our legs, and bend our arms as if we were rowing.
- Starting position - standing, feet slightly wider than shoulders. We put the right leg a little back, bend the legs at the knees, which at the same time look straight. With the right hand we cover the face, with the left, folded into a fist, we put it in the region of the heart. Then at the same time we tilt our head to the right and unclench the left hand, and after that we turn the right knee and right hand to the right.
- Starting position - standing, feet firmly pressed to the floor, knees slightly bent. We put the spread fingers of the right hand on the chest, keep the elbow parallel to the floor. We bend in an arc, as if we received a blow right in the heart. Then we make two turns in different directions, straighten our back and return to the starting position. The hand at this time falls from the heart to the waist. At the end, we throw the pelvis forward again, round the back and tighten the buttocks.
You can achieve the first results quite quickly. But when you start to study closely how to dance hip hop, you will soon notice that there are no clear movements and rules in this direction. Having mastered a few basic elements, the dancers begin to improvise, create their own combinations and dance as creative fantasy suggests.
How to continue: choosing a style
If you have mastered the first movements of hip-hop from videos and photos on the Internet, it's time to choose the direction in which you will develop further. Hip-hop culture is a wide range of dance styles that differ from each other both in elements and in general mood. The main ones are:
- Breakdance is still popular basic style of hip-hop, on which the direction originated.
- Popping - rhythmic contraction of various muscle groups to the music so that it looks like jolts on the performer's body;
- Wave - smooth and plastic movements of the body, the most famous of which is the wave with hands;
- Afro-jazz - shaking mainly the lower and most prominent part of the body in women;
- Crump - energetic shaking of various limbs to the music so that it seems as if someone has moved into the dancer;
- New Style, also known as freestyle, is an improvisational dance that combines not only hip-hop movements, but also elements borrowed from more than a dozen other dance styles.
- La Style - Hip-hop, where the emphasis is on entertainment, so this style is used mainly in videos and when staging shows.
- Ragga jazz is a dance tuned to the music: the performer's legs work under the drums, and the hands become active during the recitative.
- Locking - an energetic dance with "locks" - freezing in different positions for a few seconds or periodically slowing down the movement.
- Power move is a spectacular style that includes complex acrobatic elements, handstands, various twists, and transitions.
- C-walk is a “language” dance with a criminal past that emphasizes intense and very dynamic footwork.
Women's and men's hip-hop
The next step in how to learn hip-hop without leaving home is to bring a little femininity or, conversely, brutality into your existing skills - depending on your gender accessories. The thing is that female and male hip-hop are somewhat different from each other, and, therefore, representatives of the beautiful and strong half are trained in this direction in different ways.
Hip-hop dancing for beginner girls is based on plasticity, flexibility and unobtrusive sexuality. Girls wear baggy sweatpants and hoodies on a par with men, perform sweeping movements, but their execution looks different: hips, legs and shoulders are more involved, the elements are a little smoother and sexier.
Male hip-hop, on the contrary, is more daring, energetic and sometimes even aggressive. The focus is on the work of the arms and body, acrobatic elements and movements that require strength and male endurance.
If you prefer to learn this difficult direction from videos, it is better to initially choose hip hop training, where the movements will be performed by a dancer of your gender. Together with the right technique, you will be able to capture the gender characteristics of the choreographic elements.
A few more secrets
Learning to dance hip-hop at home, without classes with a professional teacher, is not easy, but real. Especially if you add training with a few more components. Here, as in learning a foreign language, only complete immersion in the culture will help. So, here are some tips from “experienced” hiphopers who have mastered a lot not under the guidance of a qualified mentor, but at home by the mirror:
- Videos with basic exercises will help you master some of the moves, but for additional skills, it is better to turn to online courses. Hip-hop lessons for beginners are regularly held online, often live.
- Hiphop parties and hangouts will help you melt into this culture and make new acquaintances. Yes, of course, everyone will laugh at your first dances, but no one drags you to the center of the circle. While you're learning, watch the pros dance, adopt a style, and memorize some moves to practice at home.
- Clear training regimen. Only with regular practice can you achieve results. In addition, our body is set to a certain schedule, and if you exercise at a certain time, it will prepare for stress. As experienced dancers note, the optimal duration of even home workouts is two hours. This is enough for warming up, and for the lesson itself, and for stretching after.
- Additional physical activities. If you are in the mood not just for basic hip-hop movements, but for serious hip-hop elements with tricks, strengthening the muscles of the whole body is indispensable. You will need strong arms, strong core muscles, and no extra weight. This can be achieved by exercising in the gym or additional weight training at home.
- Compliance with safety regulations. Be sure to dance in comfortable non-slip shoes and loose clothing. Do not start training without a proper warm-up, and when practicing acrobatic elements, lay something soft on the floor.
Video tutorials will be enough to learn how to dance hip-hop. But to become a real dancer, you need to study the subculture from the inside. It is believed that a hiphoper has achieved true mastery when he is in perfect control of his body, does not “slow down” on the dance floor, knows how to improvise and select universal movements for any music. Hip-hop dance lends itself only to the very persistent and disciplined, those who are able to understand and accept its "philosophy of freedom".
Do not forget that there are many professionals around who are ready to help you take your first steps in hip-hop or improve the skills you learned at home. Qualified teachers of the La Boca dance club will find an individual approach to you, work out with you the technique of performing movements and even acrobatic elements. You don't have to go far: "La Boca" is located in the very center of St. Petersburg - on "Petrogradka"
Video: basic hip-hop movements
Basic elements in Hip-Hop (practice)
Exemplary team Dance and sports club AJAX #RedPAntherscrew
Basic elements in Hip-Hop style
Learning the basics. 16 initial movements
Each dance is based on the basic elements on which it is built. The same applies to Hip-Hop
After the student has caught the approximate nature of the movements and understood what he is moving and how, we begin to acquaint him with the base.
Important. The second and third stages take place simultaneously.
We take 2-3 new movements at each lesson. We disassemble. Adding hands.
At the end - freestyle, to fix all the material.
In this way, we repeat and consolidate the old material and impose new material on it, which allows the student to accumulate knowledge, and not learn new things every time and forget. Every student must know the basics.
Here are 16 basic moves and their variations on the basis of which you can make a combination:
1.Steve Martin 2.Running man 3.Kick 4.Roger Rabbit 5.Alf (March Step) 6.Kriss Kross 7.ShamRock 8.PartyDuke 9.Monestery 10.Bart Simpson 11.Bobby Brown
12.Happy Feet 13.Sponge Bob 14.PartyMachine 15. Atl Stomp 16. Reebok
Hip Hop Basics
Old school (1979 – 1990) Hip Hop Basics old school
- Basic Bounce Combo
- Two step [Tu step] - two steps or step, prefix. The simplest movement found in many hip-hop dances. "One" - a step towards the launch vehicle. "Two" - the second leg is substituted for the PH. The movement is repeated on the other leg. Step stand to the side, forward, diagonally, loop back.
- Step slide, slide step , Glide , Circle Glide / Turn Glide
- March step 90.125 Combination with kick - kick - raise the knee - stand with a body turn. Mandatory accented pumping. We raise the knee and rebound back, without swinging, lifting the leg from the calf muscle.
- Criss cross step on the rise with a jump, cross - initial, add lower back on the sides, knees bent. Add diaphragm and uncomplicated hands. Do not strain your neck and back!
- Criss Cross Variations
- Humpty Dance Humpty Dance. In this dance, the “Kach” of the pelvic girdle becomes the main one. The dance is performed in the second wide position and the knees must always be bent. Starting position II free position of the legs. "And Raz" - Chris Cross. "I" - the pelvic part of the legs is retracted slightly back. "Two" - So with an accent moves forward. "And Three", "And Four" - "And Two" is repeated. You can add hands, as in the video below, or come up with something of your own.
- Kick it drink it. Kick [Kik] is one of the most common movements in modern dance. A simple kick in the air. When performing, you must remember about the Groove (Kach). Starting position: I parallel position of the legs. "And" - kick [kick] or kick with the right foot forward. The movement is similar to kicking a soccer ball. The body makes a “pitch” forward. "One" - the right leg returns to its original position. The left leg swings back. The body leans back slightly. "And" - the left foot makes a kick [kick] forward. "Kach" forward. "Two" - similar to the movement to "One", only from the opposite leg. On the next beat, the movement is repeated. Kick, Kick + Back jump
- Kick and slide kick and slide. A kick is made with one foot, and then a slide is made with the other.
- Kick & Step - Kick Cross Step
- Kick ball change On I swing, for once swing up, on I swing, 2 steps back and kip up. Hands work in opposition. Back and to the side, back with a twist in the hips, forward, back with a turn and to the side, forward and forward crosswise . Kick out - leg bent to the side, kick, change of leg to the side.
- Party Duke + variations - leg abduction to the side.
- Cabbage patch The name comes from the Cabbage Patch Kids, a toy popular in the 80s and 90s. Usually performed comically. Often accompanied by funny "grimaces". The starting position is free. Hands move in a plane parallel to the floor. Starting from the chest describe a circle. During performance, the shoulders rise. Any steps can be used in the legs.
- Smurf [Smurf] - movement named after cartoon characters. The knees do a swing with an emphasis down, the body and head with an emphasis forward. Hands in turn move forward, as in swimming. Starting position - free. "One" - one hand begins to "float" forward in a small arc. In the legs, body and head, "kach" begins.
- Prep (Pretty Boys)
- The wop
- Reebok - swing up with shoulder and arm jumping. : Reverse, With touch. Raise the knees, when descending, the weight of the body between the legs, the hands “pump the pump”
- Reject Step
- Shamrock - step to the side out, back, bouncing legs together, landing. Option back. Option 2
- Steve Martin - forward - backward swing, extension of the bent leg back, knee forward, change, remove the error when turning with the knee to the body back.