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What is Freestyle in Dance?

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By Sorina Fant / Edited by Samantha Bellerose, B.Ed, Dip.Dance (Performing Arts)

Freestyle dancing is complete improvisation of movement by the dancer. Dancers do not plan or choreograph their motions beforehand and there is not a rehearsal of the routine. All movements are decided intuitively and in the moment, creating an original dance experience. 

Freestyle is an inventive, creative dance style. It is unique and an artistic form of self-expression and dance that allows a dancer to react to their feelings and the tone of the music in an organic way. 

While individual dance moves can be practiced beforehand, or years of dance training can help develop a dancer’s ability within a specific genre, freestyle dancing allows dancers to utilize their combined knowledge of dance genres to create a unique series of movements in a routine. 

An experienced hip hop dancer, who is given the chance to freestyle, will utilize many of their favorite hip hop movements into their freestyle routine. So while there is no immediate rehearsal of the movements, that dancer is recalling previous choreography. Many times this leads to the dancer creating totally new choreography and movement

Freestyle dancing can also just be a family or group of friends enjoying themselves at a wedding while dancing to their favorite song and moving their bodies to the music. 

Freestyle dancing is not generally a class that is scheduled at a dance studio but it is often taught within other lessons. , Teachers may give dancers the chance to freestyle and practice the style of dance they are teaching in that class. They may give their dancers the opportunity to jam or freestyle to a whole song, or ask them to improvise to the beginning riffs before the choreography they have taught begins.

Although it is a style of dance that is highly ingrained into pop culture, not all dancers can freestyle well. Talented freestyle dancers often showcase their skills throughout the media including television commercials, music videos, and in movies.

This page is just one of hundreds of definitions of the many styles and genres of dance. This library is being continually added to by the writers and contributors of Dance Parent 101!