A massive thank you to some of our judges who got involved in providing their feedback so that we can bring you some ‘Top Tips’ for freestyle solo dance events at our competitions!
These sections at our competitions are where dancers perform at their own ability level with dancers their own age. Music is played by the DJ at random and the judges select dancers from preliminary rounds to make the final round (usually top 6 dancers of the event) where the judges then place the finalists.
A common question we are asked: ‘What are the judges looking for?’
We have some collective feedback, which is so valuable, from the wonderful Ess Green, Lady Venus, Jeffrey Felicisimo, Laura- Anne Gill & Andre Oporia.
“What if I don’t know the song that is played?!” or “What if I go blank, can’t move and look silly in front of everyone?!” are just some of the things we know cross every dancers’ mind as they prepare for freestyle events.
Fear not! We are here to help! You will find some great tips below which we hope will help prepare you for THAT MOMENT! Here we go…
- Make sure you’re in a space. Don’t rush to get to centre front. The judges will watch everyone but it’s hard to see dancers when they’re all bunched together.
- Judges love to see personality and performance to make your dancing interesting and fun to watch. However, try not to sing when you’re competing in this style.
- When you are getting ready to dance at a competition (or in practice), wait for the music to start and listen for the beat. Please don’t begin counting or moving until you hear the music clearly. Take your time and listen before you start.
- Musicality wins over content! Don’t just do the moves you rehearsed regardless of what tracks come on during your event. Try not to show off 10 different styles in a few counts because you practised them. Quality over quantity.
- Possibly the most important tip of all which ties into the above points. A dancer staying on the beat with simple moves would usually win over a dancer with complex moves who is dancing off time. Faster is not better.
- Freestyle or rehearsed routine? Try to get to a point where you can freestyle. It’s always useful to have sections prepared but you won’t know until the music plays if it will work. Yes, ‘freestyling’ can be scarier, but you will become more creative by learning how to freestyle so have a go! If you go blank, relax, breathe and go back to basic grooves.
- Foundation styles of Street Dance are key! Try and study the styles properly and understand the techniques to advance your skill set. Hip Hop, Locking, Popping, Breaking & House are just some of the styles you could look at.
- Practise to different styles of music for your freestyle solo. Try to identify what styles would work to each piece.
- Sometimes songs can have an intro where there isn’t always a beat. Take your time and wait for the beat to kick in before you start. Judges can tell that you aren’t listening when you start dancing straight away. Likewise, there can be middle sections of a song without a beat, listen out and smooth it out!
- Work on your understanding of music as well as your understanding of dance (look at patterns, accents, lyrics) and how you can match your moves well to the music details.
- Try not to look down when performing!
- Make sure your outfit is appropriate for this style of dance.
- Think about energy, execution and levels when you perform.
- Finally, remember to enjoy it! Everyone is on a different journey at competitions. Whether it’s your 1st competition or your 50th, the judges know everyone is at a different stage. You won’t always get the results you wanted but you must enjoy it! When you do get the results you want, don’t stop, keep learning and stay hungry to understand more.
Did any of these come as a surprise? If you aren’t sure where to start, choose 1 or 2 to take on board first and then think about the others over time. We hope it helps to build more confidence for this section of our competitions! 🙂