Street Dance Duos is one of the most popular sections of our events at On the Beat! Dancing with a partner goes way back, well before Street Dancing was a thing. This blog aims to give you some hints and tips for competing in Duos at Street Dance competitions.
Taking the idea ‘pas de deux’, meaning ‘step for two’ in French, from classical dance, duos has now developed into being a staple at Street Dance competitions. Increasing in popularity in recent years thanks to major events like Juste Debout, where duos take place in a battle format. Most Street Dance competitions in the UK have embraced the duos format however in contrast to the battle format you will find that rather than just two duos on the floor, there are lots of duos performing simultaneously in both age and ability heats.
There’s definitely something fun about the teamwork of dancing and competing with someone else. It is always great to see the duo routine come together on the day of the competition, whether it’s thrown together on the day or worked on in a regular lesson/ rehearsal. Duos are a fabulous way to showcase choreography and we love watching the different routines that dancers and teachers create for our events. It’s this that makes the duos category one of our favorites, meaning you will find a duos section at every single one of our events!
How do our duos sections work?
The duos sections you see at our competitions are typically split into age categories, with all dancers in the same age category on the floor at once (or in a number of heats if there are a lot of entries). The DJ selects the music and the duos count in to start their routine, our judges then mark the rounds with successful duos being recalled, culminating in a final (usually top 6) to then compete for their final placing.
What level are there in the duos section?
Our events have 3 levels for duos; Beginner, Intermediate & Advanced. In our Advanced category, duos making the final also get the opportunity to showcase their routine as they ‘dance on’ to the floor. A dance on is where the judges watch around 12 bars (12 x 4 counts) of each duos finalist. This is often different choreo to their main routine and a great opportunity to show the judges what they can do with the floor to themselves!
What makes a winning Duo?
But what makes a winning duo piece? What are the most important things to consider in practice?
With the help of our judges and team, we have pulled together 10 top tips to help dancers and teachers in their choreography and training for the duos section.
- Positions- Consider a range of positions. Side by side, back to back, in line. Keep it interesting and mix it up. At a higher level, it’s great to see the positions frequently changing.
- Choreography- This could be the same, you could use opposition or mirror image to add some variety. Other effects like cannons can also work well and be effective if executed well. Try to dance any transitions rather than walk them.
- Execution- Drill it and clean it. The more in sync you are with your partner, the better. And try to execute the choreo the same as your partner so that you look as similar as possible.
- Tempo. Typically duo music is slightly faster in speed. Prepare for this. Usually between 120-140bpm. Our playlist is here if you need some ideas!
- Connection- It’s always great to see duos that have a connection with each other whilst dancing and look like they’re having fun. Give the piece a spark- Smile at your partner and enjoy it!
- Phrasing of music – Our Dj selects the music, and dancers won’t know which song will be played until they hear the first beat. Typically, music will have a regular 4 count rhythm. A lot of music phrases every 8 bars so you should consider this when buildings sections of choreo.
- Performance- Eyes up, head up, appropriate facials always make it better to watch.
- Content- What moves should be in there? Foundation styles are always good. Commercial style choreo too also great as long as it’s age appropriate.
- Length- How long should the piece be? We get asked this a lot. It is common for duos to have a short piece which repeats such as 16 bars (16 x 4 counts). At a higher level, maybe a little longer is better however, again, always quality over quantity. The music is typically played for 60-80 seconds so you could fit almost 50 bars in this time.
- Timing- Super important… It could be the best set on the floor but unless it’s in time to the track, it’s no good. Find the regular beat and use it to stay in time.
And don’t forget…
Matching outfits always look great! Twinning is winning and all that…