Tips & Guides / Performance

Tips and Techniques - Performance

by Pakwan Kenobi

I'm not NorCal's greatest freestyler, but here are three main ideas I kept in mind as I started to realize that there was more than just getting that SS.

(1) Relax.

Unless your routine requires you to act robotic and stiff (AM-3P?) or in a nervous manner (PARANOiA?), relax your body. When you are relaxed, your movements appears that much more fluid and natural. Also, relax your mind. Don't worry if people are watching. Don't worry if there are hecklers screaming out, "Man, this game is gay!"

(2) Move your arms.

Think about it. Your lower body is movin' and groovin', but your arms hang limply by your sides. You'll end up looking like an ape at the zoo. Move your arms with your motion, and with the music. You don't have to flail wildly like a kid who didn't get the Pokemon card he wanted after buying 6 boxes of cards, but you also don't want to look like an ape.

(3) Move your upper body.

Just an extension of (2). Again, nothing too demanding, but just shoulders, head motions, whatever. Remember, it's all about moving to the music.

After I had these down, I noticed some other things about other freestylers:

- Don't worry so much about score. True, you have to pass the song, but getting a C is no big deal if your freestyle looks good.

- Keep your back straight while standing up and dancing. That is, of course, unless you're doing a routine as Quasimodo.

- Look at the people watching, not the screen, and not the arrows. Again, the arrows and the machine don't care if you freestyle, while the people who are watching are at least somewhat interested in what you're doing up on the machine. This doesn't mean you have to memorize a song completely, but it does require at least a decent level of familiarity with the song. Of course, memorizing a song and freestyling to it looks much much better.

- Don't use the bar as support! Holding the bar when executing a move or a series of steps looks like you're off balance.

- Don't just do a couple of moves during a song and then go through the rest of the song ape-style. Handslaps, spins, kneedrops, and slides look cool...but only when they fit with the flow of the rest of the dance. When freestyling, you want to freestyle throughout the entire song, or at least a good portion of it. Watch people doing Butterfly (ugh) for example. Beginners will be confused by the constant onslaught of arrows. People beginning to freestyle will do a spin on any R-D-L-U pattern, and then do nothing else during the song. People who really freestyle on this song do way more than just 2 or 3 spins.

Aside: these last 2 ideas are the main reasons why I don't like the A-team any more, and why I like the Brilliant Steppers more. At first, I thought, "Man that A-team rocks on Brilliant2U!" Then I realized, "Wait, these guys work on their choreography a lot, but don't bother to try their moves without the bar?" Also, some of the routines of the A-Team aren't really routines. It's just a lot of hopping around and then maybe one or two good moves, like that leg sweep on Luv to me.

The Brilliant Steppers on the other hand look like they're actually dancing. Consistent level of freestyling throughout the entire song, good choreography, no holding the bar. Go download their video for Get Up and Dance, for example, and you'll see what I mean.

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