Dance Tips – Don’t forget to actually DANCE

Hinge! Check your feet. Are you in the ball of your foot? Where’s your angle? Dang, it’s hot in here. Are you bending your knees? What was the step before that? Oh yeah, don’t forget to have fun!

Anyone else relate to these thoughts rolling around their head for the entire dance class? There’s soooo many things to balance when taking a class. It can be so easy to solely focus on making sure you have the moves “right.” And don’t get us wrong; technique is important. However, these are dance classes. So if you’re moving like a robot, are you actually DANCING?? (With the exception of actually doing the Robot Dance lol.) 

We want you to have the freedom to feel through your movement and make it your own. That’s what makes dance so special! It’s an expression of YOU.

So here are a few tips to keep in mind to make sure you’re actually DANCING when taking a dance class. 

1. Get loose – Relax your shoulders and bend your knees. When we learn something new, people sometimes have a habit of tightening up and becoming stiff. If you feel that happening, I want you to take an intentional, deep breath in, and as you exhale, let your body sink down and relax. Or even shake it out!

2. Don’t over think it – As you take that breath, know it’s OK to make a mistake. Going back to #1, I think we tighten up as a way of having control over an uncertain situation. It’s time to let go of that need to control how you look, cause it very well could be hindering your growth as a dancer. It’s time to get out of your head, and see #3.

3. Own your swag – You don’t need to look like anyone else in the room. The way you naturally move and feel the music is beautiful. We’re just there to give you a little structure with technique, but you still have something special to bring to your dance… YOU! So never apologize for or question your swag.

Next time you take a dance class, we want you to ask yourself, “do I feel like I’m actually dancing or just copying the moves given to me without feeling it?” If you check in and realize you’re dancing like a zombie, it’s ok; there’s no need to be heard on yourself. Just follow these simple steps…

Take that deep breath, shake your body loose, tell yourself it’s ok to not be “perfect,” and own what you’ve got right now!

Do you have any other tips you use to make sure you’re dancing in a dance class? Let us know in the comments below!

Dance Tips – WTF is Musicality & Where is Musicality Central

If you have not noticed, we named our dance studio Musicality Central, but we have yet to explain why that is. We as dancers think that the application and understanding of musicality is one of the most beautiful things that exist when you dance. It is such a perfect marriage between movement and music that it makes you question which one came first, sort of like the chicken or the egg conundrum. 

This blog is the day we finally help completely understand why we value musicality enough to make it the central part of our existence as dancers. (See what I did there)

Research shows that all humans possess an innate connection to music, just as they do for language. All off us can perceive and enjoy music, even if we can’t carry a tune or if we consider ourselves “unmusical.” Well with that notion, when you combine music and movement, you get this beautiful visual that shapes the sound you are hearing. That is musicality. Movement that shapes the sound that an engineer or a musician created which is made of a symphony of instruments and signature moments that also creates a vibe that the body cannot resist but then highlights within a metronomical sequence. That’s what we aim for as dancers/choreographers. We listen for any little sound within a measure we can amplify with movement.

I know that was a bunch of poetic jargon, but here is what I simply meant. Any song you experience on the radio is made up of drums, snares, strings (like guitar, or bass guitar), horns, flutes, etc. and any sounds that we are familiar or unfamiliar with in our everyday life. Such as a car horn, screeching tires, sirens, a door shutting, a door opening… Basically you can make music out of any sound. Now in dance, the beauty happens when we either choreograph or improvise movement that represents what that sound looks like. Yes we become a visual instrument that delivers that engineers creativity that was meant to be experienced audibly.

It is one of the coolest things to witness in person or in a video because it shows mastery of listening and moving simultaneously in a way that paints that sound with specificity. Once you experience a song where someone nails the musicality maybe once or for the whole song, you literally never listen to the song the same way again. It changes your whole perspective and experience of a song you may have known your whole life or a song you are hearing for the first time. 
You will notice that it is called different things in different scenes. A freestyle dancer is said to experience ‘blackout’ when they are one with the music or displaying incredible musicality. A dancer executing choreography with timing, precision, clarity, and character is visually captivating/revered on stage. A KRUMP dancer is said to ‘BUCK’ when they are spiritual and one with music, self, and worship. 

OK… OK enough about what it is. How can you get better at it? Well here are some tips. 

You Deconstruct to Reconstruct:

  • Number 1: Listen to an instrumental to one of your favorite songs. Yes, that is without the lyrics. Lyrics have a tendency to distract you from the beautiful layers that are a huge component of why you like the song in the first place. You just didn’t know that because you got so accustomed to focusing on the lyrics not the music. 
  • Number 2: Find the timing of the drums, the claps, the snares, other odd sounds. Is that instrument on the 1 count, 2 count so on and so forth. Then choose one or two of those instruments/sounds and move to them specifically without dancing to the others. 
  • Number 3: Practice switching from one sound to the other. Making sure your interpretation of that sound is different from each other. For example, a bass sound differs visually to a snare sound. Work on that long enough, and you will already be an advanced student of musicality. 
  • Number 4: Listen to the song with lyrics over the instrumental and choose what you want to dance to musically, and if you are really listening, you will realize that artists use how they say words to mimic the sounds of the music. So that alone should blow your mind. Now you can choose to dance to the music or the lyrics or both. It’s all a buffet of sounds to choose from as long as you can articulate clearly what the sound looks or feels like. 

I’m glad we could finally have this conversation about musicality and how to get better at and use it to your advantage. We sincerely apologize that it took us this long to share this with you given our name and all, but all good things come to those who dance with us… I mean wait. Use these tips or exercises we mentioned above, and you will watch a video of yourself shaping sounds that you never noticed in your favorite song then utter the phrase… ‘Dang my Musicality is Dope.’ Cause it is and you know why.  You can take that to the bank or Musicality Central. Corny but I had to do it. 

Dance Tips – 4 Tools You Didn’t know you Needed to Learn Choreography

I had no idea how to learn choreography. As someone who naturally moved to music, I had no idea there was an organized way to learn dance. I remember struggling to remember the moves and transitions within a piece. It was like my brain wasn’t communicating with my body or I was uncoordinated AF. It was frustrating and discouraging. 

However, after years of battling with this frustration, I learned there are 4 tools that I was blatantly ignoring in the classroom that could have helped me learn more efficiently back then. As newbies to learning choreography, we are expected to know these tools exist when we walk into a class room. However, if you are new to learning choreographed movement or the classroom, then it could take you years to figure out these tools. Especially if we as teachers don’t find a way to share them with you. This blog is to share these tools with you in a different way, because we reiterate them in class with regularity, but sometimes it takes multiple different experiences before they actually make the impression that bring about change. 

Tool # 1 – Use the Mirror

The first tool that is somewhat the most obvious, when entering the classroom for dance, is the mirror in the front. If you are new at dancing, then learning through the mirror might be a foreign concept to you. I know it was for me. I learned by staring at the teachers back which is a very limited perspective to learn from. Or staring at their feet to see how they did a specific step. It might even be a little intimidating or difficult to watch yourself move in the mirror. Some of us may think we look foolish. However, the God’s honest truth is the faster you can fight the fear of not looking in the mirror is the moment you start becoming a better dancer. The mirror helps you to watch the instructor move so you can simultaneously correct your movement as they take you through the story of their choreography.  

Honestly I would try to look at the mirror when I first started and get confused with my rights and left. I didn’t even realize that the orientation of the image reflecting back through the mirror was already built for me to follow. I was adding my own interpretation of the image which was making my brain work too hard or backwards. Once I realized the image reflect my orientation in the classroom, starting on the right foot and/or arm made my confidence much stronger. Then learning became manageable.  

Tool # 2 – Sing/Rap Along

Tool number 2 started with the teacher’s choices within the music. It is one thing to understand music theory (counts of 8) but music theory sometimes doesn’t give you the whole story of the rhythm you need to follow. Yes a count of 8 tells where you are in the mathematical make up of the music, but an instructors sounds, emphasis on certain lyrics, expression of syllables, and intention behind a movement paints a clearer picture for you to understand the timing they chose to follow. So if you hear an instructor singing the song a certain way with lyrics in some parts, sounds in others, and beats throughout, then repeat it exactly how you hear it while you move. They are doing that to create a memory association with your body, your mind, and the rhythm of the music. So don’t think you are going to sound stupid. The faster you start rapping, singing or beat boxing with your movement, the more likely you are to help your body remember the movement. One important thing to remember is that if you are thinking through every move, you will be a second slower with every move which is not good for timing/rhythm. So train you mouth to hum, sing, or rap with the same intention as you are shaping your movement simultaneously. 

Tool # 3 – Change your physical perspective

Tool number 3 is to choose a different spots in the room so you can learn from different perspectives. The more perspectives you cover in the room, the clearer your be able to see the choreography. The one thing I know about being a mover or a human is that once we can clearly visualize or capture something clearly in our minds eye the faster we are at creating it in this reality. So if you have an image infront of you and you know what it looks like from all possible angles ,the more likely you are to instructor your body on how to recreate it. I know it might be awkward to ask another dancer if you can change spots with them, but try at least once or twice in class. 

Tool #4 – You

The last but most important tool is you. Simply put you have to move like you mean it. Most of the time, our movement suffers when we are learning dance, because we move on a cautious level because we are afraid of not being perfect. However, if you move with conviction according to what you are seeing in the real time while using the mirror, you are more likely to figure out what to adjust without sacrificing intention. As a dancer gets better over time, they realize that the number one thing they are supposed to do to speak loudly is move. Everything else comes after. Intentional movement creates feeling, and feeling creates expression, and expression creates a strong connection with yourself as well as your audience. 

Summary

With these 4 tools we guarantee that you will see improvements immediately. It may still take time to get comfortable with these tools, but if you keep trying and working hard at fighting what you did before you read this, then you will thank us later. I know that even now as am sharing these tools with you, I wish I was in your position when I was learning someone else’s choreography in the classroom as a new student. I honestly think I would be a better student now, and trust me, I am pretty good now. So next time you enter a classroom, remember these tools and put them into action. They will improve your efficiency in learning choreography from anyone but they will also make you a more confident dancer. 

Dance Tips – ‘Start with your feet’

The Secret behind an Elite Dancer

The classroom is a place to learn and get even more comfortable with your own movement, but progressing beyond your expectations takes working on the details away from the classroom. Details that will help you progress with articulation, conviction, and personalizing your movement as you share your story.  

This blog is about your feet and how they shape your movement from the ground up. I once used the phrase, ‘you should know the bottom of your feet like you know the back of your hand.’ It’s sort of a head scratcher if you are not familiar with how involved your feet are in dance especially in Hip Hop and street generated dance styles. Though this is true, it didn’t give our students anything but a weird association of body parts if I wasn’t providing context. Well here is the context that should clear up that vague phrase. 

When we are in a classroom learning dance, we focus on movement above the waste, because frankly that’s the first thing we see as upright walking beings. Also that’s where we experience expression or the completion of a visual. However, we often forget that it is our feet that generate/create a better quality of movement. Our feet is the source of power, rhythm, and balance depending on how you direct energy with them while they are in contact with the floor under you. 

We have heard the phrase ‘I don’t have rhythm’ too many times, but if you have two feet, you can create and learn rhythm. Your feet are the source of timing. The way you walk has rhythm and dancing is no different. If you can count to 2 rhythmically, you can dance. More specifically, a side step where we step one foot away from the other in an open position then stepping back to a closed position with the heels together is a 2 count of rhythm. It is the same with walking with one step in front of the other. During this motion, we step through our natural body line to progress forward or backwards. If you can rhythmically do that you are dancer… period. After that, it’s applying that concept to your favorite songs. It is often glossed over in the classroom which throws off a dancers timing. Therefore, if you lose focus on the opening and closing of you feet in motion, it determines whether you get there too fast too slow. However, when you intentionally get your feet where they should be, it actually gives you so much time and range to execute your next move.  

With better timing established, the game changer of understanding how to achieve more powerful movement is the next step.  We talk about being grounded in every single class that we teach. You achieve groundedness by bracing your core, but not without enforcing the connection or strong relationship you have with the floor first. 

Your feet are like anchors that ensure the engagement of more muscles which means more control. So when you dance, there is more control and your movement does not look disconnected or detached. Additionally, when you start dancing from the energy/momentum created by your connection to the floor, you don’t have to compensate with your shoulders or arms. Your shoulders/arms react to the natural flow your body rather than the other way around which creates spazzy or unintentional movement. 

Last and most important, we want to talk about balance. How we move in space is extremely important whether we are in a classroom or not. Balance starts with our feet, and if you are not aware of your feet when you dance, you will stumble more often than you should. 

In dance, your feet keep you balanced through faster movement when you dance through the balls of your feet while engaging your core or staying grounded. When you are preparing to make stronger statements or sit in the pocket of a groove, you direct energy(weight) through the middle of your feet(instep) to your heel. Then you can create a controlled flow of movement from the heel to the ball of the foot or vice versa.  

When you take a class next time, fight that urge to start above the waist. You will find that if you change your focus, you will naturally get what the upper body is supposed to do once your feet are set. Now an extremely important side note; we don’t want you to look directly at the instructor’s feet right in front of you, because then you’ll be missing the entire visual that you need to emulate. However, if you use the mirror to start positioning your body with your feet then everything else will fall into place. 

We are extremely honored to be in this position of instructors to bring you these tips to help you become better dancers. Why? Because when we were learning or in the position where you are at, we had nothing to help us progress in what we loved so much. So as you read this and take classes with us or with other instructors, you will get more and more familiar with your feet as the foundation to becoming an elite dancer. 

Dance Tips – How to become a Standout Dancer

Do you ever find yourself getting lost in an endless loop of Dance videos on Instagram or YouTube? You just keep getting sucked in watching your favorite dancer murder each routine, one after another… What makes you want to stay and watch another video?

I’m sure these dancers that you enjoy watching have years of training and technique under their belt. But just because someone’s a trained dancer doesn’t automatically mean they’re an entertaining dancer.

So what is it then?

It’s something about their Performance! They seem to know how to capture their audience, so much so that the viewers don’t even want to blink at the chance of missing something good.

So how do YOU become that dancer that everyone can’t help but watch?

Definitely, training is a must, but there’s one key thing you can do NOW that will take your performance from “eh” to “holy smokes!”

Your eyes!! 

You must be aware of where you’re looking from start to finish of the routine. But it’s not simply a matter of knowing which way your head should be facing in any given move. That’s just choreography…. It’s really about EMOTING and TELLING A STORY! 

What makes a great performance is connecting through authentic emotion.

If you find that you’re not connecting through your performance, what I want you to do is take a step back and think about the song you’re dancing to and what you’re trying to communicate with the dance. What’s the vibe? Is the routine telling a story?

You have to know WHY you’re doing what you’re doing… Are you portraying a story of frustration because of the ups and downs of a relationship? Or maybe the dance is about being confident and owning who you are… You can even take the same movement, but depending on the story you’re telling and the emotions you’re accessing, it can look like a completely different routine. 

Galen Hooks does a phenomenal job at demonstrating how honing in on different emotions can completely change the experience of a dance as a viewer. Check out this example of her dancing the same routine to Taki Taki – one time with relief driving the movement, the other with anger. But in both, you are captivated! And that’s because she is connected to the story she’s telling, and it’s coming through by way of energy and her eyes.

The eyes are the window the the soul. They are what take your dancing from simply movement in your body and make it art with emotion!

I encourage you; take a video of yourself dancing. Watch it back to see what your eyes are doing throughout the dance. Are they telling a story? Or are they wandering with no intention. If you find that you have moments that you don’t look connected, think about what you’re trying to communicate in that moment. It may also simply be a matter of staying “in it” and not letting yourself get distracted by the choreography. That will come as you continue to work on mindset and staying focused on the story and emotion instead of stressing about getting the choreography down perfect.

The more you focus on connection to the music and the story and less about executing the movement perfectly, the more your audience will be captivated with your performance.

Did you learn anything new from this Blog post? Or do you have any other tips for giving a killer performance? Let us know in the comments!

Dance Tips – How to Get the Most out of your Dance Class Experience

Whether you’re brand new to learning choreography, or you’ve been doing it for years, we always want to make sure that you’re getting the best possible experience in every class you take with us. 

Here are 5 of our biggest tips to help you make the most of your time in the studio with us:

1.  Leave your day at the door

It seems like life just keeps getting more crazy and hectic these days, amirite? Sometimes it can be hard to separate the bad day we had at work from the rest of the day. But we encourage you to compartmentalize and leave the stress from the rest of the day at the door and shift gears to focus on what you actually want to get out of the class that day before the start of class. Try resetting your focus while driving in the car on your way to the studio or even during the stretch at the beginning of the class. Be sure to take some time to set an intention for what you want to get out of the class, and you can always com back to that intention throughout the class if you find yourself getting distracted by lingering thoughts from a situation from earlier in the day.

2. Put yourself in position to learn

(This one is especially for our new/first time dancers!) If you are new to learning choreography, make sure you get to the studio a little early so you can grab a spot on the floor where you can actually see the instructor without possible obstruction. We know, you may think that you want to “hide” in the back left corner so we can’t see you…. We’re sorry, but you can’t hide from the learning process! And the more we can see you, the better we can help you with what you specifically need. So be sure to not only be in a position where you can clearly see the instructor but also in a spot that you can see yourself in the mirror. Moreover, do NOT dance right next to the wall. It’s going to make you naturally cut off your movement. Lastly, if you’re in a spot that you feel you can’t see yourself or the instructor, or you keep running into the wall, the MOVE! Try out a different spot. There are no “assigned spots” in our classes, so feel free to move around to make sure you are able to see everything and move freely.

3. Do not take yourself too seriously

Of course, we know that you want to do well in class. We want you to do well too! But sometimes, we can place so much pressure on ourselves to get the routine down perfectly that sometimes we can get in our own way of simply dancing and enjoying the music! So when you take a choreography class, remember it’s not about being perfect. It’s about getting just a little bit better with each class. We don’t expect you to be at a professional level, so you shouldn’t expect that of yourself either, unless you’re training several hours a day, every day. So keep your focus on lock, but know it’s okay to mess up. We want you to mess up! Cause that’s how you learn and grow. And remember, dance is supposed to be FUN!
 

4. Take accountability for your movement ASAP

Have you ever gone through an entire class where by the end of it you realize that you’ve been staring at the instructor the entire time and that you wouldn’t be able to dance the routine without the instructor doing it with you? Yup, I think we’ve all been there. But in order for you to feel confident in the routine by the end of the class, you’ve got to take accountability for your movement during the learning process. How do you do that? You start looking at yourself in the mirror after the instructor’s gone through the movement a couple times. Trust us, it’s going to feel awkward at first. But that’s okay. The sooner that you make mistakes, the sooner that your body will be able to figure out how to correct them. And once you start taking accountability for the movement, you’ll be able to actually start putting your own flavor into it to really make it your own and have fun with it.
 

5. Do not wait until the end of class to dance “full out”

You should absolutely be dancing through your entire body throughout the entirety of the class. Yes, that includes while you’re learning the movement for the first time! The more you FULLY put your body through the dance, the better. Cause we garuntee you the first time you switch up to doing it full out, it’s gunna feel foreign, and you will most likely mess up or at least look spazzy. And that’s ok! Again, that is why you want to work through all that as soon as possible so you can get to a more comfortable and confident place with the routine quicker.   
 

Remember, these are YOUR CLASSES. They are what YOU make of them. 

We hope these tips are helpful for you as you enter into your next class, whether if be with Musicality Central, or at another studio. 

But we want to hear from you! Do you have any other tips that help you make sure you have a great experience in each dance class? Let us know in the comments below!

Dance Tips – What you see is Not what you (Repli) Get

In a Dance class, ‘What you see is ‘Not’ always what you (Repli)-get.’

As a kid I remember playing the copy game with my sister Sherice. This is the game where one person does a series of movements and the other person naturally tries to replicate exactly what that person did. The majority of the time my little sister Sherice would get it right and other times she would get really close to it with a few minor variations. 

Well, learning dance is about 75% of that exact game and 25 % Training. So you have some experience to reference that you can bank on that will steer you in the right direction but you have to trust the instructor infront of you to guide you through the other 25%.  

This 25% is not easy to recognize or replicate without knowing some key fundamental techniques of the dance style you are learning. This is where a dance teacher shares the secrets to a whole new game. 

In any dance class, depending on the style, there are a few things happening that the brain and the body cannot clearly recognize in order to recreate or replicate the movement in its entirety. That is due to how we see or learn movement given our ability to copy what we see.

I am going to share 4 major building blocks of movement that will upgrade the copy game to dance class speed.  

  1. First and foremost, in a dance class the most important part of movement is your feet. We learn by paying attention to the upper body but a fundamentally sound dancer has amazing footwork. If you are walking, your feet are planted and then quickly off the floor without a thought due to years of practice. However, when you dance you are aware of how your feet hits the floor from heel to toe and everything in between. Feet awareness yields controlled movement that is created by depressing the heels or toes into floor. The untrained eyes are not able to recognize this form of grounded movement without clear instruction from a trained dance instructor. 
  2. Secondly, creating different textures when you dance creates more dynamic movement. The resistance in your forearms are almost impossible to recognize when learning movement, especially if it’s your first time taking a dance class. When I speak about resistance I mean how much you flex or relax your muscles throughout the beginning and end of a specific sequence of movement that involves your arms or torso. Being able to recognize this allows you to create smooth continuous movement, or rigid ones when necessary. It shows the ability to shape different experiences that reflect the vibe of the music that you are dancing to, artist’s choice in executing the lyrics, or how you feel in a particular moment.  
  3. Thirdly, there is always an element of weight transfer happening within a series of movement that is not normal to everyday walking. Where you are transferring your weight from left to right or right to left. The fundamentals of weight transfer in walking have are some similarities to dancing but when the intentional activity switches to dancing the same fundamentals are utilized in many different ways. In dance you have to think of your body as a balance scale ⚖ that is always connected to the floor under you. For example when you walk your legs immediately leave the floor as your body transfers weight from side to side without thinking about it. When you dance weight transfer telegraphs where the movement is going next. You have be conscious about your contact with the floor like a magnet and how it creates leverage for more powerful movement.
  4. The fourth and final thing you may not recognize while learning movement without training is the all important core involvement. Though not visible to the eyes, the engagement of the core determines how grounded your movement is or how much control you have over your movement. If your feet are the magnet to the floor then your core is the metal that allows you to move with precision across the floor. It is also an important factor in how to successfully isolate your body parts to articulate clearly what you want to say at any point.

Most of us have played the copy game with our sibling growing up but like you learned from this blog there are a few things from this game that does not transfer well when you step into dance class. The fundamentals of groundedness as it refers to your feet, texture manipulation, weight transfer, and core engagement brings a few added elements to a playful childhood game that immediately increases your ability to learn dance more efficiently and accurate. We continuously employ sharing these fundamentals in every single class because we know it takes multiple times hearing and executing them before they become trained movement you don’t have to actively thing about.

So the next time you enter a class room, remember that you have 75% of what you need to learn movement but the 25% that you don’t know determines how polished and controlled your execution will be. Now you can be a master of the copy game as an adult when you dance. 

How to step up your performance and pick up choreography faster, even as a beginner

Do you ever catch yourself scrolling in an endless loop of watching incredible dance videos on Instagram? It’s like you’re sucked in and you can’t seem to put the phone down. We guarantee you that EVERY SINGLE VIDEO that has you so captivated has this one thing in common.

Do you know what it is?

THE DANCERS ARE CONNECTED TO THE MUSIC AND THE STORY. There’s feeling behind every step, every arm movement, even every look of the eye. In short, they are performing with intention the entire time.

You can have the most incredible dancers, technically speaking, doing everything right, but if there’s no feeling behind their movement, the performance is lifeless and the viewers quickly lose interest.

But dance is art! It’s a beautiful form of expression, and it’s waiting for you to step in to its world and tell your story.

Something we always like to highlight in class is the song that we’re dancing to that week. What’s the overall vibe of the song? What is the artist singing about? Is there a story to it? How can you physically connect yourself to the song and make a statement with your movement?

This is something that we’ve pretty much always done in our classes, however, we’ve noticed in our level 1 choreography class that the sooner the dancers become connected to the song and the story they are trying to convey with their movement, the better the learning process is for them.

So whether you are taking class with us or any other choreographers (and in any other style of dance for that matter), here are three major tips to help you learn faster and completely own your performance of the choreography:

1. Dive deep into the song

As soon as your instructor plays the music, start listening to it intently. What do you hear? What stands out to you? How does the song make you feel? Even if you’ve never heard the song before or if you don’t even like the song, find something that you like about it. Otherwise you’ll be fighting with the song the entire class. The sooner you can become attached to what you’re dancing to, the sooner your body will come into alignment with the song.

2. Create a story

Dance is all about speaking with your body, and we want what you have to say to be intentional and actually make sense as you move. So in order to do that, we encourage you to create a story of what you are dancing about.

Whether the song has a very clear story that you can dance to or not, figure out what you want to communicate with the choreography. The instructor is just giving you the framework with movement, it’s your job as the dancer to make it your own, and you can do that with your own story.

For example – You could have two dancers, dancing the same choreography to the same song about love. One dancer is dancing a story about the honeymoon, puppy love phase of love. The other dancer is dancing about a story of love that has been through all of the ups and downs and has stood the test of time. When you think about it, those two stories are very different, and the movement of that same choreography would also look very different between those two dancers. So have fun with your story and get creative. And know, you can always change things as you go.

3. Focus on why you came to the class in the first place

Chances are if you are going to a dance class as an adult, an overarching goal would be to have fun. Even though that’s the goal for most people, we often see dancers get distracted by their own frustration of not picking up every single detail, or they are simply focused on getting everything “exactly right.” We have good news for you. You don’t have to be perfect. And you shouldn’t be! Dance is a reflection of real life, which is messy and raw.  And like we mentioned before, you can have the most incredibly talented technical dancers, but if they are only focused on fitting into the cookie cutter movement and not putting their own splash of color into it, all it is is pretty movement.

When you do these 3 things when learning choreography, the connection to the song, creating a story, and letting go of trying to be perfect allows you to remove some of those distractions that come into the learning process and simply focus on you becoming one with the song and telling your story with your movement. It also makes class so much more fun!

So next time you take class, try these tips out, and let us know how your experience was! 

3 Tips to become a better Hip Hop Dancer

Building your dance confidence, one move at at time.

We’ve all been there – walking into a dance class for the first time with those uneasy feelings. You’re not sure what to expect. “Is it going to be hard? Am I going to be able to keep up? I’ve never danced before and everyone else is going to be better than me….” You may be having this conversation with yourself. 
 
Well, we are going to help you redirect those thoughts into the right mindset! Those thoughts are all components of fears and doubt, and it’s all a lie you tell yourself to back out of what you really want to accomplish. Of course, we’re going to be real with you. Class will definitely be a challenge, especially if it’s your first time dancing (hip hop). But isn’t that why we are here? To learn something NEW? Learning anything new will come with it’s struggles, but WE ARE HERE TO HELP YOU! 
 
We have been teaching hip hop dance for over 15 combined years now, and we’ve definitely seen a pattern in some of the key things that students are missing in their approach to executing hip hop movement. We are excited to share our 3 biggest technique tips to have you feeling more confident as you enter your first class!
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1. Stay grounded!

You may be thinking, what the heck does that mean? It’s quite simple actually when you recognize these things while the instructor becomes to demonstrate movement. To be grounded in your movement, you must be able to FEEL your feet press into the floor. So if someone were to try to move your foot out from under you, it wouldn’t budge. 
 
So how do you stay grounded? Bend those knees!! You’d be shocked at how much more control you have over your movement when you make sure you are bending your knees. Also, dance in the balls of your feet, not flat footed, unless instructed to! Again, you will have so much more control as you are going from one move to the next. 

2. Hinge at the waist!

So you know when you’re stretching and you bend over to reach for your toes? That is a hinge. Basically you are hinging to bring your shoulders forward and down. Or maybe you are reaching either right or left to whisper a secret in your friend’s ear. 
 
Insert swag here! This is where you can start to add personality in your movement with some dimension. Imagine if you were to do a whole dance standing completely straight up? That may work for other dance styles, but for hip hop? Naaaaah son!!!! When you combine hinging at the waist with being grounded, that’s when magic starts to happen. 

3. Understand where your weight is!

No, we are not referring to where your beautiful curves on your body are. We’re talking about, where is your weight in a series of movements? Right, left, front, back, center? Having your weight in your right foot when it’s supposed to be in your left will be an issue as you transition to the next move. So when taking class and something isn’t feeling right, ask your instructor where your weight is supposed to be. That should correlate with where you are hinging 98% of the time. You’d be shocked at what a difference a subtle weight shift can do for your movement transitions. 
 
There you have it! Our 3 biggest tips for beginners. These are techniques that all experienced and  professional hip hop dancers are aware of and are using in their movement. 
Hip Hop 4 Starters

So now, what about YOU?

 Do you feel a little more prepared to take your first class? As we mentioned earlier, we are not going to lie to you. Just because you have these technique tips in your toolbox doesn’t mean that class will be a breeze. Your first several classes are going to come with different speed bumps. The only true way to navigate those bumps and become better is to DANCE. Yes, dance as often as you can keeping these tips in mind as you get better. That entails taking classes, and working through those kinks as you progress as a dancer. 
 
If you’re ready to start your hip hop dance journey, we invite you to join us on a Tuesday evening for Hip Hop 4 Starters!