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Freestyle dance

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Title: Freestyle dance  
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Subject: Fairfield County, Connecticut, Apolo Ohno, Ceroc, International Dance Teachers Association, Shinhwa, Uprock, Tony Dovolani, Jonathan Roberts (dancer), Nina Girado, Kym Johnson
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Freestyle dance

Dance improvisation is the process of spontaneously creating movement. Development of improvised movement material is facilitated through a variety of creative explorations including body mapping through levels, shape and dynamics schema.

Dance improvisation is not only about creating new movement but is also defined as freeing the body from habitual movement patterns (see Postmodern dance and Judson Dance Theater). Dancer and singer Michael Jackson combined improvisation in both of those definitions, insisting that he had interest in performing a dance to Billie Jean only if he could do it a new way each time.

Developed dance forms with improvisational life

Argentine Tango

Argentine Tango, is a dance form that despite the apparent choreography relies on improvisation. Improvisation techniques are taught and improvisation is encouraged as necessary to reach high levels of competency in dance and performance environments. Closely knit crowds, varying rhythmic patterns in music, switching partners for each dance, and a large vocabulary of movements encourage improvisational dance in Argentine Tango.

Belly Dance

Belly dance is one of the most commonly improvised dance forms, since the often live music does not support the structured nature of choreography. Professional belly dancers may dance publicly 6 nights a week, up to three times a night, and simply do not have the time to choreograph for the 15–60 minutes a night that such performing requires. Even dancers with substantial choreography repertoires often choose to improvise when performing to live music because they value the exchange of energy between the dancer, the musicians, and the audience, which is heightened by working "in the moment". American Tribal Style belly dance is built entirely upon group improvisation, although the group will typically plan and rehearse individual combinations and their cues in advance.


Blues dance is generally done to blues music, and is highly improvisational. Like lindy hop, emphasis is on the lead and follow connection, but the emphasis is even greater. Blues dance is a partnered and structured form of interpretive dance, and relies mostly on the leader interpreting the music how he or she will; at the same time, the follower usually has some freedom to interpret the music and add in his or her own style as well.

Break Dance

B-boying features a heavily improvisational style based on cyclic movement patterns. Many styles of b-boying exist, and dance crews will often choreograph performances for specific songs. Individual performances are more commonly improvised due to the nature of the dance.

Lindy Hop

Lindy Hop is generally an eight-count swing dance, developed in large part by Frankie Manning, and includes a large amount of improvisation. Once a dancer has learned a variety of swing dance moves, ranging from West Coast Swing to Charleston to Balboa, the dancer will often combine any and all the moves he or she knows of these styles of dance, as well as add his or her own dance style, or make up new dance moves or aerials. Because of its improvisational nature, lindy hop heavily relies on lead and follow connection, rather than each partner knowing the steps and doing them together.

See also

Further reading

  • Minton, S, C. (1997) Choreography: A Basic Approach Using Improvisation. Human Kinetics . ISBN 0-88011-529-7
  • Tufnell, M. and Vaughan, D. (1999) Body Space Image : Notes Toward Improvisation and Performance. Princeton Book Co. ISBN 1-85273-041-2
  • Barrios Solano, M. (2004) Posthuman Performance: Dancing within Cognitive Systems. [1]

Reeve, Justine (2011) "Dance Improvisations". Human Kinetics. ISBN 9781450402149

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