Breaking Through Barriers

In my last blog I discussed how techniques can potentially save your life when faced with an open cipher or freestyle round. Most dancers will experience this at events or even in classes. Freestyle is immensely important for Hip Hop as it essentially cultivates new moves that become established as its vocabulary. I also emphasised the importance of learning foundational techniques for freestyle which will also help you when picking up choreography or potentially creating your own. 

But what happens if you are still not yet skilled or well versed in all the techniques? A simple answer to this is actually creating your own personalized limitation in freestyle. What this means is that the dancer can create a concept such as dancing without arms or rolling the arms and limit themselves to exploring that concept.

This concept works because structure helps a dancer’s over thinking mind to calm down and focus on a given task. It is bringing all your mental capability to one specific exercise and exploring how that exercise can develop. By working on a limiting concept, the dancer will have to find creative ways of how to navigate and ‘breakthrough’ that limitation. This means that if you are using a basic roll of the arms, the same concept can be taken to different extremes – the dancer can do it slow or fast exploring the dynamic, change the direction, use one arm instead of two and the list goes on!

This idea comes from creating rules to break rules which Hip Hop culture in itself developed out of. When a system is pushing down upon you, a way out is to play with the system’s limitations to create innovative ways of surviving and making the system work for you. For the purpose of dance, limiting your movements instead of entering a freestyle cipher with an impossibly large field of possibility helps you deal with the overwhelming sense of not knowing where to start from. In summary, structure the vast ocean of possibility into a limited focus and work your way out from that point. Before you know it, infinite possibility becomes accessible to you! 

  • Lukeuid

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