Hey guys! Thanks for joining me! I thought it would be fun to start a small video series to discuss and share some tips that I find helpful for my own freestyle practice and for those of my students. These videos are freestyle’d, in true FYF fashion! Please feel free to watch, digest, comment and contribute, or share!
“I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart. I am, I am, I am.”
― Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
This first tip is about breathing. And by breathing… I mean conscious, aware breathing before and during a practice session, to create a neutral point where we can discover where we want to go within the present moment. It is important to breathe through and within your movement for many obvious physical reasons (oxygenation, control, extension, fluidity, power, usage of space, energy, etc!), but it is also important to point out the alternative functions for both calming and channeling your thoughts, directing your impulses, accessing what may be going on emotionally, and opening up your sensory awareness and sensitivity – where amazing movement ideas come from!
The biggest problem I see when people “get lost” in freestyle (not the good kind of lost, haha), is when the breath takes a major back seat. We get all hyped up and excited while we pick songs, fiddle with our clothing, set up our camera, change lighting, clean our poles, anticipate a movement or combination of movements, or have conversation and interactions with others in the room. We even get caught up while we control the expression we are determined or allow ourselves to express, “I need to get this out!”. These actions, while very important for environment, set and setting, are quite externally focused. Before and while we move, we must continue to access the internal, too. What is going on for you? How does your body feel? What do you hear in the music, what does your body feel in the room, against the pole, in your clothing, or on the floor? What do you allow to come through by staying present?
We all know, freestyle is full of magic in its potential spontaneity, and it can lead us in new and exciting directions, if we allow it. That’s where the breath comes in. Give your breath your attention. Before you start dancing. Or during when you need to come back to a center point. Again and again. Even if it takes you away from creating temporarily. It can be a seriously useful compass. And it will keep you from letting the mind and letting your expectations take over, causing small flashes of anxiety, hesitation, detachment, even fear (and this is all compounded when someone is watching, even if its just your camera)!
Let’s breathe consciously, before every freestyle. And if you are adamant about starting a song on cue (cause it’s THAT good!), take this moment before you press play. Your body will thank you.