Dance Related TipsTechnique and Skill

Tips for learning Hip Hop dance

1. Show up and commit!

Like most anything, you’ll get out of it what you put into it.  You’re paying money and investing time, so show up every week and commit to class.

Like most dance styles, classes will be somewhat progressive in nature.  Skills build as class progresses, so consistency is important.

Practice is important in dance, because of muscle memory.  Showing up to class makes sure that you’re practicing regularly.

2. Pay attention to cues.

Just like any other dance, it is important that you listen carefully to your instructor.  Steps will be described with names, or counted with numbers, and it’s important to remember these cues.

Pay attention to the names of steps, and if needed make notes on terminology because these steps will likely be used again in later classes.

And don’t hesitate to ask  questions, that’s the best way to clarify and make sure you learn well.

3. Learn to identify music parts

Being able to keep the beat is dependent upon being able to find the beat in music.  But stylizing your movement depends upon the lyrics and melody of a song and other instruments.  Learn to really listen to everything going on with a piece of music and hear all the parts.

4. Practice makes perfect

Practicing your dancing can push you to meet you goals. It can also make your dancing more natural and easy. Here are a couple of things you should focus on while practicing hip hop steps:

• Rhythm. Some people have it naturally, some don’t. If you’re someone who doesn’t have a natural sense of rhythm, it is still possible to improve this through practice. Once you have identified the rhythm and bass in a song, you need to train your brain to retain it without focusing on it.

To keep the rhythm, you need to count the beats out loud. Make sure to count the beats of the rhythm rather than all of the percussion. Once you’re done with this, it’s now time to add another normal activity, like washing the dishes or waxing the car. As you go through this activity, try to keep the rhythm in your head. Doing this over and over again will train your brain to maintain a rhythm even when you are not totally focused on it.

• Timing. Once you have the rhythm, the best thing you need to do to improve your timing is listen.  (Amazing how many areas of life just listening will improve!)

Notice what happens when you listen to the music and start moving. Try to align with the rhythm while keeping your moves simple.  Then focus on the quality you wish to improve. Repeat the process with more complex moves.

5. Loosen up a little!

Don’t miss out on things just because you’re too embarrassed to dance in public. To be really dancing means that you have to take control of your movements and have fun at the same time.

• Find a space large enough to dance in. This can be your living room or kitchen for example.  Remove anything that you can bump into and also be sure that you won’t be disturbed by anyone else.

• Dancing in front of a mirror or filming yourself is a great idea as well. This will allow you to watch yourself as you dance to keep track of your improvement and to correct any mistakes. Laptop webcam can do the trick.

• Instead of being conscious about your actual steps, just think about how each step feels. Feel the movement. This can help improve your muscle memory by becoming attuned to how you move.

• Learn how to handle criticism. Ignore it if it’s from someone who isn’t trying to help make your dancing better.  Your instructor is usually the best source for constructive criticism – think of them as a dance mentor.

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