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Improv 101

Improv, the art of dancing without any planned choreography or premeditated direction in movement, is easily one of the most commonly known genres in dance. Since there is no choreography involved, improv has a big reputation for allowing dancers personal freedom of movement and expression. However, improv can actually be a bit of a challenge to some dancers, especially when you’re first starting to get the hang of it. Sure, there are dancers who are naturals at improv but what about the dancers that struggle with it a little bit? Well, that’s where your friends at From the Top come in! So, if you’re looking for ways to improve your improv skills, look no further, because today’s post is all about improv and how to master it! Let’s get started! 

Tip #1 

“Don’t Be Intimidated”

Sometimes the thought of being out there, dancing off the top of your head, without any choreography, in front of literally everyone can be a little intimidating, especially if you’ve never done it before or don’t do it often. It feels like your bearing your soul out on the dance floor and everyone is there just watching. However, the number one way to get over your nerves, is to not be intimidated by the thought of improv. Remember, this is a skillset that every dancer must learn to do at some point or another, and most all of us have experienced these same jitters at some point while learning. Yes, improv does contain a sense of vulnerability because you are dancing strictly from your heart and soul, but that’s what dance is all about! Whether it be improv or choreography, dancing should always come from the heart, and that may sound cheesy, but it’s true! So, the same way you dance from your heart with choreography, do the same thing with improvisation. There is absolutely no difference between the two when you truly think about it!  

 

Tip #2 

“Listen, Feel and Relate To The Music” 

Improv is the perfect example of how dance and music become one. Make sure before you even start dancing that you get a feel of the song that you’re dancing to. Get in touch with the message of the song, the meaning, the lyrics and try to relate to it on some level. If the song is talking about an experience similar to one you’ve had in the past, go back to that place, gather those emotions and let your body run free. However, if the song is talking about something that you can’t relate to at all, simply use your imagination of how it would feel to be in the artists shoes. You can even gather inspiration by the energy of the beat and tempo of the song alone! By forming a connection to the music in some way or another, you will find it much easier to just let yourself go and dance freely! 

 

Tip #3 

“Don’t Think, Just Dance”

At the very beginning of this post, we defined improv as dancing with no premeditated movement and that is exactly what it is. When you improv, never think about what you’re going to do next. That just makes it way more challenging to do. Instead, don’t think about anything but you, the music and how it makes you feel. From there, just simply let your body go and dance from your soul. The most intimidating aspect of improv is the question of “what moves should I do?’, but you see, is the beauty of it! You just go with the flow and do whatever your body decides to do next! It is letting go and being free in its purest form. Improv is raw and personal. It’s something that is yours and yours alone. So, don’t think about the next move, don’t think about the fact that people may be watching, don’t even think about what people may think of you. Let go, be free and just dance! 

I hope these tips were a huge help and I wish you all the best of luck in your ever-growing dance journey. We’ll see you back here next Friday — same time, same place! 

Keep Dancing! 

-Lexi  

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