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Benefits of Freestyle and Jazz

Happy Freestyle Friday – how are you jazzing up your day!! Next up on our blog is the benefits of taking part in Freestyle and Jazz classes. This is a different branch of dance to ballet, tap and theatre.

High energy classes

While other forms of dance do require a lot of work – freestyle and jazz incorporates a much great time of high energy work – the style itself – full of kicks, leaps, jumps, spins and movement around the floor, is very aerobic based.

It also requires great flexibility – especially as they progress in their work with splits both on the floor and in the air, as well as back bending being popular steps.

Dancers will greatly improve their fitness (and burn off lots of energy) at these classes.

Great for all to get involved.

This style has a few basic moves that are then accentuated with varying lines, positions, arm movements and body movements. A simple kick can be performed in so many ways. It is a great form of dance to allow your child to express themselves.

Working with other dancers

Freestyle and jazz has a few different elements – we create solos, duets, trios, team combinations, we do class work and of course performance pieces. So your child will be working alone, in small groups and big groups which is a great way to develop confidence and co-operation and team work.

Rhythm is key

Freestyle was born out of the popularity of Saturday Night Fever and the Disco era – young people and adults expressing themselves to popular music. Jazz has its routes in tap, street, cultural and free expression. Rhythm is the key – dance with the rhythm but do so with you own style

 

We’ve love for your dancer to be part of our dance family. React Dance Academy holds freestyle and jazz classes every Wednesday at Church of the Ascension, Kenton – please see our timetable for times (and speak to us about ages as these are suggested – we know each child is different). Then please contact us and we can send you more information.

For our pre-school ballet and dance programme (under 5 or nursery and preschool) please visit our dedicated preschool class website

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Freestyle and Jazz

Our Freestyle and Jazz classes to run on a Wednesday mix two disciplines to allow our students to explore their expression and musicality

What is freestyle?

Freestyle is a modern, expressive and varied dance style, still a popular form of dance in the UK today. It involves runs, spins, kicks and leaps, as well as many other diverse steps and movements with lots of arm and hand actions.

The music can be fast and rhythmic or slow and sensuous, allowing dancers of all ages to use freedom of expression to enhance their style.

What is jazz?

Modern Jazz is fun. You will learn to develop many different movements reaching to a broad choice of varying rhythms and musical styles. Classes are structured to begin to prepare the physical strength and flexibility required to demonstrate emotion through interpretation of any musical genre.

One minute you may be dancing to the rhythm of a drum, the next to a funky jazz style. You may explore contrast between expansion and relaxation or learn to isolate in a slick stylish mood. Whatever the atmosphere of the class, it will be a wonderful opportunity to react and interact with other members and really dance to express your feelings.

Why take this class?

Both disciplines work well together as both can involve a lot of dramatic moves, as well as slower steps. There is a great mix of rhythms and using some of the technique of modern jazz we can develop our freestyle in much greater ways

Jazz adds a technique element – focusing on developing strong isolation and the traditional strength and flexibility work with the more explosive style found in freestyle

How is this class structured?

Freestyle and jazz involves quite a fast paced warm up as there is a lot of flexibility required in some of the moves. We work on improving stamina and then strength through some jazz technique and flexibility work – especially working our split variations and back bends.

Corner work involves steps and combinations traveling across the floor in small groups or pairs so we can see the movements and style.

Routines are developed next – both shorter step based and then group routines. For shows we start to develop group choreography, for exams we work on examination style routines.

Improv time is important in that it allows children to develop their musicality and rhythmic expression – solo work as well as team work is key here.

What to wear and what to bring?

Ideally all students will eventually have our school leotard (Which is needed for performances and assessments) and for this class it is paired with jazz pants or warm up shorts.

To start – leggings and a form fitting vest top is perfect.

Always bring a drink where possible as this class is hard work! A snack for afterwards as well is also suggested

Classes will run on Wednesdays – £25.00 per month (multi class and sibling discounts will apply) and the ages listed are suggestions. Please just drop us a line for more information – leanne@reactdance.co.uk or call or text 07969 125 975

Understanding…. Freestyle

Freestyle dance is a very popular form of dance with both structured exams and competitions forming a major part of this style.

History (Summarised from Anna Jones – Freestyle Dance)

In 1978 the era of Disco dancing was truly born in the UK. For months we eagerly anticipated the arrival of the dance craze that was sweeping America. This was all due to one film and one performer, John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever! Travolta brought a message across to millions of young people that here was a lad with a mundane nine-till-five, poorly paid job, who was able to become a success in a different way – he could dance, and dance well! His reputation at the local Discotheque was a legend and when he entered that atmosphere at night he was respected and hero-worshiped. At this time Antony Allen made several trips to the States in order to bring back much of the work emanating from the film. And as well as many of the “Disco” moves, he brought back Hustle, a “together” dance that was also made popular by the film. Dance classes specialising in the “Night Fever” routines quickly became popular in all areas of the UK.

It was at this point that a number of professionals decided to carry on where the film had left off. Using chart music at the time, they began working out their own routines, often cautious at first then increasing in confidence as the pupils continued to enjoy the work that they were creating. As time progressed more varied and interesting work was included in the routines which was graded according to the standard of the class. Ultimately, greater rhythmical interpretation was involved and the use of more body parts.

What is Freestyle Dance?

It’s an artistic dance form that co-ordinates accentuated body movements with a number of basic steps incorporating arm, head and hand positions and movements. This is developed by the teachers who need to keep abreast of modern trends and music, whilst allowing the dancer freedom to express their own individual interpretation. The development of a top class Freestyle dancer requires the understanding of several basic principals in order to create good style and technique. I.e. Good timing, as with any other form of dance is essential. Choreography needs to be tailored to suit the age, grade and capability of each dancer. Extension and projection are also important aspects of Freestyle dance. Presentation as with other forms of dance needs to be aesthetic to the eye in every possible detail. Personality is an attribute that does or does not come naturally, but this can be developed by building confidence and practising facial expression.

Freestyle Dance contains a great variety of steps and movements particularly in the choreography of the higher grade dancers. However, the three “basic ingredients” of Freestyle Dance relating to solo work are runs, spins and kicks. Almost all dancers in intermediate grades and above will perform these steps as part of their routine in one form or another. Beginners will generally use less progressive types of movements but will normally have some running steps in their routines. Kicks are often introduced at starter level and spins developed for intermediate and above. The basic steps and movements include different types of Walks and Runs, a variety of turns and spins e.g. Switch Turn, Whisk Turn, Twist Turn, Progressive and Accelerated Spins. Kicks and Flicks to include Cross-Tap-Kick, Flick Ball Change, Spring Kick and Hitch Kick. Various jumps and leaps e.g. Star Jump, Stag Leap and Scissors Jump. Plus balletic type movements e.g. Arabesque, Pirouette and Developpe.