The Importance of Improvisation

Improvisation is one of the most creative elements of dance. When the instructor concludes class with a freestyle circle it is not only a learning experience for the performer, but also for the viewers. Watching someone just dance without thinking about technique or what step comes next truly shows what kind of dancer they are. New moves seen on TV shows or in music videos originate by someone just free styling and deciding that they should incorporate this new move they discovered into choreography.

The first time my dance teacher walked into class, turned on music, and just told the class to dance, I was twelve years old. I looked to my team as the music was playing and we all had no idea what to do. Our dance experience thus far was showing up to dance class, being given choreography, and perfecting that choreography. After overcoming the first few awkward songs of just dancing, I started to appreciate the style of improvisation. It became a huge part of my dance experience. I am very thankful for my dance teachers for introducing me to free style because without that practice in the studio, I would never be able to improv in front of anyone.

In today’s competitive dance world, improvisation is a huge component of many different audition processes. Almost every audition a dancer can attend, whether it be for a Broadway show or a music video for MTV, will include a free stye portion. Judges want to see what your strong qualities are and how creative you can be to any song they may play for you. The good part of this is that you are able to really impress your judges by showing off what you can do, even without planning. The drawback to this is that dancers can often feel unprepared and nervous about performing something that they themselves have never done before.

2 thoughts on “The Importance of Improvisation

  1. Improvisation, while difficult, is another way to let the dancer’s passion just shine through. Isn’t passion usually connected with spontaneity? And is it illogical to assume that on the spot dance moves or the combinations there of would just come naturally to people just bursting with enthusiasm and passion? Besides being a somewhat shaky reflection of a dancer’s innate ability and motivation, improvisation also helps dancers better compose themselves in times of distress or discomfort. Of course it is much easier said than done. So in any circumstance, I wish you luck and joy!

  2. I can’t even imagine having to go into a room and just being told to dance to music as part of an educational process. The thought alone frightens me, but good for you! I would never be able to accomplish that. I’m a trombone player, and improvisation is hard enough on that. Dance is obviously very difficult to master, and I highly respect the art. Bill Nye’s dancing attempts recently on Dancing With The Stars has also been very entertaining. I’m very interested to hear more about dance in the future from your blog!

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