The Secret to Owning Your Freestyle
I know it sounds a little silly but I used to always love to watch people in my family, on TV or in my neighborhood, just dance with-in themselves and groove whenever and wherever they felt like. It was a confidence that I've always admired, but didn't always have. My favorite shows growing up were, "Soul Train" and "Showtime at the Apollo" strictly because of how they glorified the average person doing exactly what they loved to do.
Now with a little over 11 years of freestyle experience, I felt like it was only right for me to share my secrets with the world. Don't worry I'm not planning on writing your ear off, just going to help you wake up that inner "freestyle beast" so you can uplift and evolve that beautiful spirit of yours.
1) LISTEN CAREFULLY
Doesn't mean just listening to the lyrics or to the obviously loud baseline & guitar strings, but taking notice to all of the in-betweens and almost non-existent sounds. To do so, you must marinate in the music without having any intentions of dancing to it, but to become it. Use your Ipod and a pair of headphones to get you started.
2) BECOME THE MUSIC
Slowly start thinking of your body as each instrument you hear in the song. Think about what you can accent, where you can speed things up and where you can make moments/breathe the music. Make sure to think about various formations of moves to draw out those sounds. This will stretch your creativity to the upmost and allow you to explore your body more then ever.
Watch Shiva dive into her signature freestyle LIVE in Spain (above)
3) THROW FEAR OUT THE WINDOW
Take chances. Make sure fear doesn't exist. When I'm in the zone, I'm in the world I created for myself at that moment. I take chances with my body because I'm in full control and there is nothing I can do wrong. No fear. Remember to build your world around freedom in movement and swim through the music. Your body is dancing but your soul should be flying.
4) SWAG IT OUT
For those who don't know what swag is, it's more then just a word, it's a lifestyle consisting of your everyday surroundings ; music, dance, family, friends, mannerisms, style & grammer stemmed from a very urban/ cultured environment. This helps give a certain "twang" to your moves that just can't be explained. So let's hope you have it, "cuz you sho' gon need it." <-- My Florida country swag.
Dance in public and engage! Dive into atmospheres with great vibes, joyous people & spell-binding music to test your skills. The energy you can absorb from such an environment will contribute greatly to your free(dom)style. Once you really get a clear understanding of your body and how to illustrate the music, you start to pull people into your world, to share the moments you create. This is the greatest satisfaction I get from freestyling. There's nothing better then captivating others and sharing a smile at the exact same time during your soul flight. Trust me, it's priceless.
I hope you can utilize these personal tools of mine and start freestyling for more then just a dance audition, but for yourself as well. There isn't a class in the world that can help you with the internal confidence it takes to become a captivating freestyle dancer. It doesn't take technique or training, just a pure form of love and a blood flow of confidence that'll send you straight on your way to inspiring the world.
Shiva's favorite FUNKY & FREE playgrounds in LA:
"EVITA" @ BARDOT
"Funky_Sole" @ TheEchoLA
"FUNKMOSPHERE" @ TheVirgilBar
"TROPICAL VIBES" @ Zanzibar
DJ Shiva's (not me) "CANDY PARTY" @ TheVirgilBar
Last Fridays (except Oct 31st)
"VIBRANT" @ TheFederalBar
@RhondaIntl (various locations)
"CIRCLE UP" w/ DJ Rani De Leon @ TheVirgilBar
About the Author
Shiva Ware is the Afro Caribbean Princess. Queen of Freestyle. Choreographer. Movement Coach. Instructor. Mentor. Shiva has traveled the world sharing her givers as a dancer and fountain of inspiration. Shiva has performed alongside Pharrell, Busta Rhymes, Chiddy Bang, Dj Tiesto, Mya, Beenie Man, Janelle Monae, Bounty, Elephant Man, Mr. Vegas, Sprite, Iggy Azalea and more.
With over 12 years of freestyle dancing, professional training and industry work, Shiva has mastered her gift to hear the finest detail in music. This gift has since grown into a force that demands the attention of her viewers and gently touches their soul.
Her unique movement & drive is powered by self-determination, a balanced diet and an undying love for life, knowledge & culture. Traditional African dance & music, street art, the techniques of Shotokan Karate, Caribbean food & traditions, the spirit of NYC, hiking and traveling are just a few addictions that keep her fire a blaze.
This article was first published on Shiva's Blog: ShivaWareFreestyle.com