Our top 11 tips for becoming AWESOME at flow and freestyle
"Nobody cares if you can’t dance well. Just get up and dance. Great dancers are great because of their passion.”
Listening to the music, letting your body move and forgetting whether people are watching you or not... once you learn to let go and just enjoy the flow for you, no matter how awkward you might feel in the beginning... you'll learn to love it!
Flow and freestyle is full of expression. Having a bad day? Chuck on some of your 'feeling angry' music and let it out in dance. Feeling happy? Throw on your fave upbeat jams and bounce around to the beat to express your happiness.
A big part of flow and freestyle is just enjoying the moment - and it really feels AWESOME!
But how do you get from the 'I feel awkward and this sucks' to 'I can't wait to chuck this song on and have a boogie'?
Here are some top tips from our Altitude instructors on getting awesome at flow and freestyle
1) Your new mantra
Before the music starts, before you begin to move, take a deep breath in and remember that this time if for you and nothing else matters. Do whatever your body wants to do and if it doesn't feel quite right... you're still doing it right.
2) Work on flow and freestyle every chance you get!
The more you dance, the easier it becomes. It's a skill like any other part of pole dancing, you progress the more you do it. So what are you going to do next time your instructor says 'it's time for a freestyle'?
Get into it!
Dance like no one is watching (most likely no one IS watching 'cause they're doing their own thing). Sometimes overthinking can kill it, so try your best to get comfortable with literally going with the flow.
If you find yourself with some free time in class try linking moves, spins and poses together fluidly - that means trying to avoid stopping and starting unnecessarily or regripping when you don't need to. That doesn't mean sharp movement is a bad thing... just make it deliberate!
Or throw on some headphones and try freestyling. It might feel super weird in the beginning but eventually, you'll begin to figure out your own style and movement patterns.
3) Go to flow classes
As we mentioned before... flow is a skill like the tricks you learn, so going to a flow focused class means you'll get a chance to work on those skills with instructor guidance.
You'll not only be working on your own, unique style of movement but you'll learn bits and pieces from your instructors that you can incorporate into your flow and freestyle 'toolkit', so to speak.
These classes can also push you outside of that movement comfort zone... and we're all about stepping outside our comfort zones!
Bonus points if you feel extra awkward trying to learn someone else's choreo. It's not uncommon to be super comfortable with one style of flow and find another style foreign and... difficult! Challenging yourself is how you will grow, get better and have a wider skillset with dance.
Think of classes like our Flow and Freestyle, Exotic Flow, Floorwork. They'll help to expand your movement repertoire.
4) Really listen to the music you're dancing to
Rather than putting all of your focus into thinking of your next move let the music guide you. If you end up doing 50 pirouettes but they work with the music... that's AWESOME! You're
dancing, you're flowing! It's about getting your head around moving to that rhythm. When you start learning to listen for a rhythm and moving to it, you'll find your brain need to focus less... freeing you up to end up in some really weird (and cool) positions!
Take advantage of pole play and training classes, too, chuck in some wireless headphones and go wild with your fave music. Make sure to try different styles of music, too.
5) Record yourself
This one might make you feel a little uncomfortable in the beginning but it's the same as taking progress pictures for those big tricks you work on. The only difference is you might end up doing something unexpected that turns out to be an awesome piece of flow. It's also a chance for you to actually see yourself getting better - it can be hard to tell, sometimes, so it's nice to have a reminder.
Plus... you don't wanna miss out on that weird thing you did mid-freestyle that miiiiight have been awesome but you can't actually remember what you did... all you remember is that it was probably really cool
So! Record lots avoid missing those little gems.
Spend time playing around linking things together... BUT get weird with it. If you try to come up with new pathways you may find something really cool and unique to work on and get better at.
The point, here, is to worry less about the what and just move... and if it ends up feeling a bit weird that's okay too. Reminding yourself that it's okay to feel awkward, that it can be beneficial to feel a bit awkward and you should definitely keep going!
Some ideas on experimentation could be to play around with tempo changes, moving between fast and slow. Or you could play with switching directions, making your movements look really dynamic. Or suspense and pauses. Switch it up with the type of pole you usually use, normally on static? Give spin a go! Normally on spin? Try flowing on a static pole!
Play around with different accessories to dance in, too - you'll be surprised how much of a difference it can make! Socks, barefoot or heels flow. Or maybe leggings, or shorts with leg warmers, kneepads, a flowy skirt, a baggy hoodie. Try it out!
Or you could take it even further and try blindfolding yourself (safely) for a truly unique freestyle experience.
7) Start small!
If you're really struggling with this whole flow and freestyle thing and you want to start broadening your skills... start small and try to add just ONE new spin, pose, or movement into your flow or freestyle. Eventually, it'll just be part of your 'toolkit' and you can try adding another move and build from there.
If you get stuck on any moves take a look at our level 1 and 2 moves for some inspiration 👀
8) Work on your fundamentals
We're not talking about moves so much... think about your toe point, leg tension, hands, shoulders, chin, expression. This is especially important when you're working on a routine for a showcase or competition. Once you're comfortable with moving around the pole, start working on tidying things up.
9) Use the mirrors
Sometimes what feels awkward actually looks pretty awesome... and vice versa. If you keep an eye on yourself in the mirrors when you're working on different shapes or movement patterns you can straight away see whether you like them or not. Or whether something has the potential to be really cool.
Like a flow you've come up with? Or one you learned in a class or saw on Instagram? Drill it a million times until it feels smooth and fluid. Once you start getting a feel for smooth movements you'll start recognising how to achieve it for new choreo, flow or playing with freestyling.
11) Experiment with your music
In the beginning, start with songs that you REALLY like. You'll find moving to music you love easier because you know it well, the beats, the lyrics. Once you've started getting more comfortable with the concept of flow and feestyle... try dancing to music that you are less familiar with. Different genres, different speeds. Something that will surprise your muscles!