By Stella Melina



Last time, I offered three reasons to incorporate free dance/improvisation into your dance training. Below is the second and final part of this two part series. Enjoy!


1) Create Powerful Performances

Learning to trust your body and movement through free dance allows for your emotions, expressiveness, and talent to truly shine. It inspires new movement creation that is natural to your body and the way it chooses to express itself as you learn to let go.

Improvising helps you think on your feet and recognize opportunities as they arise. You learn how to be flexible in your thinking, constantly re-framing the situation; adjusting to the performance, music, and audience that you truly find yourself in and not the one in your head.   As you learn that you can’t control everything (no matter how perfectly choreographed your piece may be) you gain the ability to dance right through a forgotten section or recover from mistakes without the audience ever knowing anything was wrong.

2) Become a Better Communicator

Communication is a crucial part of life, since everything you do and say displays something about you. Therefore, improvisation encourages you to focus on storytelling and finding the most effective ways at communicating a narrative. By connecting deeply with your senses, the music, and your surroundings, the body is allowed to naturally express emotions and thoughts that together tell an authentic, unique story. This natural expression becomes easier to achieve not only in the studio or on stage but also in life.

3) Break out creative blocks or physical ruts

Free dancing allows you to free your creative mind by engaging the body and all five senses. How often do we get caught up in our heads trying to learn technique? By involving the sense of touch, hearing, smell, vision, and taste while letting the mind take a backseat, we allow the senses to develop a whole new set of ideas that can be used to trigger movement variation or invention. All of a sudden you are creating and executing movement instinctively, without any calculated choreography. Free dance breaks down the wall between mind and voice and increases the mind’s ability to form ideas, and present them in a coherent, relevant manner.

4) Build Stamina and Endurance

Oftentimes, as dancers or performers, we are very focused on learning technique or execution. This is why we go to classes, right? We go to learn new skills and to perfect technique but if you are not cross training, you are probably not building endurance while learning the latest pole tricks or floor work.

Free dancing to at least one full song will help your body grow accustomed to moving constantly and fluidly. It also helps you find opportunities to breathe – we all know that sometimes it’s not easy to breathe when you are upside down on the pole, in mid air and trying not to fall face first! Building up these areas prior to a performance will give you the space to focus on self-expression, emotion, and deriving pleasure through your piece.


There are so many great reasons to free dance and seek out improvisational movement. I hope that some of these mentioned above reignite your desire to continue your exploration through free dance.

Seek out more moments to dance freely not just through pole but also in other types of dance movement, classes, and styles.  Also, remember that as with any skill, it takes time to build up a level of comfort, understanding, and proficiency but the rewards and benefits start showing up immediately!


© Stella Melina, 2015


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