Forum: Disco / Disco Competitions

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Disco Competitions
What is Disco/Freestyle? (karma: 37)
By Noodlesluke Comments: 1788, member since Sun Mar 24, 2002
On Thu Oct 31, 2002 07:33 AM
Moved to Disco Competitions by MIClogger (28613) on 2004-04-05 22:01:40 moved to disco competitions forum to make way for new sticky.

To all people who dont know what freestyle is and from time to time come on to the board and ask what it is all about i have posted this to help you. It was taken from a website written by anna jones about Freestyle.

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. Travolta had a couple of solo spots in the film in which he showed off his rhythmical talents and acrobatic movements leaving onlookers aghast! We have now progressed so far that the movements in hindsight look quite tame but the film must be recognised as a unique type of musical which brought a new dance form to this country. The public were eager to learn how to perform the very steps that Travolta had danced in the film. It was difficult to piece the routines together as they did not appear as complete sequences in the film. At this time, very few people owned a video recorder of any description in their home and it was therefore necessary to sit through the film many times in order to piece it all together! 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 and many dance teachers were delighted with this huge surge in business. With the release of the film as an "A" version, after its original "X" production, a new audience of thousands more young people emerged and expanded the classes even more! This film brought young people back into the dance schools after a relative decline of many years. Almost overnight it became the "norm" for young lads, as well as girls, to take up dancing as a hobby and attend dance schools for classes and/or private lessons. Utopia had been created for the younger generation, they could learn dancing that really appealed to them because it was performed to the popular music of THEIR day!

After the public had learnt all the routines from the film, many abandoned the classes as most schools did not pick up on the theme that had been set. 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. Teachers' workshops were organised across the country, which were designed to help teachers gain ideas from fellow professionals and create a stimulus for class and medal work. These were pioneered by Peggy Spencer MBE, Patricia Thompson, Michael Stylianos and Anne Lingard. Medal tests were soon introduced and as early as 1981 one dance association announced that the number of medal tests taken in Disco had exceeded the total taken in all of the other branches put together! The first Disco Dance Championship took place at the Cat's Whiskers Ballroom in Streatham, London on August Bank Holiday 1978. The organiser for the day was Bobby Short and the sole adjudicator was Sue Manachek of "legs and Co". Those who attended realised that we were on the threshold of something very big! Resulting from the enormous enthusiasm and numbers attending, several more events were immediately organised and during the next twelve months about six major events were staged, mostly by John and Arlene Leach who went on to run the first ever Disco Dance Festival. Since then, many more competitions have been organised and most major titles are staged annually by the prominent promoters. The ADFP was formed to control the competitive aspect of this dance form and now with the BDC they are responsible for the rules and regulations appertaining to Freestyle Dance. The term Freestyle has largely replaced Disco over recent years which is due to the direction that the dance form has taken. Disco related to the type of steps and movements that are able to be performed in a Discotheque, i.e. requiring very little space, most of which are quite simple. Progress in Freestyle has seen the development of the basic movements, many of which are travelling steps such as runs and spins. These along with high kicks and floor work etc could not easily be performed in a Discotheque! Competition dancers, particularly in the higher grades now use the floor to its best advantage, movement and projection being an integral part of their performance.

As with other forms of competitive dancing, many of the top class champions have become well known in their own field and have gone on into show business or become teachers and/or choreographers with their own dance schools. The constant improvement of this dance form is evident throughout the medallist dancers and onwards to the top championship grade of competitor. The standard of the top competitors is now very high --- excellent spins and splits, super high kicks, good choreography, superb presentation, projection and personality are now the norm! There are few events every year which attract the top class dancers. The standard is particularly high and from semi-final stage onwards we see first class performances in all age groups. There are some excellent Sunday competitions held regularly throughout the country and most weekends have more than one event to choose from. Most promoters are now seasoned hands at putting on a good day. There are often at least 50 events on the program with non-returnable trophies going to all the finalists. We have come a long way since Night Fever and continue to see an increase in the numbers of competitors and new professionals each year. A technique for Freestyle Dance has been in place for many years now and, as with any other form of dance, the continued improvement of basic principles will secure its development in the right direction. In 1993 my husband and I introduced Freestyle Slow Dance at our annual Dancer of the Year Championships. This proved to be an instant success and is now included in the programme of most major events. Several years prior to this we also introduced the idea of all championship finalists dancing a short "solo spot" in front of the adjudicators prior to the final round. This is now standard practice at all Freestyle competitions and championships.

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.

There are now many Disco/Freestyle classes operating in most towns throughout the UK. They can be great fun and an ideal way to keep fit! Beginner's classes should be very simple with easy-to-follow routines. A well-constructed class starts with a "Warm-up" and then tuition at a steady pace to ensure all pupils feel comfortable with the routines. The music used should be at a steady pace to start with to try and aim towards the pupils being able to understand the movements that they've been taught and to dance them with as much precision as possible. The tempo can then be steadily increased but not beyond the ability of the members of the class to cope. Slow music throughout the class is also quite acceptable. Some teachers include a "Cool down" at the end. When selecting a class to attend, it is advisable to ensure that the teacher, as with any other form of dance, is qualified with a recognised Dance Association. Listings can be found in Yellow Pages, on the Internet, in newspapers and local libraries etc. The main Dance Associations all have information on Freestyle Dance. Many of their members operate Freestyle classes in different parts of the country and enter candidates for examinations and/or competitions. If you plan to "launch" into this dance form, it is never too late. It can be rewarding and lots of fun at all levels, good luck!

209 Replies to What is Disco/Freestyle?

re: What is Freestyle?
By holly12 Comments: 497, member since Sat Dec 28, 2002
On Wed Jan 01, 2003 09:07 AM
owww only read a few lines my eyes love holly
re: What is Freestyle?
By amandasharples Comments: 1174, member since Tue Dec 10, 2002
On Wed Jan 01, 2003 09:54 AM
Pretty good Mr Muffin
Why did u have to write so much it gets borin after a bit so i didnt read it
re: What is Freestyle?
By starisaz Comments: 2851, member since Wed Jul 31, 2002
On Wed Jan 01, 2003 12:31 PM
wots the touch of class website please
re: What is Freestyle?
By dance_clare_bearmember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 623, member since Sun Dec 22, 2002
On Wed Jan 01, 2003 01:37 PM
hi only read a couple of lines lol.
welldone anyway.

re: What is Freestyle?
By ema2002 Comments: 89, member since Tue May 28, 2002
On Thu Jan 02, 2003 10:42 AM
wow wikid info
re: What is Freestyle?
By soulsista Comments: 66, member since Sun Dec 22, 2002
On Thu Jan 02, 2003 11:51 AM
good info got bored tho-LOL!LV JAIDE X X X
re: What is Freestyle?
By DevilDanza666 Comments: 789, member since Fri Nov 22, 2002
On Sun Jan 12, 2003 03:32 PM
as much as i love dancing, im not into history! lol but well dun 4 finding all that out!
re: What is Freestyle?
By Charliebabe Comments: 85, member since Sun Jan 19, 2003
On Sun Jan 19, 2003 11:25 AM
What a lot of good info,did that take long to write and research?
re: What is Freestyle?
By Danza2member has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 1247, member since Wed Dec 11, 2002
On Sun Jan 19, 2003 01:08 PM
im sleepy now after reading so much. zzzz ., but it would b intresting if i had the patients.
re: What is Freestyle?
By Kelly2003member has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 1603, member since Sun Jan 12, 2003
On Sun Jan 19, 2003 03:03 PM

If I had the patients Id be readin it now but Im really 2 tired! I'll read a line a day if that keeps u happy Noodlesluke! lol

Loadza luv Kelly xxxx
re: What is Freestyle?
By Kelly2003member has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 1603, member since Sun Jan 12, 2003
On Sun Jan 19, 2003 03:36 PM
Oh but it is gud tho dnt get me wrong!!

Loadza luv Kelly xxxx

Comment #550230 deleted
Removed by AussieAsherina (19072) on 2003-01-21 16:54:59 Flooding the board with nonsense
Removed by Theresa (28613) on 2010-06-26 09:03:47 Wow, I do NOT know how that got there@!

re: What is Freestyle?
By DANCEPAC Comments: 1317, member since Sat Jan 12, 2002
On Thu Jan 23, 2003 06:16 AM
Wow - thats such a long article. no spaces, hard to read, to much info burning my eyes. . . . :)

What is disco in a simple explanation??

re: What is Freestyle? (karma: 2)
By xxxAdamxxxmember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 4174, member since Thu Apr 04, 2002
On Thu Jan 23, 2003 09:02 AM
Im afraid there isn't one...

Erm, high impact, fast, disco-like moves. So not meaningful contemporary moves, or ballet disciplined moves, but not frestyle clubbing moves either lol

a routine mainly consists of spins, kicks, splitz, high jumps, etc - interesting arm movements, things that look good and eye catching that show skill. The routine will be designed to travel in a circle shape, you can then travel around the whole dancefloor and get noticed by the judges. All dancers down and `knocked-out` down to about 5-7 and those daners dane a final and get placed.

re: What is Freestyle?
By DANCEPAC Comments: 1317, member since Sat Jan 12, 2002
On Thu Jan 23, 2003 09:09 AM
So the marking scheme would be something like ballroom/sportdance

Everyone gets a number and the dancers are weeded down to the top group??

The dance moves are disco like you said, are you talking John Travolta??

re: What is Freestyle?
By xxxAdamxxxmember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 4174, member since Thu Apr 04, 2002
On Thu Jan 23, 2003 09:11 AM
Yes that's how the marking works, no, Im afraid the disco age has moved on since John Travolta, do you live in the UK? There's gonna be a programme on BBC bout Laura Simms and they filmed her at a comp,

re: What is Freestyle?
By freakyvibes Comments: 303, member since Mon Jan 06, 2003
On Fri Jan 24, 2003 01:20 PM
re: What is Freestyle?
By Chelzmember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 5806, member since Tue Dec 10, 2002
On Tue Jan 28, 2003 09:26 AM


re: What is Freestyle?
By rhythm_5678 Comments: 103, member since Sun Feb 16, 2003
On Mon Feb 17, 2003 08:17 AM
when is the BBC programme on bout freestyle then, any1 kno? or has it already been broadcast????
re: What is Freestyle?
By juliethedivagirl Comments: 33, member since Sun Feb 16, 2003
On Sat Feb 22, 2003 02:13 PM
re: What is Freestyle?
By luckyclover26 Comments: 1093, member since Mon Jan 13, 2003
On Sat Feb 22, 2003 08:33 PM
I only read like, four sentences and then I gave up, hee hee.
By NIMSAJmember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 143, member since Fri Dec 27, 2002
On Sun Feb 23, 2003 10:05 PM
wat was that soz missed it.hahaha nah neva mind me just bein wierd
re: What is Freestyle?
By holz Comments: 114, member since Thu Feb 13, 2003
On Wed Feb 26, 2003 02:22 PM
i don't think i wanna bother reading that it's 2 much it will take me 4ever
re: What is Disco/Freestyle? (karma: 5)
By Ursula_Mayor Comments: 968, member since Sat Feb 15, 2003
On Wed Mar 05, 2003 07:50 AM
Gee, everybody's so concerned about saying how long the post was and how tired they get reading it and how fast they give up. What's the point? If you don't want to read it, then you have no comment to make on it.
I just want to say how surprised I was when I read this piece of information. I had no idea that there were disco dance classes, exibitions and competitions. I've seen "Saturday Night Fever" and I loved it (mostly because of the music and the night life people had back in the 70's), but I didn't know that disco dance had improved till it became an actual dance discipline.
I still have a few questions about it:
- Do disco dancers always perform barefoot?
- Are there non-competitive disco shows?
- Are there professional disco dancers?
- Can it be considered artistic dance nowadays or is it just social dance?

Can someone answer me? Thanks.

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