Dance Improv 101

The action of improvising.
Something that is improvised, especially a piece of music, drama, etc., created without preparation.
When faced with improvisation, commonly known as improv, people tend to freak out. I wanted to offer some helpful tips that are good to remember during dance improv, or dance in general. Let’s get started!
  1. Use your entire body.
    • For the most part, unless you want to emphasize one specific movement (e.g. flexing a foot), make sure your whole body is moving to create one whole feeling.
  2. Remember your details!
    • Small things like a pointed foot or strength in your arms are just as important as the big picture.
  3. Don’t forget to use emotion.
    • Sometimes, the audience will connect more with a dancer’s emotion than their movement. Keep this in mind and try to connect with everybody in the audience.
  4. Improv is a show starring you.
    • Not everybody enjoys the spotlight, which is why improv can make some people nervous. When you improv, try and forget where you are. Focus on your movements and not other people. Dance is more interesting to watch if the dancer is truly involved in their movement.
  5. Use a range of movement.
    • If you are stuck, try thinking of the different levels, body parts, emotions, or combinations you can use.
  6. Style.
    • If you imagine a specific feeling, word, or emotion in your head, you can develop your own style. Dancing doesn’t have to be all about moves or combinations other people created.
  7. Song.
    • How does the specific song make you feel? Try and use that feeling to come up with movement or emotion.
  8. Practice.
    • Yep, you can even practice improv, which is created without preparation. Turn on your radio at home, or play some music from your phone and just dance. Nobody’s watching! Practicing improv at home gives you a chance to practice any skills or combinations of movement. It’s good to turn on a song you haven’t heard before to see how you react for the first time.

Keep practicing! -Kat



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