Open Style Choreography

What is Open style choreography?

Written by Dan Jang: Physiotherapist and Dancer (yes I’m in these photos!)

A lot of people might be unfamiliar with the term yet they are probably exposed to this dance style on the media and entertainment without really thinking about it. Open Style Choreography puts an emphasis on learning, practicing and executing pieces of choreography. Since 2020 there has been a lot of movement to coin Open Style Choreography instead of Urban as it is deemed a derogatory term.

Open style choreography takes many moves and components out of hip hop, popping, breaking, jazz, lyrical and contemporary and other dance styles and focuses on expressing a story, emotions, experiences through different moves, beatS, rhythm, sounds and lyrics of a song.

There are major competitions all over the world including VIBE dance competition, Arena dance competition, and interestingly HHI(Hip Hop international) in Australia which is also a big competition focusing on choreography.

I (Dan here) personally used to be in a small professional team back in South Korea.

What are the Benefits of Open style Choreography?

There are many benefits to Open style Choreography and are not just limited to physical benefits.

Physical Benefits

– Coordination : Hand to eye coordination, upper limb and lower limb coordination are constantly challenged with dynamic movements. Coordination is key but don’t worry too much if you feel un-coordinated as dance moves are usually broken down into pieces for you to follow along.

– Balance: There are hardly any moves that are done staying still on your feet. Some of the impressive or fun moves are done on one leg. It doesn’t require as much balance as ballet but does require rapid change of footing which challenges your base of support.

– Cardiovascular: You will be sweating and huffing if you learn a piece of choreography that does push your cardio. A standard piece usually lasts around 1minute. To learn the 1 minute you might be drilling the same part of the choreography over and over again at high intensity. Some pieces require you to move your legs and arms quite rapidly and with this constant rapid movement your body will be demanding more energy and oxygen during your session.

– Body awareness and control: Similar to coordination, you might become more aware of where your body is. Majority of classes are done in front of a mirror and to start you will get a lot of visual feedback. Furthermore, a lot of the musical texture is expressed through control of the body and as you get used to this style you will feel quite confident of where and what a limb is doing at what speed and strength.

Dan Dancer

Non-Physical Benefits

– Expression: One of the non-physical benefits of this dance is expressing yourself which is often very liberating. Although you usually learn a set choreography many teachers don’t mind if you add a bit of flavour/flare to the moves.

– Creativity: Once you are used to a few moves you might want to make some choreography on your own. Breaking up things you have learnt and adding bits and pieces to create your own little masterpiece can be a very fun thing to do. It might come naturally or it might take you some time but is an area that is definitely worth trying once you have the basics.

– Accessibility: You might have access to a dance class near you. If not or if it’s not affordable you can try online video tutorials in your own home/room. There is a plethora of ‘Learn How To Dance’ videos and tutorials and some paid subscription sites that offer high quality dance classes online.

If you are interested in finding out more about this type of dance style please feel free to get in touch with the team at Barefoot Physiotherapy. Dan would love to share his passion for this style of dance with more people. If you are looking for a physiotherapist to help with any dancer related niggles or injuries you can click here to book an appointment and if you enjoyed this blog please check out our blog on Physical Activity for Mental Health.

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