Freestyle & Battles

Freestyle dance is improvised movement where a dancer can choose how to express how they perceive the music. One of the only limitations that apply to freestyle are technical skills! Freestyling grew popular during the 1970’s / Disco Era when street dancers would express themselves in various funk dance and breakdance styles.

Freestyle dance can be taught, as there are tactics and concepts to improving musicality, choice of movement, crowd appeal, connection and more. Developing these skills will often coincide with the personal growth and confidence of a dancer. By discovering your own possibilities and strength in creation, you will truly learn HOW TO DANCE by learning how to freestyle. This skill will make all the years of dance training worth it, when you’re able to dance ANYWHERE! You can find dancers freestyling on their own, in a cypher, in battles and all over!


What’s a Cypher?

A cypher consists of a group of dancers, usually formed in a “circle”, that take turns and exchange (freestyle together). This is generally an encouraging atmosphere and non-competitive, although some cyphers are more like battles and dancers will call one another out.


What’s a Dance Battle?

A battle is a gathering, large or small,  where dancers will compete to gain credit as the best dancer in the room of their respected style. Battles will often have one or more judges, an Emcee, and a DJ, and can also be found in cyphers and not as a formal event.

The battle will start off with Preliminary rounds where each dancer will either ‘showcase’ for approximately one minute to the judge(s), or there will be dancers that face one other and battle for one minute each. For preliminary battles there is no winner, and the battle is only for the judge(s) to assess skill level of each dancer. After preliminaries, the judge(s) will select Top 32, 16 or 8 for the battles to begin. Dancers will battle until reaching Top 8 = Quarter Finals, Top 4 = Semi Finals, & then Top 2 = Finals. The winner of Finals is the champion of the battle! Occasionally, the judges will tie rounds, and dancers will have to battle again.


Tell me about Battle Format…

1v1: the standard format where each dancer enters the battle as an individual.

2v2 (or more): dancers create teams and battle against other teams; in this format, one dancer from each team will battle one dancer from the other team, and both dancers will take a turn to battle in each round.

7-to-Smoke is a much different format which stems from the B-boy community. There are only 8 dancers selected through preliminaries. Two dancers will go in position across from each other to battle, and the other 6 will form a line. The winning dancer will remain in place, and the next dancer in line will come to battle them. In order to win a 7-to-smoke, one dancer must be the first to win 7 rounds.


What is an All-Styles battle?

An All-Styles battle does not have limits on the style of dance that you can battle with. For instance, a dancer can do a preliminary round with Popping, and can then do Waacking in Top 8, and Break Dance in Top 4 etc. Dancers should battle with the style(s) that showcase their best technique and abilities, and it is usually not recommended to do more than one style in each round, unless the dancer is very advanced and is very strong in both styles; some judges do not like this. The definition of an All-Styles battle may be different depending on who you ask; we have seen many different formats.

What is an Open-Styles battle?

Open-Styles battles are similar to All-Styles, because there will be many dancers participating with various styles. The difference is that the dancer must announce their style before their round begins; some battles will require that dancer to continue with that style for the entire battle. The definition of an Open-Styles battle may be different depending on who you ask; we have seen many different formats.