In 1978 the era of Disco dancing was truly born in the UK when Saturday night Fever hit the screens. Dance classes specialising in Travolta’s "Night Fever" routines quickly became popular in all areas of the UK and gradually teachers had to carry on where the film left off. The term Freestyle has largely replaced Disco over recent years. Disco related to the type of steps and movements that can be performed in a Discotheque; they are simple and require little space. Freestyle has evolved to include more travelling steps such as runs and spins, which require more space. Competitive dancers, particularly in the higher grades, now use the floor to its best advantage; movement and projection being an integral part of their performance. 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, kicks and flicks, jumps and leaps and also balletic type movements. The development of a top class Freestyle dancer requires the understanding of several basic principals in order to create good style and technique: good timing, projection, presentation and personality are all key.
Grading for Freestyle Amateurs
Solo: Beginner / Starter / Intermediate / Championship
Pairs: Beginner / Intermediate / Championship
Competitors will change to a higher grade on losing three lives in their own grade or being placed in the final off a higher-grade competition in which there are more than six participants. In the case of solo intermediates at least one life should be a first place. The number of lives lost is determined by the number of competitors in the first round of the event.
Rules regarding costumes
Beginners: May only wear item of a plain coloured basic design usually in lycra fabric either in 1 piece or 2 piece, each item must be 1 single colour without added decoration of any type, i.e. any cut out, lattice work, belts, anklets, slits or slashes, or leg warmers. Commercial sports wear is not allowed. Matching hair ties, scrunchies that meet the criteria are allowed.
Starter: Outfits made of any fabric including foil fabrics, but not sequin fabrics, they may be of any design, but may not have any added beads, sequins, rhinestones, or any other form of added glitter to the manufactured material.
Intermediate/Championship: costumes can be covered in stones, sequins, beads. Any design, any fabric, any colours and as elaborate as the dancer wishes.
With thanks to Stephen Reece-Buck