One Little Trick

2005 Los Angeles World Hip Hop Dance Championships. A relatively unknown crew wins the audiences heart and the judges vote, but what they did at 1 minute 22 seconds into their routine redefined the event, and gained them Legendary status. What they did they do?

When you are competing in dance event you know that it is important stand our from the crowd. The highest scoring dance routine according to Hip Hop International

contains a variety of street dance styles, showmanship, original signature moves, engaging music and a demonstration of continuous and uninterrupted complete body (head to toe) hip hop dance choreography without overuse of gymnastic; cheer, acrobatics or very dangerous moves.

But what you really want to do, to stand out in the minds of those watching, is evoke an emotional response that leaves  a lasting impression.  A will timed ‘trick’ will do exactly that.

What is a dance ‘trick’? There is no one definition of a trick that covers all moves but in general a trick is any move or combination of moves that add a visual surprise or is executed in an unconventional manner, or a comes from outside of  a dance styles genre. Most often tricks are considered to be gymnastic in nature, however a trick can be inspired from almost anything, cartoons, films, games, etc.

The key is ‘unexpected’. Although some tricks, especially visual or gymnastic tricks may take some time to setup, the best tricks have their  ‘setup’ seamlessly integrated into in the choreography in such a way that the audience doesn’t anticipate it. It is a complete give away when a dance runs to on side of the stage, raises their arms and extent ends one of their legs; most judges will immediately predict that a tumbling pass is about to start. But if the same tumbling pass were to occur out of a triple pirouette or in the middle of a popping routine, remains on the music, and seemlessly begins the next section of the choreography, the surprise turns on the ‘wow’ factor and makes the moment memorable. Even a simple cartwheel or just walking at an unexpected moment can create a memorable moment, and if it is distinctive enough, it becomes a signature move that will always be associated with you. A memorable moment is so important that when the judges are choosing the winner will stick out in their minds.

So, think about your next piece. How can you weave a seamless and unexpected trick into the choreo?

Trick the judges. You won’t regret it.

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P.S. Have a look at what World Hip Hop Dance Champions, ‘Plague’ from the UK  did in 2005. This routine has several memorable moments that, at the time, where SO unique that they are still inspiring choreographers to use variations even today.


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