Freestyle classes are a gateway for disaster for the lazy-minded or uncommitted. Structured classes are the gateway for shutting down an ingenious mind which can create change in the world. Those who refuse or can not contribute time to their skills should stick to pre-choreographed programs. Those who are willing to take responsibility for their own growth should be allowed to express their ideas. Without that expression, there would have been no Step, no Spin, no Zumba, no Boot Camp, NOTHING! If a teacher has passion and is willing to work to harness it, stay out of their way and let them soar! Otherwise, we are at a deadend industry! The future is with the ‘creaters’! Let them create…
BTW, students who can not follow ‘freestyle’ can ot do so because their motor skills have been not trained to do so. That being said. training the body to ‘react’ and reproduce spontaneously feeds the brain cells and the reflexes. There is nothing to benefit from doing the same thing when compared to material that is renewed for the particpant. The trick is the help the particpant slowly adapt so we dont frustrate them. Whether people say they want it or not, they will embrace any success they experience relative to a newly found skill, bar none, provided they aare made to feel ‘successful’! Even those who say ‘I dont wat to think’ really mean ‘I dont want to fail’. Psychological this and that…..
Okay – I have read the threads and would like to contribute to this lively discussion. No matter how many LM classes I take I am always frustrated somewhere along the way. Cueing, stopping when heart rate is soaring, moves that are too complicated for beginners etc… There are issues with every class. I have even noticed that an LM class contains a “style” that belongs to the creators and it’s present in every new release. So participants aren’t really getting new choreography but rearranged choreography. This happens with those that create their own choreography. This is why we encourage our participants to try all the different workouts available.
Freestyle doesn’t mean”winging it”. Or it shouldn’t. Having sound musicology and understanding the numbers is basic for phrasing. A basic, vstep, and an Lstep equals 16 and self repeats or is symmetrical equaling 32 or one phrase. The instructor can then assess whether the participants can handle another layer of difficulty such as direction changes. It doesn’t matter how many layers the instructor has prepared if the group can handle only the first layer or scaffold then that is all you give them. Instead of layering in difficulty add a new group of 32 that is also balanced, easy to follow, and yet still engaging. In an LM class it doesn’t matter about the participant the class is predetermined from the get go.
One thing we forget as instructors is that we get bored faster than the group because we have practiced it to death. So we layer in changes too quickly and don’t give the group enough time to experience that feeling of success which is exactly what they need. Confidence. There is always someone new joining the class even an LM class. We can’t assume our participants know what’s coming. It’s our job to tell them.. It’s called cueing. Good cueing is crucial to the success of the participant.
Freestyle vs choreography? It all depends on your definition of the terms. I choreograph my workouts and practice in my home all the time but — if I have a group that look like they are struggling it can change in a heartbeat to suit their needs. Suddenly we are doing step/circuit or alternating easy patterns with intensity intervals. Is that freestyle or experience? Is it my workout or theirs?
Freestyle has nothing to do with whether there’s a class plan. It has to do with whether the instructor has created their own class plan or whether the instructor has purchased a license to a format like Insanity or RIPPED etc. where the plan and choreography are provided.
It requires different skills for the instructor. Freestyle means coming up wih a class framework and determining the best way to implement it, and modifying as necessary for individuals who need options. Pre-choreo is to memorize and repeat someone else’s work as they intended it.
Well taught, it shouldn’t feel much different for the participant, other than that class plans will usually change more often for freestyle classes than for prechoreographed formats.