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More Articles

Where Obedience Leaves Off and Freestyle Starts
A Rose Is A Rose Is A Rose
The Freestyle Challenge
Getting Started With Freestyle
Definition of Freestyle and Structure of a Freestyle Performance
More Than Just Heeling
Creative Development of Movement
Music, Rhythm and Freestyle
Understanding Required Moves
Do I Have to Dance?
Freestyle - A Point of View
Training: a New Mindset
My Introduction to Training a Freestyle Dog
It Takes Three - The Audience
Choreography: How to Begin
40x50 Feet: The Empty Canvas
Rhythm: The Great Organizer
What is a Guild

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What exactly is Freestyle? The question can be perceived in many different ways. Do I mean a definition, do I mean a performance, or perhaps it’s an attitude. Over the last five years as I teach, choreograph or explain the whys and wherefores of Freestyle there is a word that keeps popping up in my head. The word is sharing.

It seems to me that sharing has been the primary element in developing this sport. When I first choreographed for Freestyle there were, to our knowledge, no guidelines to follow. We worked together. Each choreographed presentation was sharing of our different skills and talents. The dog, the handler, and the choreographer shared their special gifts and talents to create the choreography. The musicians and the composer of the selected music also shared unknowingly. When the pieces were all put together the choreography was shared through the performance of the dog and handler with an audience. The audience shared their enjoyment with applause. The presentation of the choreography had communicated something to the audience that caused them to react. Without sharing would this have happened?

The opportunity to share is an interesting concept. However, it is not unique to Freestyle. Sharing is part of our existence everyday. Without the sharing of experiences, skills and visions, would Alison and I have co-founded the Canine Freestyle Federation. We have shared the vision through teaching, writing, choreographing and developing demonstrations to educate others. If Freestyle is to continue to grow we must continue to share both our time and our talents.

Teaching is sharing. Both the teacher and the student share particularly in a Freestyle class. But the sharing is not just between the instructor and the student. There is also the sharing between the dog and the handler. There is the sharing of each of the class members with each other. You have to give freely in order to share. It is the giving with no strings attached and accepted in the same manner which creates the trusting and safe environment which allows creativity to flow and to develop the craft of choreography. Without this type of environment the creative portion of each of my classes would not be as successful.

Freestyle as a sport is still young. We need to share our visions of our sport with each other. We need to share experiences, we need to share our skills and our time. Without this we will find success difficult to achieve. Share your thoughts with us. By sharing we can all be the pioneers of our sport.

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