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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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One of the most frequently asked questions regarding Freestyle is "How do I select my music for my presentation?" Before you make a musical selection you must, first, understand the importance of rhythm. Rhythm is the most powerful element of your choreography. It is rousing and persuasive. Musical selection is made by the rhythm heard in the underlying beat of a musical choice. The beat focuses the movement in a dramatic manner. Rhythm demands attention from the spectator, therefore it helps you, as the choreographer, to showcase the dog’s movement and to craft visual images to show the bond between you and your dog.

Rhythm is a part of every aspect of our lives. There are the rhythms of nature such as ebb and flow of tides or the seasons. There are mechanical rhythms such as the ticking of a clock or the sound of a motor. Rhythm is a flow or movement characterized by regular recurrences of beat and accent. There is the rhythm of speech, of the heart and of footsteps when we walk. Rhythm is the great organizer, lending a sense of structure to everything we do. Aesthetically we use the term rhythm to describe the relationships of parts to a whole. All art forms, especially dance and music, utilize rhythmic organization to enhance spectator enjoyment. Everyone responds to a beat as long as a pattern is discerned. To better understand the power of rhythm think about your emotional reaction to a dripping faucet. The rhythmic sound demands your attention and drives you to locate the source.

In Freestyle there are two choices of rhythmic organization for the focal point: the dog’s rhythm or the handler’s rhythm. The spectator’s eye will be drawn to the team member maintaining the rhythm. Rhythmically focusing on the dog’s movement visually creates the concept of team because the handler’s movements can then enhance the dog’s movement. If the music fits the handler’s movement rather the the dog’s the focus is on the handler, not the dog and not the team. This is because the dog does not have sufficient range of motion or adaptability of rhythm to adjust to enhance the handler. One half of the team enhancing the other half is what creates the image of team. Since the dog cannot adapt sufficiently to enhance the handler, we choose a rhythm to suit the dog and then the handler adjusts to enhance the dog.

Listen to the rhythm when choosing music for a Freestyle presentation. Try to visualize your dog moving to that rhythm. Listen to all styles of music, even those you normally avoid. Each style has its own emotional quality. Your selection of music should have a strong beat which you, your dog and your spectators can hear and relate to. Choose music with a rhythm to fit the dog’s movement, then your movement as a handler can enhance the dog’s movement.

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