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
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