Rave dancing is different from many other styles of dance because everyone out on the dance floor is doing their own thing. While at some moments the entire crowd will jump in unison, for the most part the goal of rave dancing is for each individual to express the movements that the music inspires. For some dancers, rave dancing includes hip-hop moves, but for many others it is a completely free-form dance.
Music and Rave Dance
Rave dancing is 100% dictated by the music. Common musical styles at raves include trance music, electronica, and hip hop. Rave dancing is one of the most effective stress relievers because, like all physical activity, stress levels go down, and because there are no prescribed steps to learn and execute, this style of dancing does not create any stress for the dancer. While country line dancing and Latin dancing can be relaxing once you know the steps, raves are stress relieving from the very first time you step out on the dance floor.
Rave dancing is an all-encompassing dance form. While there are no particular steps to execute in unison with the others on the dance floor, there is a signature style; namely, rave dancing is done with the entire body. Whether you are stepping to the left and right, jumping up and down, or simply swinging your hips, you're going to want to get your upper body and your arms involved. Wave your arms in the air, extend them up and down, punch the air in front of you, or make circles with your arms, whatever each piece of music inspires in you.
One of the more difficult aspects of rave dancing is trying to make your movements look big even though you are, most often, on a crowded dance floor. While it is virtually impossible to never hit others with your arms, try to minimize this by making your dancing very repetitive. Dancers at a rave often pick one type of movement and then repeat it for an entire song. If you want to punch the air in front of your body, carve out a space in front of you and start your motion, and continue it. If you are continuously extending your arms in front of you, it is unlikely that another dancer will move into this space.
Remember that rave dancing is a very personal experience. Raving is an improvisational, internal dance, without an audience. Move your whole body, following the inspiration of the music. Each person on the dance floor is having his own personal experience with the music and the movement. You have no audience to impress; rave dancing is about your own experience and expression.
Dance Steps to Try
For those who have never been to a rave and find the idea of improvisation overwhelming, try some of these dance steps at home before going to a rave. While you may not end up executing any of these steps on the dance floor, knowing them before you go may relieve any anxiety that you have about the rave style.
A high-energy move, this one can be repeated over and over again for an excellent workout while you are at a rave.
- Lift your right knee to waist height
- As you bring your right foot back to the floor, slide your left foot backwards by lifting the heel and sliding on the ball of your foot
- Lift your left knee to waist height
- Slide your right foot to the back as your left foot comes back to the floor
This is called the running man because it looks like you are running but you stay in place, making it an ideal move for the crowded rave dance floor.
Breaking (Break Dancing)
This simple step looks impressive on the dance floor.
- Hopping on the right foot, cross the left foot in front of the right one, tapping it on the floor as you hop
- Repeat the step to the left, with a double hop
This simple step can be extended out to cross once in front, then out to the side instead of simply moving to the front cross with the other foot.
The most basic jump style move consists of five hops, kicking the lifted foot. The arms are simply held loosely, with most of the movement being in the legs and body:
- Hop on left foot, kicking right foot forward about a foot in the air.
- Draw the right foot back and repeat step number 1.
- Switch feet, hopping onto the right foot and kicking the left foot forward
- Hop on the right foot again, but kick the left foot backwards.
- Hop back on the left foot, kicking the right foot back and low.
This sequence can be repeated, or varied with other moves compiled into a jumpstyle routine.
Rave Dance Accessories: Glow Sticks
The neon colors of glow sticks (both the chemically activated kind and battery-operated LED lights) light up this form of rave dance. Sometimes these are held in the hands and moved around to accentuate arm movements Some dancers take this further, putting the glow sticks on the ends of thin cords and using a form of juggling known as "poi" or "spinning" to create wheels of light in the air timed to the music. For self-conscious dancers, this can be a method for shifting the focus from your dance moves to the glow sticks.
Observing the Pros
The best way to learn how to rave dance is to start going to raves. Every group is different, so observe how the other dancers are moving while you are on the dance floor. While you can master breaking, jump style, and other individual steps before going to a rave, remember that rave dancing is all about your own body's interpretation of the music. Close your eyes and let the music guide you and your moves will be perfect.