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
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.