Canine Freestyle or Dancing with Dogs as it is often referred to, is an increasingly popular Sport where humans and dogs perform moves to music. Most of the times these moves have been choreographed to specific pieces of music, thus giving the ilusion of a "dance". Hence, although to the onlooker it seems that the dog is moving to the music, the music has actually been carefully selected for that particular dog to give this impression.

 The beauty of Freestyle is the sheer unending possibilities and the lack of "rules". In Freestyle "anything" is allowed. In most organizations around the world there are no compulsory moves and the only rule you will find is that the moves must be safe for human and dog. This makes Freestyle a Sport where truly anybody (old, young, male, female) and any dog (large, small, pedigreed, rescue or "mutt next door") can compete successfully. The art of Freestyle lies in the true understanding of one's dog, the assessment  of both the human as well as the dog's abilities, and last but certainly not least a deep trust and resulting partnership and bond between human and dog.

Many people immediately associate "Dog Dancing" with dogs standing on their back legs. This is however far from  the truth. While back leg work is definitely allowed, the vast majority of routines will show very little of that, concentrating rather on "4 legged" work and exploring the vast and seemingly unending possibilities of moves and combination of moves between human and dog. The challenge to the handler is not to simply copy and teach moves based on their spectator value, but find moves that showcase their particular dog's strengths and hiding or minimizing his or her weaknesses. Freestyle is all about showcasing the dog, with the human taking, while active and  "leading the performance", definitely a presenting, more subdued role. This does not mean we do not see some spectacular work by humans. However the aim is to leave the spectator with an impression of the amazing dog, rather than the amazing human. 

Some of the more spectacular routines will have dogs leaping through the air, over or onto their handlers or some prop, dogs working at distance away from their handlers, seemingly undirected and just "knowing what to do", crawling or putting in dramatic pauses just where the music requires them to. As in all types of activities, these are usually teams working at the very top of the Sport, inspiring others and lighting the imagination of spectators. Famous, well known routines would be Attila and Fly in both the Charlie Chaplin, as well as the Gladiator routines, recently on the TV show "Britain has Talent" the young lady Kate with her dog Jin, Sandra Davis and Pepper in "Achy Breaky Heart", Carolyn Scott and Rookie to "You are the One", Tina Humphrey with her dog Chandi in several routines, this one at Crufts (UK) in 2007.

If you are interested in learning or just reading how a new freestyle routine is created, check out Lollie's blog. There is a series of blogs that were written during the creation of a freestyle routine for Chippy. 

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