8 things you can do to win online dance battles

As many of you may know, I’ve been going hard at online battles ever since this pandemic has started. I think I’ve over 20 to 30 battles overall and I came up with a few points that will allow you to do well in online battles. In this article, I will be sharing tips about what you can do right now to increase your chances to pass prelims, beat your opponents, and win. I do want to say, at the time of writing this article, I’ve only ever won two. However I’ve made it out of prelims almost 70% of the battles I’ve been in. So take this advice with a grain of salt.

I will also be taking a break from battles for a while to focus on my training as well as give my wife a chance to not kill me for dirtying up so many clothes every day. I’ve been dancing pretty much 6 out of 7 days a week. I’ve definitely feel like I’ve lost some weight but also feel tired all the time. So if you go down this path like I did, you will most definitely level up.

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1. Check the hashtags

So I won’t be able to tell you a cheat to pass prelims, you need to already have the skills to pass prelims before. But what you can do to make you stand out and be different is to check the dance battle’s Hashtags to see what everyone else is doing. Then do something different. You have to realize that being a judge, you sometimes have to watch hundreds of entries. It can get draining. So as a contestant, you have to stand out.

Here is what you can do to stand out:

  • Dress differently, wear colors that are bold. Make the judges think, dang this person is entering this battle looking CORRECT!!!
  • Do a different style. If everyone is doing Electric Boogaloo style, You do animation. (Just don’t forget to pop).
  • If everyone is dancing but staying still, like not moving from the spot that they started, you move all over the place, just not too much. The judges will think, thank you! Someone finally started moving.

2. Avoid battles that involve crowd votes

I’ve done a few of these, even pass prelims because of a crowd vote, but to me it feels like a popularity contest. If you have a big following or if you get a ton of support from your community you will win. Skill isn’t really a factor because anyone can send out mass messages saying, hey, please support and vote for me. But I get why battle organization wants to include the vote feature, to get the crowd involved. I like the battles that have judges but use the crowd just in case there is a tie. I think that is a nice compromise. So any battles where it’s all crowd vote, stay away!

3. Equipment

Here is a list of equipments you need to have set up before attempting an online battle. Please listen to this one because this will save you a huge headache and lose if your on an online live battle.

  • Check your internet connection before the online live battle. Make sure you are as close to your modem as possible or even better use a Ethernet cord.
  • Use a laptop to play music while recording with your phone. There is a way to record and play music at the same time, but it’s too annoying for me to have to switch apps while recording. So just use your laptop.
  • Get yourself a tripod for your phone. Trust me, this will make your angles look so much better. Coming from a guy that just filmed dance video where the phone was just laying on the ground. It’s much less of a headache.
  • Use an aux cord to connect your laptop to your speaker. Bluetooth is fine if you don’t have one, but there will be a delay if you are on a live battle over Zoom app or Streamyard. Aux is the way to go.
  • Lights make a huge difference. These are the lights that I bought, a little expensive, but could be a game changer because it allows the judges to be able to see all the details that you are doing in your dance. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MRXPHID/ref=dp_cerb_2

4. Research

There is some amazing advice from the book, the art of war where they say, if you know yourself but not know your enemy, your chances of winning are 50/50. But if you don’t know yourself or your enemy, you will lose. If you know both yourself and your enemy, you will win. Do yourself a favor and do your research. Once you’ve pass prelims, most battles will post who made it pass prelims. Take some time to review all of your potential opponents. Get a sense of who you are going up against. Develop strategies to beat everyone in the top 16 and when you find out who you face, you’ll know exactly what you need to do.

5. Re-record over and over until you get a good round

I know this sounds whack, but think about it. The more you do something, the better you will get. There is no shame in doing what it takes to win. The way I look at it is, it’s a drill for me. I find myself trying new things, experimenting and figuring out what works and what doesn’t work by recording myself over and over. There was one day where I spent a good 6 hours trying to get a good round. Dead tired afterwards. But wasn’t able to get a good round in. Sometimes we have off days. So I tried again the following day and was able to record one on the first try.

6. Where to point the camera

Please please please, do not record yourself in front of a window. You will look like a dark shadowy figure. No one will be able to see what your doing. If you are recording outside, make sure the sun is in front of you instead of behind you.

7. Who are the Judges?

Do some more research on the judges themselves, look up the battles that they have judged before and try and think of how they would judge you. You can youtube the judges name on youtube and type vs after their name to get videos of the judges getting down. Some judges value groove over everything. Some judges value concepts. Some judges value looking unreal. etc. So research your judges and make a plan on what to do base off of the judges decisions in the pass.

8. Decide who you want to win over

There are many ways of winning a battle. You can win over the respect of the judges. You can win over the respect of the crowd. You can win the contest. Or you can win the respect of yourself. Choose what battle you want to win over and you will most definitely level up afterwards. Here is an example. I recently made it to the top 16 of this battle in Japan. It was the Samurai 1v1 popping. I immediately lost in the first battle but because I made it to the top 16, I was getting endless love from the people I know and even random messages from people that I didn’t know. I was also getting request for private lessons. So even though I lost that battle, the fact that I made it on to the top 16 meant that I had already won over the respect of my peers. That is a win that will last a lifetime. Or at least longer then the money from the battle.

So I hope this advice helps you. Keep in mind this does not at all improve your chances of winning if you don’t already have skills. This does not replace drilling, learning, practicing. This will help improve your chances, but if you don’t have the skills to move on, then there’s nothing you can do but get back to training. Get a teacher! Get advice from your peers. Learn from everyone. Session with people over zoom. That is how you level up.

If you’ve been in an online dance battle and have advice you wouldn’t mind sharing. Feel free to leave it in the comments below!

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