What’s DDR Freestyle?

In 1998, Konami released Dance Dance Revolution into arcades. Its immersive and interactive gameplay sparked a phenomenon that was unlike any that had come before it. Crowds of people flocked around the arcade machine with its bright colorful lights and pulsing electronic musical beats. Players were not merely pushing buttons; they were moving, grooving, and giving people something to get excited about. The magnetic nature of DDR pulled together a wide range of dedicated players and communities formed in arcades all across the world.

Throughout the early 2000s, Dance Dance Revolution’s competitive scene was on fire. On any given weekend, you could find an arcade in the United States hosting a tournament. The main event of these tournaments that drew the most interest was the Freestyle competition. Freestyle was the “Dance” in Dance Dance Revolution where competitors would perform choreographed dance routines in front of enormous crowds. Freestyle allowed the unique opportunity for players to inject their own creativity and showmanship, thus making it visual performance art.

As the years went by, the DDR tournament scene gradually shifted towards technical (score-based) gameplay as it was a more empirical format. While loyal and dedicated players have kept the scene alive through incredible feats of technical gameplay, Freestyle faded away. Gone for too long, but not forgotten…

                      Photo Credit: Carl Valencia

Fast forward to January of 2018 and we throw an incredible revival freestyle event Round1 San Jose, we collectively agreed that we did not want DDR Freestyle to be a one-night only affair. We want to celebrate the pioneers who put freestyle on the map, we want to foster the next generation of freestylers who’ll leave their mark on the dance pads in 2018 and beyond. We’ll do it with podcasts, videos, and tournaments, and we’ll do it here at Freestyle Takeover. #DDRFreestyle