Getty Images/TikTok

How to Slay TikTok Dance Trends, According to Your Favorite Creators

As TikTok becomes increasingly popular and mainstream, more and more users—from teenage comedians to celebrities like Ashley Tisdale—are hopping on the app to create videos worthy of the "For You" page. And given that dance challenges are among the most popular trends on the music-driven platform, it's no surprise that some of our favorite dance creators have now logged on to show off their skills.

Why is dance in particular so likely to go viral on the app? "It's something that everybody can use to communicate, no matter what their language is, what their differences are," says 16-year-old Sofia Wylie, one of the most popular TikTok creators, as well as a star on the Disney hit show "High School Musical: The Musical: The Series." That relatability factor makes dance perfect for TikTok, whose algorithm allows for anyone to have their content seen by a wide audience. Of course, dance is also fun to watch and replicate, and TikTok's duet feature—where users can record side-by-side with others—allows for everyone to dance to the song of the moment, whether it's another tune from Doja Cat or a new rendition of "Renegade" (which is one of Sofia's favorite TikTok dances).


@sofiawylie

pov: you wake up your new robot and set it to tik tok mode but it starts having a lil too much fun🤖 ib: theanagarrett

♬ BDASH Breathe - bdash_2

"Creating on TikTok is really fun because it's a lot of people that are my age from around the world," says 16-year-old Tahani Anderson, an alum of "So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation." "Different countries, different cities, different states—you get to see a lot of people and styles on one app."

Both Tahani and Sofia started creating a few years ago on Musical.ly, an app that eventually was merged into TikTok. Dancer and vlogger Sierra Neudeck, on the other hand, joined a little later in the game, though the 18-year-old has quickly become a TikTok standout. "I've brought my professional dance background over to TikTok by making sure all of my dances are unique," Sierra says. "We're all a big community on TikTok and we all support one another, so whenever I see fans' dances, I take inspiration from them, or make note of a move I love that they do."

@sierraneudeck

i learned the dance from the actual choreographer so here you go #zendaya #dance #foryou

♬ original sound - spencergoulding

So, what's the key to going viral on TikTok?

Step one: Good lighting.

"TikTok is a visual-first app, so you want to make sure you're looking presentable, the background has light in it, and that it's aesthetically pleasing. You want to make sure that you catch the eye of the audience quickly, because they are just scrolling through," Sierra explains. All three girls suggest filming outside if possible. After all, what's better than natural sunlight?

Step two: Add your own style. Because of the massive reach of TikTok, dance trends are recreated millions of times over. But adding your own style and flair will help you stick out on the "For You" page. "I'm very animated when I dance, so on TikTok, I definitely add my own flavor to it by making those little expressions with my face, throwing a bit of a sassy personality into it," says Tahani.

And don't feel like you have to stick to trends! Sofia, Tahani, and Sierra all also choreograph their own dances for TikTok, choosing songs and sounds that'll make someone watching stop scrolling. "I find songs or sounds that are upbeat or fun or throwbacks that I really loved growing up," Sofia says. "The main demographic of TikTok is kids around my age, so we have a lot of the same childhood favorites. Bringing back those nostalgic moments is fun and relatable for everybody."

Another important tip for when you're choreographing original content: Make sure you think about your audience. Many TikTok users will want to be able to recreate your dances, so while you definitely want to add your own spin to them, don't make them so difficult that they can't be duet-ed. "When I'm choreographing for TikTok," Sierra explains, "I do try to add different moves that aren't the typical TikTok steps that everyone knows. But I also make sure that it's easy enough for everyone to do, because not everyone is a dancer."

The final step: Let your authenticity shine—and have fun!

"People love seeing others who are genuine and completely themselves," Sofia says. "Trying to do it for any specific reason—whether it's becoming famous or just getting on the 'For You' page—becomes stressful. It's an app! Don't take it that seriously."

Latest Posts


Courtesy Hollywood Vibe

These Dance Comps and Conventions Are Coming to a Living Room Near You

While dancers all over the world are sharing the heartache of canceled classes, shows, and projects, our hearts hurt especially hard for a group of dancers we at Dance Spirit couldn't admire more: comp and convention kids. Determined to challenge your artistry and learn from cutting-edge faculty, you dancers normally brave crowded ballrooms and nonstop schedules all year long. But just because you might not be in one of those crowded ballrooms for a while doesn't mean that part of your dance life has to grind to a halt.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Getty Images

It’s OK to Grieve: Coping with the Emotional Toll of Canceled Dance Events

Grace Campbell was supposed to be onstage this week. Selected for the Kansas City Ballet School's invitation-only Kansas City Youth Ballet, her performance was meant to be the highlight of her senior year. "I was going to be Queen of the Dryads in Don Quixote, and also dance in a couple of contemporary pieces, so I was really excited," she says. A week later, the group was supposed to perform at the Youth America Grand Prix finals in NYC. In May, Grace was scheduled to take the stage again KC Ballet School's "senior solos" show and spring performance.

Now, all those opportunities are gone.

The COVID-19 pandemic has consumed the dance community. The performance opportunities students have worked all year for have been devoured with it. Those canceled shows might have been your only chance to dance for an audience all year. Or they might have been the dance equivalent to a cap and gown—a time to be acknowledged after years of work.

You can't replace what is lost, and with that comes understandable grief. Here's how to process your feelings of loss, and ultimately use them to help yourself move forward as a dancer.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
An instructor from The Hive in Chicago leads class over Zoom (courtesy The Hive)

The Dance Student's Guide to Making the Best—and the Most—of At-Home Training

If you're social distancing to do your part to slow the spread of COVID-19, you've inevitably realized that training safely and successfully at home poses a significant challenge. We talked to dance experts to find out how you can make the best of this less-than-ideal scenario—and about the unexpected ways it can help you grow as a dancer and artist.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
contest
Enter the Cover Model Search