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How to do the slow-mo dance?

The slow-mo dance is a fun and dramatic dance move that has become popular in recent years. It involves slowing down your dancing to create an ultra smooth, slow motion effect. Mastering the slow-mo requires some practice and technique, but the payoff is totally worth it. A perfectly executed slow-mo dance sequence can look amazing on the dance floor. This guide will walk you through everything you need to know to learn how to do the iconic slow-mo dance.

What is the Slow-Mo Dance?

The slow-mo dance, also sometimes called the “matrix dance”, is a dance move where the dancer makes smooth, slow motion movements that make it appear as though they are moving in slow motion. It became mainstream popular in the early 2000s from movies like The Matrix that used “bullet time” slow motion effects during action sequences. People started trying to mimic that unique slow motion style in their dancing.

The effect is achieved by smoothing out transitions between dance moves and making movements very controlled and deliberate. The dancer must have good body awareness and control to slowly transition from move to move. When done correctly, the dancer appears to defy gravity and move extremely slowly, but smoothly, like in The Matrix’s bullet time scenes.

The slow-mo works best on fluid dance styles with smooth movements like popping, waving, tutting, and liquid. The controlled, smooth motions suit the slow style well. The king of slow-mo dance is the liquid dancing style, which emphasizes creating seamlessly flowing shapes with your body.

Why Learn the Slow-Mo Dance?

Learning the slow-mo dance move has many benefits:

  • It looks awesome – The slow-mo is a crowd-pleaser on the dance floor. Slowing down your movements creates a super smooth visual effect that grabs attention.
  • It improves your control – Mastering the controlled, deliberate movements requires precision and body awareness. The slow-mo will improve your technique and control.
  • It allows creativity – The slow style lets you showcase your musicality and creativity. You can add stylish dynamics and accents when moving slowly.
  • It sets you apart – Not many dancers can cleanly execute the slow style. It’s a unique skill that sets your dancing apart.
  • It expands your range – Adding the slow-mo to your dance vocabulary allows more variety in your dancing. It’s a good tool to have.

Learning the slow-mo opens up new possibilities for accentuating your dancing and taking it to the next level. The skill and control required to dance smoothly in slow motion also translates over to improve general dance technique.

How to Learn the Slow-Mo Dance

Mastering the slow-mo dance takes time and practice. Here are some tips to help learn the technique:

Start slow

It’s called the “slow-mo” dance for a reason – start by going super slow. Many beginners rush the movements. Take your time and move deliberately slowly from one move to the next. Smoothness is key.

Focus on control

The slow-mo requires total control over every minor movement. Engage your core and move with intention. Any extraneous or uncontrolled motions will break the effect.

Minimize transitions

Work on seamlessly transitioning between moves so there are no abrupt changes. The more smoothly you can link moves, the better the slow-mo illusion.

Add dynamics

Once you have the basic slow motions down, play with adding little pauses, accents, levels changes, and variations in speed. These dynamics add interest and separate the levels of slow-mo mastery.

Use video feedback

Record yourself dancing in slow-mo and watch the video back. This will help you spot areas to improve the smoothness and control. Check for any jerky transitions or loss of control.

Practice to slow music

Songs with a slower beat like liquid funk, slow jams, and trip hop work well for practicing the slow-mo. The slower music makes it easier to move smoothly.

Drill the basics

Really drill the fundamentals of your dance style, like waving, tutting, popping, and gliding. Nail the basics before trying to slow them down. You need total technique control first.

Add to other moves

Once you get the slow-mo down, try using it to accent regular moves. For example, do a quick sequence then slow down for a smooth wave or body roll. Contrasting speeds adds interest.

Improvise in slow-mo

Freestyling in slow motion is a great training exercise. It forces you to think on your feet while staying smooth. Improvising in the slow style will quickly improve your slow-mo skills.

Slow-Mo Dance Tips

Here are some top tips to improve your slow-mo dance technique:

Relax muscles

Resisting the slowness tends to create jerky movements. Try to relax and flow smoothly between positions.

Engage the core

Your core region must be engaged to execute controllable body movements. Keep your core tight.

Hover in transitions

Pause slightly at the end points of some moves. Holding briefly creates an awesome floating effect.

Act out accents

Use facial expressions and body English to accentuate and act out the slow motions for added effect.

Lead with your eyes

Keep your chin up and eyes forward. Let them lead, and the body will follow fluidly.

Limit head movement

Keep your head steady. Too much side-to-side head motion destroys the illusion.

Control breathing

Breathing out of sync with your body can ruin the effect. Inhale and exhale in a controlled way.

Stay low

The lower you can stay to the ground, the smoother and cooler the slow-mo effect. Really grind down in your footwork.

Loosen up first

Don’t go straight into the slow-mo while you’re still rigid. Loosen your body up first before slowing down.

Slow-Mo Styles & Moves

Many dance styles work well for the slow-mo effect. Here are some of the most popular slow-mo styles and moves:


Liquid dancing centers around creating flowing waves and ripples through your body. It looks incredible slowed down in slow-mo. Key moves include:

  • Liquid arms – Flow one arm slowly up then down like a wave.
  • Body rolls – Slowly roll through each vertebrae in isolation.
  • Melting – Smoothly melt down into the ground and back up.


The funky body waves of waacking translated well to the slow-mo. Classic moves include:

  • Slow arm waves – Extend arms and waack up & down at a snail’s pace.
  • Head rolls – Tilt head side to side at an extreme decelerated speed.
  • Chest pops – Isolate chest pops for a super slow bobbing effect.


The Pops’s sharp, distinct moves work nicely when drawn out and exaggerated in slow-mo. Fun moves:

  • Slow backslide – Gradually shift your shoulders back for an extended glide.
  • Turtle freeze – Balance a very slow turtle freeze on elbows.
  • Extreme dimestops – Slow down dimestops for maximum wave effect.


Tutting’s precise angles and shapes are emphasized in slow-mo. Cool techniques:

  • Gradual hand tutting – Methodically place each finger into a tut, one by one.
  • Chest pops to tutting – Sync pops up from chest directly into a tut shape.
  • Tutting waves – Flow from one tut shape to the next with liquid smoothness.


The footwork style of gliding gains major impact slowed down. Nice slow glides:

  • Slow scoot – Direct your front foot forward at a snail’s pace.
  • Slow backwards wave – Wave back extra slowly leading with your heel.
  • Gradual toe spins – Turn your toe inward & outward very gradually for multiple rotations.

Slow-Mo Tutorials

For visual examples, lots of YouTube tutorials demonstrate the slow-mo technique across different dance styles. Search for tutorials like:

  • “Slow motion liquid tutting tutorial”
  • “How to do slow motion waving”
  • “Slow mo popping animation tutorial”
  • “Ultimate slow motion gliding tutorial”

Watching skilled dancers apply the slow-mo effect helps visualize the proper technique. Look for subtle details like body control, relaxation, arm movements, and transition smoothness.

Best Music for Slow-Mo Dancing

Certain music works really well for accentuating slow motion dancing. Look for these tempo and genre elements:

Slow Tempo (80-100 BPM)

Slower music makes it easier to smoothly transition between moves. Aim for tunes around 80-100 BPM. Any slower than 80 can be too challenging for slowing down movements.

Chill Genres

Laidback, atmospheric genres give a nice vibe for slow-mo. Great picks include:

  • Liquid funk
  • Chillout/ambient
  • Trip hop
  • Down tempo
  • Slow jams


Songs without vocals work well, so you can focus on the musical accents. Vocal-free instrumentals allow fully concentrating on the slow dancing.

Smooth Textures

The texture of the music is important. Chillout tunes with sustained pads, soft vocals, and smooth melodies fit the slow-mo beautifully. Avoid overly complex or abrasive textures.

Simple Rhythms

Tracks with basic 4/4 rhythms give a nice foundation for slowing down to. Overly syncopated or complex rhythms can be tricky to interpret in slow-mo.


Some examples of great slow-mo songs:

  • “Blue Sky Black Death – Sleeping Children Are Still Flying”
  • “Bonobo – Kerala”
  • “Little People – Moon”
  • “DJ Cam – Lullaby”
  • “Nightmares on Wax – Les Nuits”

Search terms like “slow mo dance music” and “matrix dance music” can help find more tracks with the perfect vibe and tempo for slow-mo dancing.

Where to Practice Slow-Mo Dancing

It’s important to practice the slow-mo in an environment suited to moving slowly and fluidly. Here are some good places to practice:

Dance Studios

Studio practice spaces allow uninterrupted focus and room to move slowly. Make sure to book adequate studio time for slow-mo sessions.

Home Dance Rooms

Your home dance room or open finished basement provides a private place to drill slow technique. Make sure there’s enough open floor space.


Grass, sand, and other soft outdoor surfaces work nicely for slow-mo practice. Nature makes a peaceful background for fluid motions.

Dance Classes

Specialized dance classes like liquid popping or matrix dance sometimes incorporate slow-mo training. Join a class focused on smooth footwork styles.

Avoid Small Spaces

Cramped spaces interrupt your flow. Seek large open areas to fully extend movements without obstruction or distraction.

Low Lighting

Low mood lighting complements the slow-mo vibe. Avoid harsh fluorescent lights.

Fewer Distractions

Minimize sensory distractions like loud music, talking, or movement in your peripheral vision. Streamline your focus.

How to Use Slow-Mo in Dance Routines

Once you’ve drilled the slow-motion technique, incorporating it into full dance routines adds major visual impact. Here are tips for implementing slow-mo sections:

Contrast Fast & Slow Sections

Place slow-mo portions after faster sequences to accentuate the tempo changes. Surprising switches between speeds is engaging.

Sync to Musical Accents

Time the beginning of slow-mo parts to match impactful musical moments like beat drops or breakdowns. Sync to the music.

Highlight the Peak

Save the full slow-mo effect for the peak point of your routine. Build up speed then climax with an extended slow sequence.

Use Sparingly

The slow-mo loses impact if overused. Sprinkle in short 8-16 count slow segments for optimal effect.

Exit Cleanly

It’s tough to jump immediately back to full speed from slow-mo. Link a few transitional moves to gradually accelerate out.

Sell the Moments Before & After

Act out the moments before and after the slow-mo with anticipatory or reactive body language. Add drama.

Common Mistakes

It’s easy for the slow-mo effect to get messy if not executed properly. Avoid these common mistakes:


Many beginners rush the slow movements and defeat the effect. Take your time and really extend each motion. Don’t speed up.

Tensing Up

Rigid muscles make fluidity impossible. Loosen up and relax into the slow motions.


Less is more with slow-mo. Using it too much diminishes the impact. Sprinkle short sequences in.

Poor Isolations

Sloppy isolations and body control break the illusion. Clean, precise isolation is required.

No Accents

Forgetting to add stylistic accents and dynamics results in boring slowness. React and emote within the slow-mo.

Relying on Slow Music

Don’t become reliant on slow music to create the effect. Learn to decelerate yourself independently.

Anticipating Music

Reacting visually before the beat hits ruins the sync. Wait fully for the beat before initiating slow movements.

Bad Angles

Executing moves at awkward angles that don’t look good in slow-mo. Visualize angles first.


Mastering the slow-mo dance style takes dedication and practice, but the visually stunning effect is worth the effort. Work on smoothing your transitions, relaxing your body, and moving with control and intention. Contrast the slow-motion sequences with faster moves for maximum impact. Smoothly gliding into a slow matrix freeze or liquid wave in sync with the music is guaranteed to wow onlookers. Let the techniques in this guide set you on the path to flawless slow-mo execution. Now float away and start practicing those super smooth slow-mo dance moves.