How to Do the Robot

The robot is a fun, iconic dance style that's been around since the 1960s. It involves using slow, isolated body movements to appear like a dancing robot. Doing the robot can seem complicated if you’ve never done it before, but it’s actually simple once you master the basics, like wobbling, pivoting, and body isolations. Once you've got those down, start trying out different moves, like dancing with robot arms and doing the wave.

Learning the Basics

Use body isolations to make yourself look like a robot while you dance.

Body isolations are dance movements where you move one part of your body separately from the rest. Using body isolations while you dance—like moving just your head or one of your arms at a time—will help you look more robotic.

  • For example, while you’re dancing, you might move one of your arms to a new position, stop, and then move your other arm.

Wobble your body after each move to mimic a moving machine.

Robots wobble back and forth whenever they stop or shift into a new position. Replicate that wobbling by rocking your body side to side a few times after you do a move. Move about 1–2 inches (2.5–5.1 cm) in each direction.

  • For example, after moving your arm to a new position, wobble back and forth a few times for dramatic effect.

Keep your feet planted on the floor as much as possible.

Don’t step to the beat like you would for other kinds of dancing, since it won’t look very robotic. Instead, keep your feet on the ground, and focus on moving your arms, torso, and head while you dance.

Pivot your feet if you want to change directions.

That way, you can switch things up instead of facing the same direction while you dance. Just raise your toes slightly and pivot on your heels. Or, raise your heels and pivot on your toes instead. When you’re finished pivoting, plant your feet on the floor again.

  • Pivoting instead of taking steps will help you look more like a robot. With practice, no one will be able to tell you’re lifting your toes or heels to turn.

Use slow, controlled motions like a robot.

Think of how a machine moves. Every movement is steady and intentional. When you’re doing the robot, avoid fast, frenetic movements since they won’t look robotic. Instead, you want each move you do to be drawn out and deliberate.

Trying New Moves

Give yourself robot arms by bending your arms at a 90-degree angle.

Starting with your arms at your sides, raise one of your arms up so it’s pointing straight out in front of you. Then, bend it so it’s at a 90-degree angle. Repeat with your other arm so both of your arms are bent at a 90-degree angle in front of your chest. When you’re finished, keep dancing with your arms bent, or straighten them back out one at a time.

  • By keeping your arms straight or at a 90-degree angle while you’re dancing, they’ll look like they’re moving on hinges.

Try ticking your arms and torso like they’re being controlled by cogs.

Ticking is where you move an isolated part of your body, pause, and then repeat so it looks like it’s ticking. To tick your arms and torso, start by bending forward at your waist with your arms out in front of you so your waist and legs make a 150-degree angle. Then, lift your arms up about 2 inches (5.1 cm), and pause. Repeat 4-5 more times until your arms are over your head. Once your arms are all the way up, do the same thing with your torso, moving it up 2 inches (5.1 cm) at a time until you’re standing up straight again.

  • Practice slowly at first. Then, as you get better, work on ticking at a faster pace.

Do a ticking wave to incorporate some hip-hop dancing into your routine.

Start with your arms out straight at your sides. Then, bend your wrists so your fingers are pointing at the floor, and pause. Next, bend your arms so your elbows go down, and pause again. Now, bend your wrists the other way so your fingers are pointing up this time, straighten your arms, and pause. Finally, tick your shoulders up and down several times, and repeat.

  • Ticking while you do the wave will make it look more robotic. You’re just breaking down each part of the move—like bending your wrists, bending your arms, and moving your shoulders up and down—and pausing for a second after each part to create the ticking effect.

Bend your knees to do the robot closer to the floor.

Since you mostly stay in the same spot while you’re doing the robot, bending down to a lower level is a great way to switch things up. Just bend both of your knees at the same time so they’re at about a 125-degree angle, and keep them bent like that when you dance. Don’t bend your knees too much or you might have a hard time balancing.

  • For a more dramatic effect, swing one of your arms back behind you and pretend to push an invisible pole into the back of your knee. At the same time, bend both of your knees. It will look like you’re bending your knees with the pole.
  • When you’re ready to stand up again, straighten your legs using a slow, controlled motion.

Pretend you’re controlling your legs with your hands.

First, bend down so your legs are at a 125-degree angle. Then, hold your hand about 1 foot (0.30 m) above one of your knees, and raise it up using a smooth, fluid motion. At the same time, lift your leg into the air so it looks like you’re pulling your leg up by an invisible string with your hand.

  • It might take a few tries to find your balance since you’ll be standing on one leg.

Combine different moves together to come up with your own routine.

Making your own dance routine is a great way to practice all of the skills you’ve been working on. Plus, you’ll have a go-to routine if you ever go out dancing. Just choose your favorite moves, and then practice doing them in order until you have your routine memorized.

Leave a Comment