Music Recognition

Most of us hear at least a song or two every day – and many of us hear far FAR more than that. Yet, almost none of us stop to consider how a song is built, that there is a conscious reasoning behind the music we hear that makes the difference between harmony and cacophony. This is a huge opportunity that most dancers never take advantage of. 

Continue reading “The anatomy of the song

Musicality in dancing, put simply, is the ability to change your dancing with a change in the music. To do that, you need to know how long your patterns are, and how long a particular section of music is. Enter the 8-count, the basic unit of measurement we use to tie what we dance to what we hear. 

Continue reading “Keeping Time, Part Two: Understanding the 8-Count”

You know what sucks? Going to someone for help about something, and having them spit out a bunch of big words you can’t understand and only serve to inflate their ego. That’s how I feel sometimes when I ask others about better ways to teach dance timing to students. 

Continue reading “Keeping Time, Part One: Finding the Beat”

Come on in and pull up a chair near the DJ, because this is the ‘music remixed’ edition! After all, who doesn’t wish they could dance the moves they know best to the music they love most? Thanks to the increasing number of ballroom disk jockeys out there, there’s a ballroom version of almost anything.

I’ve scoured the web and my library for some of the best ballroom remixes out there, so click that play button and start rocking to these modern tunes! 

I have a confession to make. I love music.

I mean, I really, REALLY love it. My taste for music includes everything from Enya to Eminem. My total iTunes song count numbers in the tens of thousands. I could play music non-stop for a month and never play the same song twice.

This unfortunately causes me to overlook some of the dustier gems in my collection, until I rediscover them years later. This then is my (mostly) forgotten tracks edition – the ones I don’t play nearly enough. Give them some love for me! 

What dancer isn’t looking for new music to dance to, right? Even if you prefer the same classics over and over, the reality is the musical landscape is always evolving, both socially and competitively. The dancer who doesn’t adapt to different music is a dancer quickly left behind.

This time, I’ve included some of my favourite dance songs, each focusing on a different style of ballroom. Give them a listen, and enjoy! – See “Great Music tracks”        

Ballet. Hip hop. Jazz. Contemporary. By comparison, ballroom dance is often found wanting, described as ‘stiff, flat, and lacking real self-expression.’ But an expressive dance is defined by more than range of motion alone.

True, you are compromising for your partner, sacrificing some movement so you can move better together. But there’s plenty of character that can still be conveyed, not only through each of you separately, but in the story you tell together.

While we all have our own reasons for getting into ballroom dance, odds are it has to do with a love of music. Ballroom dancing songs come in all shapes and sizes, each with its own dancing style to match, so virtually anyone can find what they’re looking for.

If you’re like me however, a time comes when you want something beyond the tired favourites played at every social. And so, the search for ever more awesome ballroom dancing songs begin.

So far in section one and section two, we’ve focused on changes in energy in ballroom dance songs, and how we can use this to determine the pace and predict where the song is going. But some styles of music can prove much more complicated then the intro-verse-chorus pattern we discussed earlier. To better understand these, we must learn about musical form. – See “Finding Patterns

One of the most frustrating barriers to becoming a great ballroom dancer is a lack of feeling for ballroom dancing music. You can know the moves, the technique, all of it, but if you can’t step on the beat or recognize where the ‘1’ is, everything still feels awkward.