Timing and Musicality

2015-06-16 15:08:10

Le Bop workshops have made a glorious come-back in 2015 with the Timing and Musicality workshop, which was held on Sunday 31st May.

Deb and our guest teacher Alex Bryan sat everyone down for a lesson on musical theory and the emotional responsiveness required to have great musicality. That gave the attendees much to ponder in the dances that followed. Everyone had a different response to the workshop and we were all encouraged to write down our 7 secrets to timing and musicality, so take a squiz at mine!

My 7 Secrets of Timing and Musicality

  1. Get to know music. This doesn't mean you listen to one song over and over- you'd be lost as soon as the DJ played a different tune. It means listening to lots of different songs! Become familiar with all the little pieces that make up a song, get to know the structure of songs, the patterns and the individual beats. You will find many similarities between songs.
  2. Correct Modern Jive Footwork. Once you understand the structure of the music you need to fit the modern jive footwork correctly to the music. The couple should be away or out from each other on '1' and in on '2'. Additionally, the feet should be together on the whole counts (down beats eg. bass drum) and apart on the half counts (up beats eg. cymbal or snare sounds). For example; leaders step back on their left foot on the up beat '&', step their right foot back to close on the down beat '1', then step in on their left foot on the up beat '&', step their right foot in to close on the down beat '2'.
  3. Dancing on the beat. The precise moment you complete your moves in the music affects the look and feel of your dancing. If you dance at the front of the beat, it often looks frantic. Conversely if you dance at the end of the beat, you appear more laid back and calm. Dancing in the centre of the beat looks controlled and clean. Part of dancing on the beat is dancing to the correct tempo. Off-tempo dancing can be frustrating to watch, like that kid who is the only one playing a different song at the silent disco.
  4. Acknowledging the instruments. As part of listening to the music you should be able to identify many instruments in different songs. The layering of different instruments throughout a song helps change the mood throughout the song. One key to musicality is listening to and acknowledging more than one instrument throughout the song.
  5. Dancing is your body reacting to the music. Some discovered that actively listening to the song made dancing both harder and easier at the same time. If you are actively listing to the song, yes it's one more thing your brain is having to concentrate on, but it makes it easier to acknowledge the different instruments, fit the quality of your movements to the mood of the song and find the hits. Make sure you listen to the song all the way through, your dancing should change as the song changes. All of this ensures you are reacting to the music, rather than just dancing in a room where there happens to be music playing.
  6. Acknowledging the lyrics. Lyrics make it easier to interpret the feeling and intention of songs, the voice is an instrument too! This can be as simple as stretching out your moves or extending as the singer holds a long note or doing short sharp moves if the vocals are all short and sharp. In fun, cheeky songs you can act out the moves like the corny "making a phone with my hand" to Call Me Maybe.
  7. Individuality. People regarded as having musicality super powers are just dancing their own interpretation of the music. Injecting your personality into your dancing makes you more enjoyable to dance with, more interesting to watch and generally it's better for you too! So...don't get too caught up in the moves and be yourself!

Not enough detail for you? You can purchase our Timing and Musicality DVD by clicking here. Jokes - you can come and ask us for free.