Musicality – How to recognize the dance?

September 6, 2017

How to recognize the dance?

What is musicality? Merriam-Webster says that musicality is “sensitivity to, knowledge of, or talent for music.” In ballroom terms, musicality has two parts to it; one of them being the ability to hear the music and know what to dance, and two is the ability of playing with the music in the moves that you’re dancing. For this blog, we’re going to focus on being able to recognize what dance to actually dance based on the song.

For the first month or so of your introduction to ballroom dancing, there’s a very good chance that your instructor will be the one who’s guiding you to the music. You’ll be so concentrated on trying to get the steps that you may not even listen to the music. That’s completely ok! Alas, at some point the music will need to become something to pay attention to so let’s tackle how to differentiate songs.

Let’s start with the smooth dances. Fortunately, waltz is the only dance with 3/4 timing, which means that it has a clear 1-2-3 beat. So any song you hear that only has a 1-2-3 is going to be a waltz. The music for tango is distinctive because it has a dramatic, passionate feel to the piece. On the other side of that, the foxtrot is very jazzy so if there’s a song that makes you want to start walking through a park snapping your fingers, you can guarantee that it is a foxtrot.

The rhythm dances can be a little trickier than smooth to differentiate the songs. The reason for this is that sometimes a song can work for two different dances and then it truly depends on how the music makes you feel. Cha-cha is a dance that is very fun, cheeky, and flirty so an upbeat latin song or top 40 hit will work. Rumba is a slower more romantic dance so any of the slower latin music or slower top 40 hits is perfect. Swing on the other hand is a lot more rock & roll, upbeat, fast, and fun and even though it is a rhythm dance, does not go to latin music. More typical music for swing is rock & roll, the fast top 40 hits, anything with a more rock & roll feel.

So although certain songs can only work for certain dances, other times it’s a matter of what the song makes you feel in partnership to a dance. Still have questions? Give us a call at the studio and any of our instructors at Ridgefield Fred Astaire Dance Studio will be happy to help you out!

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