Improving Musicality

The term “musicality” is often said, but not often understood. Its often used to compliment someone who is hitting all the beats and adapting to the music.

It seems to be a subject shrouded in quite a bit of mystery and placed upon a pedestal by a lot of Newcastle salsa social dancers.

Just like timing; not everyone will get it in five minutes. But there are steps anyone can take to up there musicality game.

Hold Up. What is Musicality?

Just like timing; not everyone will get it in five minutes. But there are steps anyone can take to up there musicality game.

I believe musicality can be used to describe dancers comprehension and receptiveness to the music.

Comprehension of the music played is something that is taught and can be quickly applied. A simple example would be dancing a cha cha step to cha cha music and a bachata step to a bachata rythm.

To further apply comprehension dancers can take into account the mood, and even the lyrics.

Receptiveness would be referring to how a dancer reacts to changes in the track. How does a dancer react to pauses and fills?

What social dancers want, but don’t ask for

I think what most dancers want, when they ask to be taught musicality is to have something impressive that they can show of. Something like a well rehearsed, technical shine they can bust out in the Black Swan during a social.

This is probably a lot more achievable, and might fill a hole temporarily that you could pave over later more throughly.

You could rehearse and rehearse an 8 to 16 bar shine to a break in a popular track for a couple of weeks and you might even convince your friends you have that mystic musicality. 

For those feeling daunted by choreography, you can just take something you learned in a lineup or styling class and string together some moves.

What social dancers can’t be bothered to do, but what your instructor wants you to do

Its an obvious one. Getting your head into the rhythm and song structure will give you a lot more confidence. 

In particular to the structure of the songs, but also note the fills and drum rolls that signal a change is coming.

The percussion is the best metronome, and saves the mental labor of counting in your head. Plus if your following the song, and know basically what’s coming your not going to get lost if you zone out thinking about lager.

Its possible to be in-time but off-beat. Try to step on a beat, rather than the count in your head. If you’re not sure where the “1” is or where to take your first step, then your going to find it exhausting counting your way through.

What’s musicality mean to you?

Its a good question. Its not “get good, quick” and it probably means a lot of different things to different people.

So it might be worth taking a moment, away from Google, and ask yourself what you think musicality is and why you want it.

In the mean time, shimmy responsibly (and with practiced  receptiveness and comprehension of the track).

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