Swing Discussion Boards > How to dance a 6 count WCS to 8 count music?

Discussion in 'Swing Discussion Boards' started by rawtothebone, Dec 26, 2007.

  1. kayak

    kayak Active Member

    Kind of fun isn't it? We start out as beginners and the patterns break down because we don't have any technique. Then, we get better and spend a lot of time adding structure until finally we get to go break all the rules again :)
  2. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Skippy Blair writes and teaches about the phrasing of the music, as did Lauré Haile.

    "SWING MUSIC phrases to FOUR count of EIGHT."

    "listen to any "steady beat" music. Wait for the start of a new PHRASE. You will begin to recognize the phrasing the same as you hear someone end a sentence. There is a BREATH...or PHRASE that gets ready to start again."

    Skippy and Lauré both point out that is more fun to to make your dancing "phrase to the music". Skippy uses the term AMALGAMATIONS along with LINKs, which often are simply a FREEZE, or two counts of non movement (if you need it).

    Maybe someone will comment on this, but I'm thinking salsa is closer to its African roots than swing, in that is more beat driven, where swing has looser timing that doesn't rely so much on percussion.
    But, don't quote me on it.
  3. tsb

    tsb Well-Known Member

    any salsero worth his salt doesn't start another figure until his partner is ready to begin another figure. what's so difficult to understand about that? actually stopping dead still and offering an arm while the partner stabilizes is actually pretty impressive looking.

    if i lead a side pass, but invite my partner to play/style to phrase to the music, figuring she hears the same phrasing i do, and she *doesn't*, and starts to anchor a few beats earlier, i'll probably pause with an open break figure and wait for the next phrase. no, it's not as aesthetically pleasing, but i would prefer that in lieu of plowing through a phrase in deference to my individual sense of lyricism.

    but if my partner isn't one who is comfortable accepting offers ti style or play, my m.o. for phrasing would be to lead/add extra beats somewhere in the middle of a pass/sugarpush/whip which can be done by examples such as but not limited to:
    - repeating 1&2, usually by leading sways/struts/whatever;
    - adding extra 2 beat turn(s) as needed;
    - pausing in the middle - like a pseudo-block;
    - pivot turns during a whip after the 3&4;

    in lindy, it's even easier because i can go in between ECS figures and lindy, and that gives me more options.

    as this does little to help the OP if he is doing strictly ECS, i will stop here.
  4. Flat Shoes

    Flat Shoes New Member

    I want that on a t-shirt. :)
  5. tsb

    tsb Well-Known Member

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qkK794naWy4 which is a WCS jack & jill featuring deb & michael illustrates what i'm talking about.

    i didn't count them all out, but i don't think there's a single pass led where another figure starts 6 counts later. and seeing as that dance actually won the jack and jill at swingdiego that year, i doubt anyone will suggest that it wasn't musical/lyrical.
  6. BrownSkin818

    BrownSkin818 New Member

    Great thread! This confusion frustrated me when I tried swing. Me thinks I may give it another shot now... :idea:
  7. tsb

    tsb Well-Known Member

    disa? how are you? i'm trying to phase the salsa parties over to swing and blues - did you get my last evite?
  8. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    as is often the case.. we get things out of perspective.

    There is nothing wrong intrinsically with your approach.. however.. its wise to consider this , that many readers of these sites, are not as musically adept of those that post answers, which may be above their readers current capabilities.

    Its akin to my discussing Clave rhythm with a brand new student, good info.. but pointless as it is normally too early in their learning curve.

    There are several dances , that have basic variations that do not " fit " precisely a bar of Music . Trying to "pigeon hole" everything into one neat little bundle, for e.g., has been the bane of Chain schools from inception.

    So, I do agree with your concept, but we should be careful not to confuse" basic concepts" ,with more advanced theories .
  9. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    Its been done that way for years.. its called " Old Time " and "Modern Sequence".

    The " regimented " format of "sequence" , does not allow for a free format of ideas that become available to the experienced dancer.

    And.. we DO phrase to verse and chorus in the ballroom, and dances in the latin genre, rather than each individual bar or octave.

    Thats part of the challenge ,that makes the unknown more exciting to watch .
  10. tsb

    tsb Well-Known Member

    if you re-read the end of the post you omitted in your quote, i acknowledged that what i was getting into would be of little help to the OP, so i stopped - i was primarily responding to what IMO was not entirely helpful advice.

    so going back to the content of the original post:

    yes, the basic step of ECS is 6 counts, so there will be times when the basic does not start on the downbeat of a four beat measure.

    yes, this tends to be disconcerting to those who are trying to dance *with* the music. but this is a good thing, the alternative would be that your sense of lyricism is insufficiently developed to perceive the incongruity.

    so yes, the only thing you really can do for now is plow through it. but if you persist, you will discover that:
    - in some cases, multiples of 6 count figures will overlap multiples of four, allowing one to "synch up" to the downbeat in terms of figuring out phrasing and hitting breaks - but 6 does not divide evenly into 16 - which is a common number/multiple in terms of measures in musical phrases;
    - it's possible to embellish basic figures with steps/styling that allow one to dance *with* the music, vs. dancing *to* it. you might even want to ask your instructor for tips/figures you can use for helping the phrasing;

    on the plus side, you already have experience with salsa; you will find that a lot of the figures in swing use the same building blocks in terms of footwork and lead. and if you like listening to swing music, that's half the battle right there.
  11. lebowski

    lebowski New Member

    Swing rhythm question

    Newbie here. I've learned that swing has a slow-slow-quick-quick-slow . . . rhythm. What I don't understand is how that maps to 4/4 time. In salsa, quick-quick-slow maps to 4/4 time because the slow takes 2 beats, so the forward and back basic takes 8 beats, or one measure.

    How does this work in swing?
  12. Apache

    Apache Member

    We are probably going to need some clarification here. Do you mean a particular dance in swing dance family? Or swing music in general?
  13. Albanaich

    Albanaich New Member

    Well I've never heard Swing described in terms of slow-slow-quick-quick-slow.

    I think you are talking about the 6 beat pattern of East Coast Swing and Ballroom Jive rather than West Coast Swing or Lindy Hop.

    WCS and Lindy Hop do not have a regular (6 beat) repeating pattern, it can be 6, 8, or 10 beat.

    As has already been posted, I think we need some clarification of the context of your question. . . . .
  14. lebowski

    lebowski New Member

    Not really sure what the difference between East Coast and West Coast Swing is, but I think it's East Coast Swing and Big Band.

    The first thing we learned was the rockstep, if that helps clarify.
  15. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    Swing does not have a standard SSQQS rhythm. The basic difference between EC Swing and WC Swing is that ECS moves traditionally sidewards; WCS moves traditionally foreward/back, but the 'rhythms' are the same. Albeit, one might say that the walk, walk, triple step portion of WCS could be described as SSQQS.

    All swings could begin w/ a back step (rock), so, not much help there. I believe what has us confused is your description of the rhythm (one reason why I detest teaching in rhythms). Definitely, clarification will help us to help you.
  16. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    Re: crotchets and quavers

    slow and quick are relative values: if slow is a quarter note, than quick would be an eighth. If slow shall count for two beats, than quick would mean only a quarter. Count SSQQS together and the sum is one as it is in 4/4.

    See the chapter about crotchets and quavers in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swing_(dance)
  17. jennyisdancing

    jennyisdancing Active Member

    Taking a guess here, slow, slow quick-quick would correspond to single-time East Coast Swing. i.e. if you are the leader it corresponds to left (slow) - right (slow) rock back on the left (quick quick). Is that correct?

    If so, then it does take six counts total. And no, those six counts do not correspond to typical four-beats-per-measure music. This question has been brought up in many previous swing threads, lebowski, don't know if you searched for them.

    Bottom line is, the basic swing dance pattern won't match up to the measures and you just have to get used to that. Easiest to think of the pattern in two-beat increments, and, when you get more advanced, work with longer phrasing in the music.
  18. tangonuevo

    tangonuevo New Member

    Either that, or start off with a swing dance that does actually align with the musical phrasing. In time, you will learn to emphasize the steps in the dance according to the music and not the "rhythm pattern" of the "step". I consider the ability to do this - rotate the emphasis of a given "step pattern" to align with the music - a rather more advanced ability.
  19. Apache

    Apache Member

    This right here is spot on. As a Lindy Hopper i'll often mix eight count, six count, and two count moves in a single dance. Locking oneself into a single rhythm pattern besides seeming monotonous, will make dancing with the music and hitting breaks a nightmare and is often seen as a sign of a newer dancer.
  20. Dancelf

    Dancelf Member

    [thread=22501]How to dance a 6 count WCS to 8 count music?[/thread]
    [thread=32295]Salcero a bit confused[/thread]

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