Salsa > How to learn timing?

Discussion in 'Salsa' started by RightAsRain, May 5, 2013.

  1. Don Silver

    Don Silver Member

    That's cool.

    As a general rule, people do much better when something is moving, although they should be able to hear the time no matter if it's related to their feet, rib cage, shoulders or other.

    When someone really has the timing awareness working, it is reflected in all their movement.
  2. Simi-Lanjiao

    Simi-Lanjiao Member

    To learn dance timing, I was told to go learn to play a percussion instrument. So I attended basic conga lessons.

    Turned out that it's the hardest way to understand salsa timing, but it worked wonders for me personally as learning about the music over the years helped explain a lot about the different timing styles that casineros use.

    For the life of me I couldn't dance son until I understood how to play the clave & tumbao. Maybe I'm just slow, so I had to do it the hard way.
    manteca likes this.
  3. Don Silver

    Don Silver Member

    Wow, super respect for you! And yes, that is the hard way.

    I think learning to play an instrument is a wonderful thing and I highly recommend it for those who want to do it.

    As a vehicle for learning to dance or understand the music, it's way overkill for the vast majority of dancers.

    Dancers can learn so much about the music without playing an instrument, just like a piano player can develop a very strong sense of what great drums or trumpets sound like (and how they work) without physically playing those other instruments.

    I'd never discourage anybody from taking up an instrument, but in my experience, it's NOT the shortest path for most dancers. It's still really great you did it!
  4. manteca

    manteca Member

    This was an exercise my coach used when my latin ballroom partner and I could not always find the timing right away.

    She would start a random song and we had to find the timing as quickly as possible, by starting our choreography. Once we'd found the timing, she'd start another randomly chosen song, and make sure the choreography was on time, then she would start another song and keep going and going and going. We'd do maybe 10 minutes of this every hour.

    After that, she laid down the law that we had to find the timing within two measures (8 beats), later she changed it to one measure (4 beats). Finally after that, we had to find the rhythm and timing the second the song started playing.

    It's interesting how well we were able to train our ears and bodies to hear and feel the music right away. My partner and I were very proud when we could sync up and start executing our movements within a second of hearing the music. Even better when the song starts before you're in place, but you've both caught it already, and you can dance your way into the choreography.

    Having said that, this skill is like a muscle and gets tired or confused sometimes so I do have to go back and practice it.

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