How to learn timing?

#21
Personally, I keep time using my shoulders/ribcage, maybe because they're closer to my brain than my feet :) odd as it sounds I can almost always immediately find the count with the cuban motion of the shoulders/ribcage. My body just naturally feels the music in my shoulders/ribcage and the feet just follow. If I try to use just the feet, I will eventually lose the beat at some point.

The cool thing about using the shoulders to keep time, is that you can be much more creative with your steps because you've disconnected them from having to keep strict time, I find it's easier now to play with pauses and syncopation. If the feet get jammed up somewhere, I can just pause or stutter step as if I know what I'm doing :) and step right back into the beat using the rhythm and count in the shoulders.

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.
 
#22
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.
 
#23
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.

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!
 
#24
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.
 

Dance Ads