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Thread: Too much musicality?

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    Too much musicality?

    Random questions:

    Have you ever danced with someone who was in some way too musical?
    Maybe it messed around with the lead/follow?
    Or maybe they were so into the music they forgot about you?
    Or maybe they were feeling the music some other way to you, and ran roughshod over the way you were feeling it?
    Have you ever felt like your own musicality was getting in the way of having a good dance? How come?

    Anecdotes and thoughts, please.

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    Re: Too much musicality?

    Er ... me last night

    Nothing major, but couldn't have happened at a worse time really - I was taxiing, leading a first nighter, doing a slow comb and got so into the music I 'forgot' to put my hand on her back and started 'playing' with my arms instead. Poor girl completely lost it! As soon as I realized, I apologised, explained why I'd done it, and got back on track! Will try to concentrate more in future!

    Can't really think of any other occasions where musicality has got in the way of dancing.

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    Re: Too much musicality?

    Quote Originally Posted by MartinHarper
    Random questions:

    Anecdotes and thoughts, please.
    musi-whatsi-cality? I'm just beginning to get to the stage now where I'm concentrating less on the moves and more on the dance and the music. I don't do it a lot as I am still a beginner (stealing the tramps catch phrase again!) but I do attempt to put a little into my dancing.

    But I wouldn't know what was too much unless someone told me.

  4. #4
    Donna
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    Re: Too much musicality?

    Interesting thread Martin. (rep on way)

    Have you ever danced with someone who was in some way too musical?
    I used to find my dance partner too musical but that's because I wasn't that experienced then. We practiced the lead and follow first (more important) - and it took a while for me to figure out how he interprets the music (he's a musician after all) It took a while to get used to (a good few months) and of course it does help if you know your music. Also, when you get used to the basic steps you can sense what's coming next.

    Over the past few months we've been concentrating more on each others style first and routine/new moves etc etc, and are now trying to fit them into different types of music. As a competitor, there is no point in just dancing big moves as it can interfere with musicality and that gets you nowhere. What's more important is your connection and timing. When you start learning new moves/routines, trying to combine that with interpreting the music can be tricky. E.g, if there is a break coming up, you might have to cut the move that you're doing and go into something else like a dip/drop or hold your last position.

    Or maybe they were so into the music they forgot about you?
    I've only danced with one person like that. How irritating! MJ is supposed to be TWO people dancing TOGETHER. If somebody is going to be like this they might as dance on their own.

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    Re: Too much musicality?

    It has happened that a lead has given me 'room' to do my own stuff where he hears it, and I totally messed it up because I just didn't hear it the same way and took too long / too little time or just wasn't inspired by the music.

    Generally if I'm dancing with somebody who I know has got a lot of musicality, I tend to be a little stressed and try to concentrate just on following my best (generally speaking they are excellent dancers too) so that I don't 'miss' things (which would interfere with their musicality ), and as a consequence don't listen as much to the music and don't do my own stuffs where I would normally hear and do them. It's like since I know their musicality is better (or more developped) than mine, I trust them and try and forgot my own musicality (which as I've said elsewhere isn't very developed yet, but getting better ).
    An example of that was a dance on 'fever' (my favourite track) with a brilliant (very musical) dancer and to be honest that wasn't my best dance on this tune (nor with him), since 1. I was a little too stressed to really express the music the way I felt it, and 2. we didn't seem to hear the track the same way and I was sometimes a little surprised of what my lead was doing.


    Now that also happens the other way around when I dance with beginners/intermediates who are at the stage of concentrating mainly/exclusively on moves, sometimes -when the lead allows me (i.e. is not pulling me too hard into the next move)- if they finish a move and want to start a new one on 'beat 7', I'll tend to sort of 'record' the lead, but wait on the spot and respond only at the beginning of a new bar ('beat 1'), i.e. stepping forward only on that beat 1. Now I guess that must be disturbing and some leads may think that I'm just a slow-to-respond and difficult follower - don't know I've never had feedback on that !
    I also tend to slow down some leads who always dance at full speed, doing slow turns for example. That doesn't seem to bother them usually they seem to enjoy the wiggle that go with it ...

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    Re: Too much musicality?

    Happens to me occasionally in Salsa. Not that I am playing too much with the music to forget my partner. The issue is more when tracks change the bar frequently, i.e. start with 1234 after 1234 instead of continuing 5678. Sometimes I really have to stop myself from continuously changing with the music because more often than not my partner at the time doesn't quite see the point. Understandably, as it disrupts the flow ... but it sucks and I then have to think when moves are a tad more complex ...

    Not sure if I am playing too much in MJ, you tell me, girls

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    Re: Too much musicality?

    Quote Originally Posted by MartinHarper
    Have you ever felt like your own musicality was getting in the way of having a good dance? How come?
    Great thread and many interesting questions!

    I have felt some partners forcing their musicality on me, but I never perceived it as a problem, more of an opportunity to learn how they hear music and try to adjust to them.

    Personally however, I have been aware that musicality was getting in the way of my dancing a few times. I noticed it most when I was preparing notes for my Focus on... workshop on musicality (and specifically dancing to the various layers of instruments in a track, rather than the main beat). At the time, I was so caught up in noticing every instrument that I was trying to hard to follow them all, constantly switching from bass line to piano roll, to string sustains to vocal rhythms etc... My dancing became really busy, with too many accents and whilst I tried to isolate the interpretation from my connection with my partner, I felt my dancing suffered as a result and ended up apologizing often

    I see the above as a necessary step to improving and understanding how you can use musicality, so don't regret it. I did try to confine my wilder experiments to special dances (blues rooms, focus tea-dances etc...) so that I would be practising with like-minded dancers rather than scare off beginners...
    Franck.

    There's an A.P.P. for that!

  8. #8
    Donna
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    Re: Too much musicality?

    I have felt some partners forcing their musicality on me, but I never perceived it as a problem, more of an opportunity to learn how they hear music and try to adjust to them.
    I think that would be harder for the male to do seeing it's a male led dance. It's easier for the woman to adjust to the man. All she has to do is follow and improvise wherever she can. (If she gets any space to play with that is!)
    If she doesn't, then I don't blame her for back leading slightly when she can hear something she can use in the music. If he doesn't like it, tough!

    Personally however, I have been aware that musicality was getting in the way of my dancing a few times. I noticed it most when I was preparing notes for my Focus on... workshop on musicality (and specifically dancing to the various layers of instruments in a track, rather than the main beat).
    You should normally dance to the main beat and only use other layers where nescessary. If you are constantly switching from one to the other, then of course it's going to be far too busy and confuse your partner also.

    I see the above as a necessary step to improving and understanding how you can use musicality, so don't regret it. I did try to confine my wilder experiments to special dances (blues rooms, focus tea-dances etc...) so that I would be practising with like-minded dancers rather than scare off beginners...
    Well at least practicing this over and over has helped you improve, but I think if you wanted to carry on that way, it's best to have a dance partner for it to work properly because she would have got used to how you interpret the music and can eventually follow that.

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    Omnipresent Administrator Franck's Avatar
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    Re: Too much musicality?

    Quote Originally Posted by Donna
    I think that would be harder for the male to do seeing it's a male led dance. It's easier for the woman to adjust to the man. All she has to do is follow and improvise wherever she can. (If she gets any space to play with that is!)
    If she doesn't, then I don't blame her for back leading slightly when she can hear something she can use in the music. If he doesn't like it, tough!
    Not any easier or harder, if you have a good connection, you can tell how your partner is interpreting the music and adjust suitably. I might have overstated the case when I said "forcing their musicality", what I meant was that sometimes, the musical understanding of my partner is noticeably different to mine, and I have to pay more attention than usual and respond more via the connection to maintain a good dance.
    Quote Originally Posted by Donna
    You should normally dance to the main beat and only use other layers where nescessary. If you are constantly switching from one to the other, then of course it's going to be far too busy and confuse your partner also.
    You misunderstand me, or perhaps I wasn't clear enough. I was of course leading my partner and maintaining a constant connection to the main beat, but isolating my connection allowed me to play with the music / interpret more without affecting my partner (apart from her visually noticing and deciding to adjust her style to match or not).
    At my 'busiest' I was only affecting my partner visually, and not forcing any syncopations, sustains, etc. on her, and leading a smooth dance through connection.
    Franck.

    There's an A.P.P. for that!

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    Re: Too much musicality?

    Quote Originally Posted by Franck
    My dancing became really busy, with too many accents
    This sounds so familiar. There are certain tracks where I feel there is so much going on, that my dancing never gets going, and this would be happening when dancing with great dancers, whom I know could deal with whatever I was doing, if it made any sense. I can't think of the names of such tracks at the moment, but they would be the ones I'd normally love to dance to, but hate to get in a competition, as I would end up not doing any moves.

    Greg

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    Re: Too much musicality?

    I fear I am guilty of this. I try to only 'force' it on men (leaders) I know can handle it/who are 'listening'..... but I do make mistakes and freak people out sometimes

    (even I'm not sure whether I'm talking about dancing or not )

  12. #12
    Donna
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    Re: Too much musicality?

    Quote Originally Posted by Franck
    You misunderstand me, or perhaps I wasn't clear enough. I was of course leading my partner and maintaining a constant connection to the main beat, but isolating my connection allowed me to play with the music / interpret more without affecting my partner (apart from her visually noticing and deciding to adjust her style to match or not).
    At my 'busiest' I was only affecting my partner visually, and not forcing any syncopations, sustains, etc. on her, and leading a smooth dance through connection.
    Ah ha! I gottcha now! That's an excellent idea and takes a lot of skill to do that. Hmmmm, will have to grab you for a dance when I see you next. First and last time was at the party after London champs last year, but that was on carpet. EDIT - dancing on carpet people! b4 anybody gets other ideas!

    I think you're the only few men who have the skill to do that. All the others act as if it's a game of tug of war!

    Last edited by Donna; 6th-July-2006 at 01:37 PM.

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    Re: Too much musicality?

    Quote Originally Posted by foxylady
    I fear I am guilty of this. I try to only 'force' it on men (leaders) I know can handle it/who are 'listening'..... but I do make mistakes and freak people out sometimes

    (even I'm not sure whether I'm talking about dancing or not )
    I never felt forced...

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    Re: Too much musicality?

    To present a very personal view on this, I've always thought of musicality as musical interpretation within the structure of the dance. The other side being that the musical interpretation has to come from within - you see a lot of salsa dancers, for example, doing a lot of hip wiggling which looks incredibly artificial - because the movement isn't generated through their connection with the music - it's 'tacked on' because they think that's the style they should have.

    And that's when it most interferes with the flow of the dance. It's not really too much musicality - it's basically faked, which is why it doesn't seem to work. I'm not saying this is always the case, but it's the most common cause that I've seen. Another example I've seen was with a couple of MJ followers, who'd just started Lindy - they started putting some Lindy footwork into their jive, in very strange places, making them - challenging - to lead. I wouldn't have called it musicality though...

    I know this is splitting hairs a little.

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    Re: Too much musicality?

    Quote Originally Posted by foxylady
    and freak people out sometimes
    You can freak me out anytime FoxyLady

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    Re: Too much musicality?

    I think that there is a danger of people becoming wrapped up in their own interpritation of the music that they fail to listen to their partners'.

    This is especially true if either they are used to brilliant followers(/leads) who take the feeds given and make the most of them, or beginner followers(/leads) who have little awareness and simply go with the flow.

    I think in my lead it's not so much that I don't listen to my partners musicality, I am perhaps guilty of not giving my followers a chance to speak so that I can listen to them! Need to see what I can do to rectify that.

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    Re: Too much musicality?

    Like Franck says you can isolate your connection and interpret the music as an individual without it necessarily affecting your partner. It can be frustrating though if your partner is singing from a different hymn sheet, but on the other hand amazing if you are 'together' the way you 'feel' a song being played.

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