Dancing to Layers Review

Dancing to Layers Review

Isn’t it amazing how many options you have to dance to the music? Over the last couple of months, we have explored how to dance to the different musical layers in Maroon 5′s song Maps. By now, it should be clear that even relatively simple songs have tons of elements that you can highlight with your dancing.

One of the most important lessons from this series is that musicality doesn’t have to depend on your partner. None of these musical accents required the leader to lead a specific pattern, and almost every idea could be done regardless of what your partner was doing at that moment.

So, where can you go from here?

  • Listen to songs more closely. Make it your goal to find something new in a song every time you hear it. Great dancers don’t just stumble upon cool accents—they seek them out. Now you can too!
  • Change up your dancing! In this song, we called attention to over ten different elements in the first minute and a half. That’s a new look every ten seconds. That pace might be aggressive when you start trying to apply this on the social floor, but set a goal for yourself to keep changing the look of your dance. Start by having a different look for each verse and chorus, and build from there.
  • Experiment with your movement. This series only scratched the surface of how you can create different looks with your body. Spend some time dancing freestyle by yourself so that you can learn what other movements you can do. The more you develop your own movement repertoire, the more options you will have when social dancing.
  • Above all, have fun with the music. Dancing to the music is a creative experience. Sometimes you will do something amazing, and other times it won’t click. That’s ok. All great dancers will have stories of dances where their musicality did not work at all, but they still had fun with their partner. Be that partner that enjoys trying things, even when (in fact, especially when) it doesn’t work out perfectly.
Keeping the Post

Keeping the Post

The next time you watch pros, notice how their bodies keep moving after they have posted. Even when they are anchoring, there is still movement through the body as they establish the stretch of the dance. Beginner dancers struggle to move without taking the post with them. In this exercise, you’re going to practice movingContinue Reading

Contrasting Your Partner’s Styling

Contrasting Your Partner’s Styling

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series Styling as a Partnership

In this series, we are exploring how to work with your partner’s styling. Most of the time we think that working with your partner means you need to be doing similar things, but in this post we’ll learn how to do something different and make it blend together. The basic idea behind contrast is thatContinue Reading

Balance in the Kitchen

Balance in the Kitchen

The better your balance, the easier dancing becomes. Spinning, styling, and even footwork become easier when you are in control of where your weight is—and you have the muscle control to keep it there. The basic drill to improve your balance is simple: stand on one foot. When you can stand on one foot easilyContinue Reading

Proactive Following

Proactive Following

Last week, Swungover posted a phenomenal article on why “just following” is bad advice for dancers. In this post, we’re going to highlight some key ideas in the article and talk about how you can apply those principles to your west coast swing. Leaders: don’t skip this post! The lessons here are just as valuableContinue Reading

Quiet into the Verse

Quiet into the Verse

This entry is part 9 of 10 in the series Dancing to Layers of Music

We’ve been practicing how to accentuate the layers of music within Maroon 5′s song Maps. As we wrap up the chorus, it’s time to think about how to shift from back into the verse. Listen to the song one more time, and this time focus on how you would describe the difference between the chorusContinue Reading

Complimenting Your Partner’s Styling

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Styling as a Partnership

You’ve practiced paying attention to what your partner is doing. Now it’s time to do something with that awareness. In this drill, we’re going to focus on how to compliment your partner’s styling. Complimentary styling is a great way to show that you are working with your partner to interpret the music. It also isContinue Reading

Working Off Your Partner’s Styling

Working Off Your Partner’s Styling

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series Styling as a Partnership

Pro dancers have a phenomenal ability to work off of what their partner is doing. Many of the magic moments we see in on-the-fly choreography come from a particularly inspired way for the partners to build on each other. If you want to create that magic on your own, you have three options: Match whatContinue Reading

The Last Choral Accents

The Last Choral Accents

This entry is part 8 of 10 in the series Dancing to Layers of Music

We’ve spent a lot of time on the chorus of Maroon 5′s Maps because there is so much to show within our dancing. In this post, we’ll cover a couple of last, fast accents. As you listen to the chorus, pay attention to the rhythm of the vocals during the second half of the chorus:Continue Reading

The Purpose of Isolations

The Purpose of Isolations

Why do we practice body isolations? The answer isn’t as straightforward as you might thinkā€¦and the real answer is important for not just your dancing, but also your life! As dancers, we are introduced to the idea of body isolations in order to learn how parts of our bodies can move independently. If you canContinue Reading