Accents in the Chorus

Accents in the Chorus

As we continue dancing to Maroon 5′s song Maps, we’re discovering ways to express the layers of music within a song. Last week, we turned up the energy for the chorus. Now we’re going to dive into the details of the chorus.

Pop music is usually phrased in 32-beat paragraphs, but it’s also common for the chorus of the song to last for two of those paragraphs. Maps does that, so we want a way to change up our dancing within those 64 beats. Listen through the chorus with the goal of picking out some details in the music:

What did you hear? The newest element in the song is the vocals: the rhythm of the words has changed substantially from the verses. So, let’s figure out how to so that layer of music. We are dancing big and loud because the chorus has lots of energy, so we want to find moments of contrast within the vocals. One thing that stands out is that there is a draw on the first beat of each minor phrase:

…but I wonder
Where were you, when I was at my worst, down on my
Knees, and you said you had my back, so I wonder
Where were you, all the roads you took came back to
Me, so I’m following the map that leads to
You

As you are dancing, show off those draws by changing your footwork. Where possible, take out a triple and replace it with a step-drag the free foot in for the first two beats of each minor phrase. If you have a walk walk on those beats, attack the first step and make the second step quieter so the audience can see the emphasis on the vocal inflection.

Practice dancing to the chorus and adapting your footwork to show these draws. As you get comfortable, you can also start to experiment with adding dimensions to the draws. For instance, if you are rotating during those two beats (like in counts 3&4 of a side pass), practice milking that rotation through your draw. If you are traveling linearly, can you use a controlled level change through the entire draw to enhance the gathering action? Find what motions work for you!

Good Enough to Practice

Good Enough to Practice

Most of us think about practice as something we do in order to get good. We practice skills that we don’t have, with the end goal of being able to perform the skill. The truth is, this is only half of the value of practice. In this post, you’re going to learn about the ideaContinue Reading

The Chorus

The Chorus

This entry is part 5 of 6 in the series Dancing to Layers of Music

In this post, we are going to continue dancing to layers of music in Maroon 5′s song Maps. The chorus is the first section of the song that has a high energy level, so let’s find out how to express that energy in the dance. The Drill: High energy parts of the song call forContinue Reading

Use the Sending Foot Like an Ice Skater

Use the Sending Foot Like an Ice Skater

Great WCS dancers create body flight by pushing off of the floor on each step. Beginning dancers tend to reach for each step instead, which takes away from the power of the movement. In this exercise, we’re going to practice working through the floor to propel the body through space, just like a speed skater.Continue Reading

Happy 300th Post!

Happy 300th Post!

Today marks the 300th post in Practice-WCS! That’s a lot of practice! Just how much practice is that? Well, if you worked on one drill every week, you’d be getting close to the end of the blog in about five years. Over the next 300 posts, you’re going to see more drills on important conceptsContinue Reading

Cut the Volume to Keep Time

Cut the Volume to Keep Time

There are some songs that really challenge your ability to keep the beat. Lyrical songs that have vocals but no other instruments, pop songs that hit to silence for more than a couple of beats—if you want to stay on time to these songs, you can’t rely on the music to tell you when theContinue Reading

Reviewing to Remember More

Reviewing to Remember More

Do you ever arrive at a dance eager to do what you learned at your last lesson—only to discover that you can’t remember what you did? All of us, at one time or another, forget things. We even forget things that we are excited about, like new moves or styling variations. But, it’s possible toContinue Reading

Tipping Over to Find Your Center

Tipping Over to Find Your Center

If you want to improve your balance, you need to get to know your own body. Specifically, you need to find your center. “Center” is a word that gets thrown out a lot by dancers, and there are a lot of conflicting definitions. Here’s the pragmatic take: there is an area inside your body thatContinue Reading

The Tag and the Buildup

The Tag and the Buildup

This entry is part 4 of 6 in the series Dancing to Layers of Music

We’re continuing to identify layers in the Maroon 5 song Maps. We’ve made it through the intro, and now we get the first really obvious contrast in the song. Let’s figure out how to dance to this new level of energy. As you listen to the song, focus on the tag that occurs right beforeContinue Reading

Repeating the Intro

Repeating the Intro

This entry is part 3 of 6 in the series Dancing to Layers of Music

In Maroon 5′s song Maps, we started the dance extremely quiet, with a few subtle body movements to acknowledge the guitar. As you listen to the song, notice the shift that happens when the introduction repeats during beats 33-64. What stands out during this section? What happens in this second musical paragraph is very commonContinue Reading