4 Key Points On Musicality in Dancesport


When you see musicality, you know it. The dancing connects to and enhances the music, almost like an added section in an orchestra.  Being able to dance with musicality doesn’t just happen. Some people seem to have a natural talent, but typical those people have been exposed to one or many forms of musicality from what they listened to, saw or engaged in. Others consciously develop and hone it over time. One thing is for sure. Judges mark it.

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The definition of musicality is sensitivity to music, plus the ability to add creative interpretation. The interpretation in dance must show the dancer moving in a manner that is in harmony with the rhythm, melody and mood of the music. It is neither random nor rigid. These a 4 key points on musicality  in dancesport, which will help you to understand how to show it.

1. Timing

  • It is impossible to be musical without solid timing, since it builds on timing.
  • That said, being on time without musicality can look like the dancer is being controlled by the music, or just look a bit dull.
  • You can recognize musicality when the dancer is able to elongate certain notes or phases, or syncopate in a way that fits the feel of the dance, while continuing to stay on time.

2. Character and Mood

  • Foundational to musicality is “showing” the music in how you dance.
  • At its most basic, it means that the type of dance should be reflected in your movement to the extent that one can recognize the dance even without the music.
  • To be fully musical hover, the mood of the music should be as clear as the type of dance.
  • There are sad and happy waltzes, darker or lighter cha chas. It is not a matter of choreography; it is a matter of showing intention with slight variations in shape, intensity and timing.

3. Variation

  • A dancer can play with at least 3 aspects of the music and go between each in a single song. As long as the dancer understands that he or she is moving to one element or another, the movement will remain on time, and will add a great deal of interest. These 3 aspects are:
  • Rhythm – this is the basic pattern in the music. It is often the base of the music and defines rumba as distinct from quick-step.
  • Melody – the intonation and sequence of notes that makes a song distinctive among other songs. It is often shown in the treble or the vocals, but can be made up of several components.
  • Harmony – is the intersection of notes, which at its most basic is the intersection of the notes or instruments of the rhythm and those of the melody, but more often is made up of multiple elements in each.
  • You can think of each of these three elements as waves that you can catch at any point in the music, to show musicality.

4. Tension and Release

  • Extended rises, falls or hesitations are simple ways to build tension. Tension is only interesting and musical, however, if there is a recognizable release and it fits the tension, pauses or highlights of the music.
  • On a related note, dance highlights can only be highlights if there are low lights.
  • Balance  in this respect is much more pleasing and musical to watch than a dance than too much of one or the other.

Author: Miss P [Celebrate DanceSport]
Photography: Egorich.ca
Exclusively for Dance Comp Review