This page is dedicated to helping you developing your ears when dancing (most of it applies to dance music however I will be focusing on Kizomba/Semba).
Godanz Musicality Tip #1: Get your favourite pen, marker, crayola and some paper.
Now play a song from the beginning and start counting (assuming you can recognize the beats like tapping your foot consistently to each one easily).
Draw a continuous line for 8 counts’ worth of time and then start the next 8 below, keeping to the time of the music.
You will just see a bunch of lines on your paper.
NOw listen to the song again, and divide the lines into verses of 4 lines each. (It’s not foolproof but it’s the standard. YOu may hear 4, 4, 4, 2, 4, 2 for example). The sum of all lines however will add up to an even number mathematically. Yep!
Here’s a song Bo Tem Mel by Nelson Freitas and c4 Pedro, 2 leading kizomba singers.
Godanz Musicality Tip#2: How much do you think about steps, rather than letting the music move you? Active listening=visualizing ups/downs, shapes, hard/soft, quiet/loud and translating that to your movement, or your partner’s movement, or both.
Godanz Musicality Tip#3: It also takes technique to be very musical: mostly good balance (weight transfer and posture), frame (the right muscle tension, knowing when and how much to resist or let go moment to moment) and breathing (if u hold ur breath, muscles become more tense than they need to be and you feel too stiff=off time, clunky).
For a follower to always stay balanced at a strong intermediate level: Take a step forward with your Right ball of Foot and put your weight down at only 50% between both feet. Your ribcage should be in between your feet. Now move your ribcage over that RF to 90%. Now you have completed the step, and are anchored through the back foot. If you’re dancing in partners, let his body transfer complete 50% to 90%. So you never speed into a committed step. You are able to change your weight in a split second (30/70 or 40/60 etc). This way he can change direction quickly and with ease, to express the music.
Recap: Your ribcage dictates where your weight is through your feet.
Your sternum leads the way, whether dancing forwards or backwards.
Always shuffle the balls of your feet and use both feet for your steps, not one at a time.
GoDanz Musicality Tip#4:
Listen to music in 2 bars, ie 12341234= 8 counts =a MEASURE. There is a relationship between both sets of 4 which does become recognizable to the ear eventually.
You shouldn’t confuse 5 with the second 1.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 *
1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4
Therefore, knowing where 1 is in the song, is a Big Deal. It’s the equivalent of the capital letter of your sentence. It’s steady like a metronome-a constant ticking.
If you’re wondering 2 measures =16 counts = musical phrase containing an idea or motif.
4 measures = 32 counts = musical sentence or a typical verse
For the long version of this, go to this link!
GoDanz Musicality Tip#5:
An excellent way to improve your musicality (to juice your dance) is to hum to the different parts of music…ex: vocals, piano, highhat, drums, bass.
GoDanz Musicality Tip#6:
Know the difference between musical genres, as best as you can to match culture or dance style with what you hear:
(coming soon with videos)
What is kizomba dance?
What is semba dance?
What is tarraxa dance?
What is urban kiz dance?
What is urban tarraxa dance?
What is urban tarraxo dance?
What is fusion?
Or don’t at all. Sometimes ignorance is bliss. Personally I like to know where everything comes from and what movements there were in dance to create a sub-genre like urban kiz.
(Hey, where is urban semba ahhaa…it doesn’t exist yet).
GoDanz Musicality Tip #7I think 80% of dancing is ear training, because it’s the music that is the source, the influencer, the instigator, the inspirer.
We typically focus however, on 90% on MOVES, 5% on movement, and 5% on music. It’s not what you dance, it’s HOW you dance it. The music is giving you many ideas, and it’s up to you to pick them out so you can use dance to express them.
Here are some questions to bring awareness to where you ‘stand’ in your ear training. It’s all up to you 🙂
How many times a week do you listen to music actively?
What about passively (while you’re focusing on another task)?
How diverse is your music? LIst the genres.
Do you clap or tap your foot to the beat?
Do you sing or hum the melody?
What do you feel or visualize when you are hearing this music?
Can you isolate instruments, or isolate sounds, from low to high?
GoDanz Musicality Tip#8
Musicality is a mindset; a relationship between you, your partner and the music-who is your muse. To reach another level of dance, your focus needs to shift a lot more to the music than you probably think. Try it, and ask your partner what differences they felt as you changed focus. There is a big difference between executing moves, connecting emotionally and dancing with spirit.
Some questions to guide you:
Are you getting chills sometimes?
Do you feel happy dancing, do you feel ‘wooshed’, do you escape like in a dream? Or are you always thinking if you did the ‘right’ thing?Do you notice what part of the music you’re dancing to?
Are you humming to the voices?
Do you ever slow down and close your eyes?
Do you just dance and feel good vibes towards your partner? (trust me they will feel it)
Are you smiling while dancing?
Do you do silly things and laugh them off or get terribly flustered and embarrassed?
Are you consciously and purposefully moving parts of your body to specific notes or accents in the music?
Are you visualizing the music in your mind?