Ballroom Dance > "Quick Quick" or "Slow And"

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by Gola, Oct 14, 2012.

  1. Gola

    Gola New Member

    Watching a teacher counting the steps in a YouTube video I noticed he occasionally counted "slow and" instead of "quick quick", even though the timing (beat?) seemed to be the same for both couples of steps to my (social dancer only) eye and ear. Can you explain why this happens please?
  2. dlliba10

    dlliba10 Well-Known Member

    I think with 'quick quick,' each step would occupy the same amount of time -- if it splits a half note, then 1/4 and 1/4 in terms of duration. If 'slow and' takes up the same amount of time as 'quick quick,' that seems to indicate that the slow is held a bit longer, and the and is more quick, i.e. 3/8 and 1/8 (instead of an even split).
    Warren J. Dew likes this.
  3. GGinrhinestones

    GGinrhinestones Well-Known Member

    Agreed. 'Quick quick' denotes an even split. 'Slow and' implies some sort of syncopation, though depending on the dance it may be a very fluid syncopation.
    ajiboyet likes this.
  4. famfam

    famfam Member

    In my head, i always thought of "slow and" being a 3/8 1/8 split (the and being the last and of the 2 beats of the slow). Not sure if that's "officially" correct though

    so something that was "quick quick slow and" would be 1/4, 1/4, 3/8, 1/8, but "quick quick quick quick", would be 1/4 1/4 1/4 1/4
  5. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    I would use "slow and" to mean one step over two beats in which I wanted you to land weight on the second beat, not the first.

    I would use "quick quick" to denote 2 steps over two beats.

    I would not ever use them interchangeably.
    freeageless and Warren J. Dew like this.
  6. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Ohh, I LIKE this.

    Because there doesn't seem to be any universally accepted way of "counting" things in dance. I've been looking at lots of text books on dance from decades past, and I have to say I'm a convert to the "Universal unit" system that Skippy Blair came up with, but it is by no means the most widely used system.

    I've also spent years trying to get my head around how quicks, slows, "1&2", "&a1&a2" are related to the music and movement. As Blair writes and teaches, it has a lot to do with how things are taught. Your question is a perfect example of that!

    "Syncopation" and "swing" are two of the things that teachers have to deal with, and neither of those elements of music are extremely well defined. Relating them to movement is that much more of a challenge.
  7. ajiboyet

    ajiboyet Well-Known Member

    Could you post a link to the video?
    Warren J. Dew likes this.
  8. Gola

    Gola New Member

    @ ajiboyet, the YouTube video I mentioned can be seen if you search on the site for Basic Foxtrot Demo (Timing) by Mirko & Alessia
  9. freeageless

    freeageless Active Member

    In a class I take on the Tango, I hear this from the teacher which appears to be what you are saying as well. On the fan steps and the swivel steps for the woman. The instructor explains it like this: slow with man stepping forward with his left foot. Second step man brings his right foot forward again slow. On third step man brings his left foot to his right foot without weight on that third step and that is the "and" step. The woman swivels. Then they do tango close, for the last steps. It is almost on the first three steps: slow, slow and quick, quick slow. Am I correct in my interpretation of the "and."
  10. madmaximus

    madmaximus Well-Known Member

    This is typically done because of a number of reasons:
    The teacher wants to highlight the beats;
    The teacher is used to counting that way;
    The teacher wants to indicate time to allow for body transitions (which can be grounded on the beats too).

    Here is an article I wrote for about the topic.
    It's a little lengthy since it is geared towards beginning and intermediate dancers.

    The Other Left Foot: Splitting Beats [click here]

  11. cornutt

    cornutt Well-Known Member

    The way that I think is meant in that video, although the narration doesn't really say it with this timing, is: If a "quick" is taken to mean one beat and "slow" is taken to mean two beats, then "slow and" means a beat and a half, followed by a half beat. It's like a dotted note in music. If it were actually said like the timing that the words imply, it would be said like "slowwwww andquick quick..."

    (It occurs to me that if I wanted to describe the opposite -- a half beat followed by a beat and a half -- I don't know how I would describe it in slow/quick lingo. In music, it would be an eighth followed by a dotted quarter. I wonder if there's a step that has that timing somewhere... I can't think of one.)
  12. muyv

    muyv Member

    Interesting question. I thought so as well (i.e. there is no way to represent an 1/8 followed by a 3/8 ), until I read in madmaximus's post...

    In madmaximus's blog post, he said
    "“1a23a4” (2nd and 4th beats are divided. The “a” is a 1/3 of a beat, the “2” and “4” remainders are 2/3 of a beat)."

    I thought the a is 1/3 of a beat in the 1st and 3rd beat. 2nd and 4tn beats remained undivided. But I may very well be wrong. (Clearly, I don't do samba....)

    So now i'm untterly confused...

    Is the &, a always taking time from the beat before, or is it sometimes it takes time from the beat after?
  13. muyv

    muyv Member

    Thanks for the excellent write up!

    Just one small comment on it. In that article, you mentioned

    "As a final example, consider the first 3 steps of the Waltz Natural Turn. You can take the timing as “1, 2, 3” with precise metronomic dullness. Or, you can stretch the 3rd beat by changing the timing of the first two steps to 2/3 time each and pushing the 2/3 you gained (1/3 + 1/3) into the 3rd step. Thus the time duration for each step of the figure becomes (2/3), (2/3), (1 + 2/3)."

    For some reason I always thought of waltz being danced as extending the second count: "one twooooo three" (i.e. 2/3, 1+2/3, 2/3).
  14. madmaximus

    madmaximus Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the feedback everyone.

    muyv you are not incorrect. FOR THE "ah" divisions:

    1. I should reiterate that I said TYPICALLY the beats that are split are notated as the split number followed by the "ah" as in 1a23a4 where "2" is the split number. Many others annotate it the other way in other styles. For example, Walter Laird in his Technique of Latin Dancing (p.38) explains how the 2/4 Samba time signature and the count of 1, a2 is given a beat value of 3/4, 1/4 +1 (meaning the split is on 1 since the predominant accent of the music falls on the 2nd beat of the bar and therefore given more expression). AND The splits are in 4ths NOT 3rds. Notable in that section too, is the SQQ timing distribution for the Samba which becomes 1, 1/2, 1/2, beats--instead of 2, 1, 1.

    2. The Waltz may be expressed many ways for different sections and figures--that is one of the valuable things about knowing how to slice the beats. You're also right in that there are those that highlight the 2 more strongly.

    3. The article is meant to highlight the common syncopations I've encountered in my own dance journey and how teachers have expressed them--and the multiple ways in which they do it sometimes. LOL.

    I will update the article to incorporate these clarifying addenda as soon as I can so it doesn't confuse.

  15. Lya

    Lya Member

    100% agree!!!

    The terminology gets very confusing if we mash up '&' and 'a', e.g. for beginners.
    Let the count always be '1&a2' (like Walter Laird said):

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 2 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 3 ... counting on music, counting the beat
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 ... counting the eighth notes of one beat
    1 2 3 4 & 6 a 8 2 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 ... '1&a'
    s '2 3 4 5 6 a 8 s 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 ... 'slow a slow' = '1a2' (e.g. samba)
    q '2 3 4 q 6 7 8 s 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 ... 'quick quick slow' = '1&2'
    s '2 3 4 5 6 7 8 q 2 3 4 q 6 7 8 1 ... 'slow quick quick' = '12&'
    q '2 3 4 q 6 7 8 q 2 3 4 q 6 7 8 1 ... 'quick quick quick quick' = "1&2&'
  16. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    Mirko simply mixed up "and" with "quick":
    0:26 q q s a q q q q q q s            is an hybride of
    0:26 1 a 2 a 3 a 4 a 1 a 2hold        (proper counting of eighths in 4/4 music)
    0:26 q q q q q q q q q q s            (proper counting of eighths in dancing)
  17. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    difficult to compare the tango with " swing " dances, such a broad interpretation of time allocation.

    The discussion is being judged from the Intern. style where the subleties are not as well defined, at more advanced levels of interpretation .
  18. madmaximus

    madmaximus Well-Known Member

    Please note correction (in bold).

    My bad...

  19. Leon Theou

    Leon Theou Active Member

    If we are going to do that, it should be

    1 2 E 4 & 6 a 8 2 2 E 4 & 6 a 8 1

    Because if you split it to 16th notes, you should count all of them.

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